U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), today welcomed the completion of the markup for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 in the SASC. The NDAA includes several amendments offered by Inhofe including language that provides improvements for the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), ensures funding for the Paladin Integration Management (PIM) Program, and requires the U.S. Secretary of Defense to submit a comprehensive strategy to find Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).
"This year's NDAA markup provides much-needed funding for programs essential to our men and women in uniform," said Inhofe. "Under the FY12 NDAA, our nation's soldiers will receive a well-deserved 1.6 percent pay raise, and the bill ensures the future sustainability of the military's healthcare system: TRICARE. While I am pleased that many of the priorities I put forward are included in this committee-passed bill, I am disappointed in the overall funding level of the measure. President Obama's military budget request was insufficient, and this bill is $6 billion less. The depth of these cuts greatly concerns me, as our nation's military must receive all the adequate funding and resources necessary to protect our nation and its allies. To continue drastically trimming our national defense budget will only weaken our national security."
Inhofe continued, "For several years I have advocated for maintaining a defense budget at a minimum level of 4 percent of national Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This level will ensure that the Department of Defense (DOD) has the resources to defend our nation, research and replace technologies, and empower defense-related investments.
Inhofe also expressed displeasure with the additional $1 billion cut in military construction (MILCON). Without the ability to provide Congressional recourse, the 40 year old air control tower at Tinker Air Force Base, and the undersized fire station at Altus Air Force Base will not be replaced for several years. The Tinker tower does not currently meet Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or defense regulations.
Inhofe Defense Initiatives and NDAA Details:
LRA: Requires Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to develop and submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a comprehensive strategy to provide logistic and intelligence support across the Ugandan and the Great Lakes region of Africa for viable multilateral efforts to mitigate and eliminate the threat to civilians and regional stability posed by Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army.
Michael Poffenberger with The Resolve organization said, "Senator Inhofe is leading the way in efforts to end one of our world's most brutal human rights crises. Once these funds are in place, the Administration will have no excuse but to take urgent action to stop the atrocities being perpetrated by Joseph Kony and the LRA."
Spent Brass: Makes fired small arms cartridges available for commercial sale with certain restrictions, and requires the Secretary of Defense to issue guidance to ensure compliance with the guidelines managing commercial sale of spent ammunition.
NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox said, "It is common sense that serviceable and safe military spent brass cases are made available for commercial sale as military-sourced spent brass cases are of the calibers most widely used for marksmanship training and competition by civilians. In addition to being a revenue source for military bases, reloaded ammunition costs considerably less, and every gun owner and hunter can appreciate the savings during these tough economic times. We are grateful for Senator Inhofe's leadership to help ensure the continued availability of these spent casings by civilians."
Weather Study: Requires the Secretary of the Air Force to submit a plan for incorporating the latest science and technology into their weather prediction systems.
Berrien Moore III, Director of the National Weather Center, said, "The actions of the Senate Armed Services Committee, led by Senator Inhofe, to sustain the critical weather capabilities made available to our Armed Forces, including how best the Air Force should plan for the modernization of its weather systems to support the infusion of cost effective new technologies, is a critical step in maintaining the readiness of our troops, who depend upon a reliable, highly accurate state-of-the-art meteorological system to conduct key operations and training. As a national leader in developing new weather technologies, the National Weather Center at the University of Oklahoma stands ready and willing to continue to work with the Air Force and other key federal officials to support this critical effort."
Paladin Integration Management (PIM) ISI: Affirms the fact that the PIM effort is now proceeding on plan, with formal Army developmental tests underway. The prior year funds approved by Congress for reprogramming to the PIM program, plus funds requested by the Army for fiscal year 2012, are all required to ensure the cost, performance, and schedule stability of the PIM program. Supports the Army's position on PIM as a critical modernization program, and directs the Secretary of the Army to regularly inform the congressional defense committees on the program's progress.
Depot Maintenance: Requires DOD to formulate an industrial strategy to ensure the sustainment of effective depots.
Fire Resistant Fabrics: Requires the Secretary of Defense to furnish SASC with a report on fire-retardant and fire-resistant fibers and materials for the production of military uniforms. It requires the Secretary to identify materials on the market that would exceed the capability of materials currently being worn by Servicemembers.
Rotor Aircraft: Directs the Army to address long-term strategic rotoraircraft needs with opportunities to insert more revolutionary technologies.
Security Surveillance at Forward Operating Base ISI: Encourages DOD to consider the full spectrum of surveillance and protection capabilities for use at forward operating bases (FOBs).
Storage Facility (With Senator Chambliss and Senator Webb): SASC supports the Army requirement to protect and preserve historical collections, and encourages the Army to investigate all options for climate controlled storage facility solutions that includes Ft. Sill.
Joint STARS Re-engining Program (With Senator Chambliss): Requires the Air Force Audit Agency to submit to the congressional defense committees the results of a financial audit of the funds previously authorized and appropriated for the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSATRS) aircraft re-engining program.
Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury: Notes the findings of a 2011 GAO report on the Defense Centers of Excellence (DCOE) focusing on the prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, treatment and rehabilitation of traumatic brain injury(TBI) and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The measure urges the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) to continue to make improvements in the management, mission and programs of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury to include evaluating organization changes that could improve the center's leadership and strategic direction.
Paralympic ISI: Notes the success of Military Sports Programs to include paralympic programs at universities; expresses the opinion of the committee that Secretary of Defense in consultation with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should continue robust military paralympics programs and ensure services are not duplicated.
Colonoscopy: Recommends that the DOD pursue ways to maximize the awareness and availability of all colon cancer screening procedures to include CTC and virtual colonoscopy.
New FAA Rule Change Impact on Civil Reserve Air Fleet Impact: Requires the Commander of US Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) to report on the affect of FAA crew rest regulations for small, mission specific, and unscheduled carriers that provide the DOD with unique and short notice capabilities.
Global Security Contingency Fund: Provides broader authority to respond to changing circumstances globally with targeted funding, enabling timely joint efforts by the Departments of State and Defense. Funding will build capacity for counterterrorism, border and maritime security, internal defense, and participation in stability or peace support operations and allow up to $300 million to be transferred into this fund per fiscal year. Funding types that can be transferred: FMF, IMET, 1206, 1207 and anti-terrorism assistance. Funds are good until 30 Sep 2015.
Oklahoma Military Installations- Included in President's Budget Request:
Ø $25 million for a Physical Fitness Facility at Fort Sill, OK
Ø $13.2 million for a Chapel at Fort Sill, OK
Ø $36 million for a Reception Station, Phase 1 at Fort Sill, OK
Ø $3.4 million for a Rail Deployment Facility at Fort Sill, OK
Ø $51 million for a Vehicle Maintenance Facility at Fort Sill, OK
Ø $23 million for a Battle Command Training Center at Fort Sill, OK
Ø $33 million for a THAAD Instruction Facility at Fort Sill, OK
Ø $6.3 million for Railroad Tracks at McAlester, OK
Ø $1.7 million for Ammunition Loading Pads at McAlester, OK
Ø $8.2 million for Replace Fuel Transfer Pipeline at Altus AFB, OK
Ø $10.4 million for Upgrade-Combined Arms Collective Training Facility at Camp Gruber, OK
Ø $3 million for a Live Fire Shoot House at Camp Gruber, OK
Inhofe was pleased that the NDAA included a continued Congressional commitment to house terrorist detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (GITMO) and prevent their transfer or detention to the United States. He also supports several New START related amendments included in the bill aimed at strengthening the nation's missile defense system while improving our nuclear weapons program.
Inhofe also praised the authorization of funds for Impact Aid, an important program for funding local schools in Oklahoma that lose revenue from federal lands in the school district. He also supported the establishment of a JUON Fund to allow the Department of Defense to rapidly field new systems in response to urgent operational needs identified by deployed units such as the Oklahoma National Guard's 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT).
Additional cuts that Inhofe expressed his displeasure with include:
Ø $150 million from 1206 funding, $150 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
Ø $25 million from the Commander's Emergency Response Program (CERP) in Iraq
Ø $75 million from the Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund (AIF)
Ø $127.1 million from the KC-46a tanker program.