Congressman Mike Turner has successfully included several provisions in the House passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which will have a far reaching impact on Southwest Ohio and Wright-Patterson AFB if approved by the Senate and signed into law by the President. The bill passed the House today on a bipartisan vote of 299-120. Turner's amendments to the annual Defense Department authorization bill include provisions which will protect jobs at WPAFB, promote collaboration on Unmanned Aerial Systems, and strengthen NASIC.
Protecting Jobs at Wright-Patt
Congressman Turner offered an amendment on the House Floor, included as Section 2868 in the bill, which ensures WPAFB maintains its core functions, while not limiting growth.
"Our servicemembers and civilians who support the mission at the Air Force Materiel Command shouldn't have to worry about the security of their mission at Wright-Patt. This Command is integral to the future growth of the Base and I will continue to take steps to protect its associated missions and jobs," said Turner.
SEC. 2868: RETENTION OF CORE FUNCTIONS OF THE AIR FORCE MATERIEL COMMAND, WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, OHIO.
The Secretary of the Air Force shall retain the core functions of the Air Force Materiel Command that exist at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, with the same integrated mission elements, responsibilities, and capabilities as existed as of November 1, 2011, until such time as such integrated mission elements, responsibilities, and capabilities are modified pursuant to section 2687 of title10, United States Code, or a subsequent law providing for the closure or realignment of military installations in the United States.
Turner offered an amendment to the bill in committee, included as Section 1074 of the bill, which promotes collaboration between Government agencies on Unmanned Aerial Systems. Specifically, the section requires scientific and technical personnel collaboration and sharing resources from the Department of Defense, Federal Aviation Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
"Together these agencies can advance an enduring relationship of research capability. In order to continue and sustain the growth in the field of UAS, collaboration between our government's experts is key. This language should help to advance the goal of access to unmanned aircraft systems of the Department of Defense to the National Airspace System," said Turner.
SEC. 1074: INTERAGENCY COLLABORATION ON UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS.
The Secretary of Defense shall collaborate with the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration and the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to conduct research and seek solutions to challenges associated with the safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems into the National Airspace System in accordance with subtitle B of title III of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (Public Law 112--95; 126 Stat.)
Study of Military Intelligence Hiring Flexibility
Turner included directive language in the Committee's Report which requires a study on Military Intelligence Hiring Flexibility. This language would benefit our Defense Department's Intelligence institutions, including the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) at WPAFB.
"This language aims to provide NASIC the pay flexibility required to recruit and retain highly skilled an intelligence workforce. The study focuses on the potential to provide the necessary pay banding for military intelligence centers. In order to maintain our leading edge, we must target new scientists and engineers with salaries commensurate with the private sector," said Turner.
The study would permit pay banding for certain occupations similar to the flexibility currently afforded to the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Directive Report Language: Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System
The committee notes that in 2011, the Secretary of Defense returned all defense intelligence employees in the Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System pay bands to the original grade structure, with the exception of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. The committee directs the Secretary of Defense to provide a briefing to the Senate Committee on Armed Services and the House Committee on Armed Services by September 30, 2012, on the status of the transition back to a grade structure. The briefing should include the impact on retention and recruiting as a result of the change, including information on pay banding impacts on retention and recruiting, incentives and authorities available to retain critical skill sets, and information on the process by which employees have the ability to appeal reviews and compensation within the Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System.
Bolstering Foreign Military Exploitation Facilities at NASIC
Congressman Turner included directive language in the Committee's Report which requires the Department of Defense to take all steps necessary to ensure the Services have all facilities and resources necessary to contradict and exploit current foreign military systems. The authorizing language comes as a result of a visit to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base by House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Chairman John Culberson (TX-7). Culberson included companion language in his subcommittee's bill appropriating FY 2013 funding for construction at NASIC.
Culberson toured Wright-Patt and discussed the status of Foreign Materiel Exploitation facilities such as the National Air and Space Intelligence Center with Congressman Turner in October of 2011. Turner is Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, which has jurisdiction over NASIC and other space intelligence programs.
"Centers such as NASIC are critical to examining the capabilities of our enemies, which gives an edge to our warfighters. Their facilities should be up to the task at hand. I was glad to discuss this with Chairman Culberson at Wright-Patt. Bringing key Members of Congress like him to our community shows them the value of the work that the base does in support of our men and women in uniform," said Turner.
"Seeing Wright-Patt and its facilities first hand were integral to this committee report. In order to maintain the best equipped and prepared fighting force in the world, Centers like NASIC must have the right facilities. I thank Congressman Turner for his work on this issue and look forward to working with him on behalf of our men and women in uniform," added Chairman Culberson.
Directive Report Language: Foreign Materiel Exploitation
The committee is concerned that the level of sophistication in foreign systems has increased exponentially over the past decade, primarily due to widespread use of complex digital devices, such as digital radio frequency memory (DRFM) and field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA). These systems are proliferating at an alarming rate and pose a serious threat to the national security and critical domestic infrastructure.
The committee is further concerned that there are insufficient facilities for classified lab space to conduct integrated weapon system analysis, which limits the quality and quantity of foreign threat data provided to the warfighter, acquisition community, and policymakers. This deprives the intelligence community of an opportunity to generate scientific and technical intelligence (S&TI) that has historically proven a key driver for the development of tactics, techniques, and procedures, and force modernization requirements. Lower volume and quality of S&TI increases the risk of technological surprise encountered on the battlefield, ultimately increasing the vulnerability of U.S. forces in future conflicts.
Therefore, the committee urges the Department of Defense to take all steps necessary to ensure the military departments and defense agencies have the facilities and resources necessary to exploit and counter current foreign military systems.
AFIT -- National Research Council Review of Defense Science Needs
Turner included a provision in the bill, identified as Section 242, aimed at justifying the need and existence of the Air Force Institute of Technology. The provision directs the Secretary of Defense to establish an agreement with the National Research Council to complete a review Defense Department specialized degree-granting graduate programs in engineering, science and management.
"This review, would examine the need for the institutions, a cost/benefit of them and the disposition of their organization structure. We should be looking to promote our military's postgraduate institutions at every turn. Members of our community who have attended AFIT, know their full worth. This study will help find ways to improve institutions like AFIT for future generations of military leaders," said Turner.
SEC. 242: NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL REVIEW OF DEFENSE SCIENCE AND TECHNICAL GRADUATE EDUCATION NEEDS.
(a) REVIEW.--The Secretary of Defense shall enter into an agreement with the National Research Council to conduct a review of specialized degree-granting graduate programs of the Department of Defense in engineering, applied sciences, and management.
(b) MATTERS INCLUDED.--At a minimum, the review under subsection (a) shall address--
(1) the need by the Department of Defense and the military departments for military and civilian personnel with advanced degrees in engineering, applied sciences, and management, including a list of the numbers of such personnel needed by discipline;
(2) an analysis of the sources by which the Department of Defense and the military departments obtain military and civilian personnel with such advanced degrees;
(3) the need for educational institutions under the Department of Defense to meet the needs identified in paragraph (1);
(4) the costs and benefits of maintaining such educational institutions, including costs relating to directed research;
(5) the ability of private institutions or distance-learning programs to meet the needs identified in paragraph (1);
(6) existing organizational structures, including reporting chains, within the military departments to manage the graduate education needs of the Department of Defense and the military departments; and recommendations for improving the ability of the Department of Defense to identify, manage, and source the graduate education needs of the Department.
(c) REPORT.--Not later than 30 days after the date on which the review under subsection (a) is completed, the Secretary shall submit to the congressional defense committees a report on the results of such review.