By a vote of 81-14, the Senate today approved the final version of the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes several provisions authored by U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) aimed at finding responsible savings and improving financial stewardship at the Pentagon. Senator Ayotte successfully included in the final bill an amendment that prohibits the Pentagon from spending more than $400 million for a troubled weapons system that it doesn't intend to procure. The bill also includes Senator Ayotte's amendment requiring the Pentagon to provide a statement of budgetary resources by 2014 - an important step toward an expedited and full audit of the Pentagon. The legislation will now be sent to the president.
"With our $16.3 trillion national debt, we can't afford to spend millions of dollars on a program that will never be delivered to our troops," said Senator Ayotte. "Every wasted defense dollar is a dollar we deprive our warfighters who protect our country. I'm pleased that the final defense bill includes my provision requiring the Pentagon to achieve a major audit readiness milestone by 2014. With the Pentagon facing significant budget reductions, it is more important than ever that we have reliable financial data so we can differentiate between necessary budget cuts and those that would harm our troops and endanger our national security."
Since arriving in the Senate, Senator Ayotte has led the push for an expedited and full audit of the Pentagon. In addition to pushing for an audit, Senator Ayotte included a provision in the defense authorization bill that prohibits funding for the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), a troubled weapons program that the Pentagon has said it does not plan to procure. Despite this fact, DoD chose to ignore both current law and congressional direction and requested $400.9 million for MEADS in its FY 2013 budget. Earlier this year, Senator Ayotte led two letters to Senate Appropriators and Secretary Panetta calling for an end to funding for this wasteful program.
The final bill also includes an Ayotte and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) provision that would prohibit the Pentagon in most cases from using cost-type contracts for the production of major defense acquisition programs. Cost-type contracts have been used during program development to share risk between the government and defense contractors. However, the use of cost-type contracts during the post-development production of defense programs has resulted in taxpayers paying billions of dollars for costs that should have been absorbed by defense contractors.
As Ranking Member of the Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, Senator Ayotte also worked closely with Chairman Claire McCaskill (D-MO) to achieve additional efficiencies in the Pentagon's budget while guarding against irresponsible cuts that would leave our troops and our nation less prepared for future contingencies.