DOD Authorization bill cuts satellite program

The 2007 Defense Authorization bill, which the House and Senate agreed on Sept. 29, provides $7 billion in funding for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and an overall Defense Department budget of $462.8 billion versus $436.5 billion provided in the Defense Appropriations bill.

The Senate has not yet posted a full version of the authorization bill’s conference report. But according to a summary provided by the Senate Armed Services Committee, the final bill cut funding for a critical DOD satellite communications program, the Transformation Satellite Communications System (TSAT) by $80 million, providing $767 million rather than $867 as the Bush administration had requested. The fiscal 2007 Defense Appropriations bill chopped $130 million from the TSAT budget.

The authorization bill provides $2.1 billion for the Joint Improvised Explosive Device program, which will facilitate development of technology to counter IED threats, which continue to take a toll on U.S. personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill also directs DOD to ensure all vehicle movements in Iraq are protected by IED jammers.

The authorization bill also calls for the creation of an undersecretary of Defense for policy and authorized continued oversight of interagency contracting by extending the current series of DOD inspector general audits to include joint reviews with the IG of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Institutes of Health.

The House and Senate also want the Homeland Security Department to develop and maintain a database of each state’s National Guard emergency response capabilities. The bill also authorized DOD to move communications equipment, food and water to help the military respond to natural or manmade disaster.

In health care activities, the authorization bill told DOD to develop a comprehensive disease and chronic care management system and authorized $10 million for projects to improve early diagnosis and treatments of post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health conditions.


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