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National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. THORNBERRY. I commend Chairman McKeon for his leadership in developing this bill throughout the course of the year and appreciate the working relationship that he and the ranking member have, as evidenced by the fact that this bill was reported out of committee by a vote of 56 5. And I certainly agree with the comments of Mr. Andrews. One of the bipartisan goals of this committee is to make sure the taxpayers get every dollar of value possible for the money we spend for defense, and that is a goal that I think we are making good progress toward.

Mr. Chairman, I want to rise to express special appreciation to the members of the staff of the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, especially Mr. Langevin, our ranking member.

To summarize that portion of the bill, I think one could do it in three parts. One is to support the people and missions of the U.S. Special Operations Command while also providing objective oversight of what they do. Special Operations Forces are at the forefront of protecting this country, but that also puts them at the forefront of a lot of legal and policy issues, and that makes communication between the Congress and the Special Operations Forces and their lawyers and other overseers especially important.

Secondly, our portion of the bill tries to sow and nurture the seeds of future capability, such as our science and technology programs. It's always tempting to cut research and development in tight budget times, but if you do that, then you are handicapping yourself from having the capability you need in the future.

And, thirdly, this mark tries to take several steps forward on oversight and policy in the critical new domain of warfare of cyber. Obviously, we have talked a lot about that in recent weeks on the floor of this House.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, I just make the point that we have lots of problems around the world, but this bill comes to the floor in a time of war. So as we come with these various amendments that cut this, that, and the other thing, we all need to keep in mind that there are still people out there trying to kill as many Americans as they possibly can, as recent news reports reflect. We ought to be cautious about that.

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