U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today issued the following statement on Senate passage of the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act:
"Over the past week, my colleagues and I in the Senate have worked diligently to pass the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 for the 51st consecutive year. I am pleased with the results. We have had an open amendment process that resulted in 397 amendments filed on this bill. Of that number, we were able to dispose of 145 amendments.
"I thank the Majority Leader and the Minority Leader for the opportunity to work, alongside Chairman Levin, with all my colleagues to address their interests in this bill. Our efforts demonstrate that when it comes to addressing the issues important to the men and women in uniform, the Senate can work together in a bipartisan manner. The bill contains many vital provisions that would provide for the continued readiness of our armed forces and the well-being of their families, military construction, military compensation, acquisition and contracting, and important national security objectives around the world.
"It also provides the resources, training, equipment, and authorities necessary for our military to succeed in Afghanistan and provides continued support to the Afghanistan National Security Forces as they assume increased responsibility throughout Afghanistan.
"In addition, this bill provides a 1.7 percent pay raise for military personnel, and over 30 types of pay aimed at encouraging enlistment and retention in the world's greatest military force. It strengthens the Department's programs to prevent the crime of sexual assault and will improve the care and management of wounded warriors and those in transition to civilian life following their military service.
"This bill also contains many provisions intended to improve oversight on defense contracting that are in vital need of reform, including helping to detect and prevent human trafficking in government contracting. In the bill, there are also provisions that would help ensure that the Department of Defense becomes fully auditable by 2017, as required under law, and improve how the Department manages its procurement of large business systems that it needs to become fully auditable. Other provisions would help reform how the federal government procures what it needs when conducting contingency operations and ensure that certain whistleblowers who identify waste, fraud and abuse are protected.
"This bill also increases transparency into and oversight of shipbuilding programs, including the Ford class aircraft carrier and Littoral Combat Ship.
"We have also included important amendments on cybersecurity, including a requirement for consultation with Congress if a decision is made to establish U.S. Cybercommand as a unified command.
"We also have included a series of provisions related to the realignment of our forces in the Asia Pacific Region to ensure our plans are affordable and workable.
"This is a critically important bill and I am gratified by its adoption."