Congressman Todd Akin (R-MO), Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommitte, announced that the House Armed Services Committee reported out H.R. 4310, the FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act, early this morning. During the development of the bill and the markup process, Congressman Akin worked to include a number of provisions to maintain a strong national defense, ensure that defense dollars are spent as wisely as possible, provide the best possible equipment to win the fight today and in the future, and to take good care of our troops and their families.
Congressman Akin released the following statement:
"The Constitution is clear: the federal government must provide for the common defense. I have fought for a strong defense budget on the Budget Committee, and have worked to put that defense budget to the best possible use on the Armed Services Committee. My subcommittee worked for a strong Navy and a strong Air Force, supporting tanker, airlift and bomber programs. We also added roughly a billion dollars to the Navy shipbuilding account, to help grow our Navy fleet, which is currently the smallest it has been since World War I.
"In the markup yesterday I offered a number of amendments to ensure that we are getting the squeal out of our nickels in the Defense Department. The F-35 program is the most expensive program in DOD history and has repeatedly faced cost overruns and broken schedules. I offered an amendment to hold the program accountable and demand transparency. Unfortunately, the committee significantly watered down my amendment. I also offered an amendment to require competition in the Conventional Prompt Global Strike (CPGS) program. This program will likely continue to grow in the future, and I believe more competition is the key to ensuring that it succeeds and remains affordable. I also offered an amendment to hold the Navy accountable for their long-range shipbuilding plans. We must ensure that our naval fleet is built wisely and affordably, and transparency is key to that effort.
"I also worked to provide the best possible equipment for our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. We added funds for additional submarines and destroyers. I paid particular attention to the next generation bomber program, which I believe is vital for our national security. I supported the strong missile defense provisions in this bill, and requirements to ensure that commanders in Afghanistan have the flexibility they need to succeed. I also cosponsored efforts to ensure that our National Guard is not disproportionately impacted by defense cuts. I voted for a provision to prevent another round of BRAC cuts which could negatively impact our region. I am proud to report that my amendment on medical evacuation policies was adopted, as was my amendment addressing burn pit exposure for servicemembers. I also offered an amendment to protect the religious liberty of servicemembers and their chaplains.
"Lastly, I recently led a letter signed by twenty-six congressmen calling for language in this bill to make it clear that the NDAA passed last year did not suspend habeas corpus or allow for the detention of American citizens without due process. I am happy to report that our letter was successful, and that Chairman McKeon included the language I requested. Our vote last night was a vote to make it clear that habeas corpus remains, the Constitution cannot be trumped, and that no American can be detained unlawfully by the government."
The FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act was reported out of the Armed Services Committee favorably with bipartisan support. The bill is expected to be considered on the floor of the House next week.