U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, on Thursday supported the FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which sets priorities for military spending for the coming year. The bill was approved by the Armed Services Committee and will be considered by the full Senate likely later this summer.
The committee-passed bill includes a Republican-sponsored provision requiring the Secretary of Defense to report to Congress with a detailed report of sequestration's impact on the Department of Defense (DOD). The President's FY2013 budget failed to account for any of the spending reductions required by last year's Budget Control Act.
"This defense budget is fiscally responsible while meeting the needs of the men and women of our armed forces, and I am proud to support it," said Wicker. "National defense is a federal responsibility, but each dollar must be spent wisely. We should avoid short-sighted, dangerous cuts that could do lasting damage. Mississippi's proud military tradition of service and history of supplying our troops will continue."
Wicker supported a provision that freezes the Air Force's proposed move of C-130 aircraft at Keesler AFB and the divestment of C-27Js at Key Field, Meridian, for one year. Under the committee-passed bill, a commission will report back to Congress next year on the appropriate makeup of the Air Force -- including active-duty forces, the Air Force Reserve, and the Air National Guard. The report will be a reference as Congress continues to consider the makeup of the Air Force amid a constrained budget environment.
Wicker successfully added an amendment to ensure military construction projects avoid unnecessary costs related to third party environmental-efficient building standards. It prevents DOD from using flawed rating systems as it works to implement a cost-efficient green building policy. Current LEED Gold and Platinum standards fail to assess the benefits of domestic U.S. wood products, adding to construction costs.
Wicker added, "Transparent and fair rating systems need to be used as building policies are being updated. DOD should not rely on standards that add costs and blatantly disregard American wood products."
Wicker, who serves as ranking member of the Seapower subcommittee, also backed increased Navy capabilities and a strong shipbuilding plan to ensure future needs could be met. The FY2013 NDAA authorizes the multiyear procurement of the DDG-51 Arleigh Burke class destroyers which are built by Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula.