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Public Statements

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. BISHOP of Utah. I appreciate the invitation from Mr. Pearce.

This problem illustrates a couple of overwhelming problems we have. One is that agencies don't talk one with another. When the FAA closed towers down, they put three military bases in a difficult situation because they didn't talk. When NASA changed its policy on manned space flight, it increased the cost of our missile defense system because the agencies flat out didn't talk.

Here is another situation of agencies that simply are not working together, which illustrates a second reason why, in this bill, when we try to talk about land, we're not talking about withdrawing land so that two different agencies have the same land. We're trying to do transfers of land so one agency can make the decision--in this case, it should be the military.

Now, as subcommittee chairman for the Public Lands Subcommittee in the Resources, I want to say I support this amendment, and I would ask that people would pass this amendment. There may be some areas of trying to change some of the language to limit the scope of what we are doing here, which could easily be done in conference if this amendment is placed on the table in the first place. We already have language in there that deals with White Sands, but this amendment would have to be in addition to that.

So I would urge my colleagues to actually vote in favor of this. If there are some areas that we need to scope down again, we can easily accomplish that if we have the opportunity of doing so in a conference.

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Mr. BISHOP of Utah. Mr. Chairman, even though I appreciate the efforts and the goals of the gentlemen who are introducing this amendment, the experience at most of our air logistics centers simply means that A-76 has brought along delays; and those delays, even if they're in the form of a study, have caused the work to delay, meaning the product given to the warfighter is delayed, and the fixed cost overhead that our depots obviously have faced have to be paid from some source, which is, indeed, the taxpayer.

A-76 is about low cost and not necessarily best value, which means if you're dealing with a market system where something goes out there, you see if it sells or not, that's okay. But you're dealing with military equipment which must be performed and must be prepared on a timely basis and in a specific way. And that is why the Department of Defense and the Office of Management and Budget are both opposing this amendment, as well as why they halted the process in the first place, because they found there are structural flaws inherent in this process.

It is better to go about finding a better solution to this, and that is public-private partnerships, which we are already doing at the air logistics centers. By taking the creativity of the private sector with the stability of the public workforce, we actually get the best of both worlds. That would be far better than tearing this open for a food fight that would affect the quality of military equipment which is at stake.

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