U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL-01) today joined a majority of his colleagues in passing H.R. 4310, the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The legislation authorizes funding for America's military and passed the House of Representatives this afternoon. Further, the bill contains several provisions authored by Congressman Jeff Miller.
"This legislation is an important victory for our military, both in the First District and across the country," Miller said. "Making sure troops have the best equipment and training in the world is critical to the defense of this country, but it is even more important to make sure we are taking care of the men and women who honorably wear the uniform. I think we were able to balance those needs, while returning fiscal sanity and a sensible strategy consistent with the threats that face our national security."
The FY13 NDAA authorizes a 1.7% pay increase and extends bonuses and special pay for our servicemembers. The bill also rejected the Administration's proposals to increase some TRICARE fees and establish new TRICARE fees. Instead, the FY13 NDAA includes a modest increase in TRICARE pharmacy co-pays in 2013 and a cap on pharmacy co-pays beginning in 2014 that would allow fees to rise by no more than the annual retiree COLA. This is offset by a 5-year pilot program that requires TRICARE for Life recipients to obtain refills of maintenance drugs through the TRICARE mail-order program.
The legislation includes Miller's language reinforcing the critical function of the Air Armament Center (AAC) at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. In adopting this language, the committee recognized that the Air Force's actions to disestablish the AAC ran counter to the spirit of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) law, so the minority and majority agreed to the proposal. This language requires the Air Force to retain the Air Armament Center at Eglin unless a future BRAC changes it. It also requires them to maintain the center in name with the same integrated mission elements, roles, and responsibilities.
"For months I've been arguing that this disestablishment of the Air Armament Center is a clear violation of BRAC law," said Miller. "I've tried to help Air Force leaders recognize their error. This language should make it crystal clear that any plans to disestablish the center are a blatant violation of the law."
An amendment offered by Miller and adopted in committee, clarifies that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not have the jurisdiction to regulate lead components found in traditional ammunition. In recent years, outside interest groups have petitioned the EPA to use its authority under Toxic Substances Control Act to expand it regulation to include ammunition. Concerns over the expansion of EPA authority and the potential cost to military and police forces prompted Miller's amendment.
Another Miller amendment offered and adopted in committee, prohibits DOD from using non-disclosure agreements to prevent military members and civilian employees from communicating with Members of Congress. The inclusion of Miller's amendment prevents the Department of Defense from circumventing the oversight of this Congress and ensures troops who need assistance have access to their Representatives in Congress without fear of retribution.
Other key provisions of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act include:
Preserving Vital Systems and Capabilities:
The bill restores and retains vital systems, platforms, and authorities needed to maintain America's combat power after a decade of war while declining to take up Administration requests, such as two rounds of base closure, which could irreversibly damage vital military infrastructure.
Restores three of the four Navy cruisers proposed for early retirement in Fiscal Year 2013.
Preserves tactical airlift crucial to DOD's ability to support warfighters on the ground with agile combat support, such as C-130 Hercules, C-23 Sherpas, and C-27J Spartan aircraft proposed for early retirement.
Maintains close air support and ground interdiction capabilities provided by A-10 Warthogs and F-16 Fighting Falcons slated for premature divestment prior to the forecasted service-life end of each aircraft.
Retains the Air Force's Global Hawk Block 30 unmanned intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft as they support the deployed warfighter, rather than shifting this asset to storage.
Supports counter-IED funding for the warfighter.
Fully funds requests for 50 AH-64 Apaches, 59 UH-60 Blackhawks, and 44 CH-47 Chinooks, 29 F-35 Lightning II aircraft, 26 F-18 E/F Super Hornets, V-22 aircraft, 36 MQ-9 Reaper UAS.
Aligning Military Posture In A Dangerous World:
The NDAA ensures that America's military is robust, flexible, and capable. The bill will provide our warfighters with the time, resources, and authorities they need to win the war in Afghanistan and continue to prosecute the War on Terror. In addition the NDAA:
Requires the President to notify Congress of any planned force reductions in Afghanistan, and justify those reductions based on conditions on the ground.
Prohibits use of private security contractors for force protection of US troops in Afghanistan.
Requires Combatant Commanders to give their assessment of capability gaps against North Korea, China, and Iran.
Reinforces the United States' commitment to use all elements of national power to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and enhances the credibility of the military option, should it prove necessary.
Modernizes and supports DOD's nuclear forces that include intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombers and the Navy's strategic submarines and submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
Strengthens congressional oversight of the nation's nuclear weapons war plan.
Supports a robust national missile defense, including $100 million for an East Coast third site for national missile defense to align with the rising threat from Iran.
Increases oversight on development of cyber operations capabilities.
Enables Special Operations Forces to sustain the current fight and rebalance across the globe where appropriate to counter and mitigate threats, and to work with partner nations.
Preserves and institutionalizes other capabilities such as irregular warfare and security force assistance within the services and U.S. Special Operations Command.
Implements recommendations from the HASC Financial Management and Auditability Reform Panel that will improve execution and management of Department of Defense Enterprise Resource Planning systems.
DETAINEES: As terrorists have decentralized and sought new safe havens from which to carry out attacks on U.S. soil, Congress acted last year to ensure our military men and women risking their lives to defend us from such attacks on are on solid legal ground. Last year the FY12 NDAA reaffirmed the authority to go after terrorists who are part of or substantially supporting al Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces. This year, through the incorporation of the Right to Habeas Corpus Act, the bill makes clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that every American will have his day in court. The FY13 NDAA also prohibits the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the United States.