House passes defense authorization bill

The House passed the $640 billion fiscal 2013 National Defense Authorization Act May 18.

The vote on the bill, H.R. 4310, was 299 to 120.

“This year’s defense authorization bill helps meet my priorities as chairman: Resolve sequestration; restore strategy and sanity to the defense budget; and rebuild our military after a decade of war,” Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.), chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said in a statement after it passed.

He said the bill would require defense officials to be fiscally responsible with their resources through stewardship, prioritizing resources and reforming how the Pentagon interacts with the defense industrial base. The committee has worked to ensure competition in contracts, to ease the stresses on small business looking to work with the Armed Services, and to evaluate supply chain weaknesses.

Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the committee’s ranking member, voted for the bill despite some concerns, including the amount of spending.

“Given the size of our debt and deficit and growing budgetary pressures, I am concerned the bill supports an overall defense budget that is roughly $8 billion over the Budget Control Act. Congress made a commitment to get our budget under control, and I fully expect that the Senate will honor the Budget Control Act number,” he said in a statement.

The Obama administration is warning that the president might veto the defense bill, because of budget amounts and constraints on defense strategies and a need for agency officials to be able to cut resources where they see fit.

“If the cumulative effects of the bill impede the ability of the administration to execute the new defense strategy and to properly direct scarce resources, the president’s senior advisers would recommend to the president that he veto the bill,” administration officials wrote in a the policy statement May 16.

Officials are concerned with a provision that seeks to clarify military authority to conduct clandestine cyber operations. They also objected to contract bundling provision and “a laudable but overly ambitious” 25 percent goal for small business contracting. The goal currently is to award 23 percent of all prime contracting dollars to small businesses.

Despite the concern, Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), chairman of the Small Business Committee, said the bill will improve the contracting workforce by helping small businesses, while making it easier for agencies to crack down on deceptive firms. It would also address the top complaint he hears from small contractors: unjustifiable contract bundling.

“Given that about 70 percent of government contracts are awarded by the Department of Defense, it was beneficial for us to work together on improving small business procurement policies,” he said.

Now, the bill goes to the Senate Armed Services Committee for consideration. The committee has yet to release its version of the bill.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

The Fed 100

Read the profiles of all this year's winners.

Featured

  • Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump at a 2016 campaign event. Image: Shutterstock

    'Buy American' order puts procurement in the spotlight

    Some IT contractors are worried that the "buy American" executive order from President Trump could squeeze key innovators out of the market.

  • OMB chief Mick Mulvaney, shown here in as a member of Congress in 2013. (Photo credit Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

    White House taps old policies for new government makeover

    New guidance from OMB advises agencies to use shared services, GWACs and federal schedules for acquisition, and to leverage IT wherever possible in restructuring plans.

  • Shutterstock image (by Everett Historical): aerial of the Pentagon.

    What DOD's next CIO will have to deal with

    It could be months before the Defense Department has a new CIO, and he or she will face a host of organizational and operational challenges from Day One

  • USAF Gen. John Hyten

    General: Cyber Command needs new platform before NSA split

    U.S. Cyber Command should be elevated to a full combatant command as soon as possible, the head of Strategic Command told Congress, but it cannot be separated from the NSA until it has its own cyber platform.

  • Image from Shutterstock.

    DLA goes virtual

    The Defense Logistics Agency is in the midst of an ambitious campaign to eliminate its IT infrastructure and transition to using exclusively shared, hosted and virtual services.

  • Fed 100 logo

    The 2017 Federal 100

    The women and men who make up this year's Fed 100 are proof positive of what one person can make possibile in federal IT. Read on to learn more about each and every winner's accomplishments.

Reader comments

Tue, May 22, 2012

More business as usual. Lots of pretty words about good stewardship, but never any followup. Pentagon badly needs a clean-sheet-of-paper reorg, with ALL duplicated functions common-serviced, or outsourced to the mirror-image similar shops on civilian side of FedGov.

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group