Defense Authorization

Defense bill ready for Obama

image of obama on phone

President Obama will soon get the National Defense Authorization Act to sign or veto.

The House and Senate passed the fiscal 2013 National Defense Authorization Act on Dec. 20 and Dec. 21, respectively, outlining budget priorities and authorities for the year and paving the way for the president’s signature.

The bill is in keeping with Congress’ “goals of providing resources to meet the threats America faces; keeping faith with America’s men and women in uniform; aligning our military posture in a dangerous world; and rebuilding a force after a decade at war,” according to conference notes released by the office of House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.)

The $641 billion bill “reflects concern about America’s mounting debt, but also ensures that our Armed Forces have the resources they need to meet an increasingly dangerous world,” the conference notes state. “It also recognizes that the military has absorbed 50 percent of deficit reduction efforts to date, though it comprises only less than 20 percent of the federal budget.”

The bill includes $552 billion in base funds and $88.5 billion for overseas contingency operations. It authorizes $1.7 billion more than President Barack Obama requested “and is an incremental step to address the $46 billion decrease when considering where the President proposed National Defense would be for fiscal year 2013 in last year’s budget,” the document states.

Among the bill’s provisions are a 1.7 percent pay increase for members of the military, enhanced oversight of cyber operations and capabilities, and investments in science and technology for future defense needs. The legislation also implements recommendations from the House Armed Services Committee’s Panel on Defense Financial Management and Auditability Reform aimed at improving the auditability of the Defense Department’s finances and its enterprise resource planning programs.

The bill also includes provisions aimed at reforming the way DOD does business with the private sector and in particular addresses contracting issues, small-business targets, and the need to boost competition and innovation.

DOD officials are likely to see a growing emphasis on small-business contracting as Congress seeks to reinforce the defense industrial base. The bill would strengthen small companies’ role in acquisition planning and require more oversight of contract bundling, the practice of combining several smaller contracts into a single large contract that is often beyond what a small firm can handle.

The bill would also remove the $3 million contracting cap for woman-owned small businesses, which would give agencies more flexibility. Congress wants an independent assessment of the composition of DOD’s industrial base, including subcontractors, with a view toward ensuring that DOD has a wide range of businesses to rely on for its operations.

“As the Defense Department resets after a decade of war, we need to make sure our defense dollars are used in the most efficient way and go to the most innovative technologies that support our troops,” said Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), ranking member of the Armed Services Committee’s Panel on Business Challenges Within the Defense Industry. “Small businesses are true innovators and important job creators.”

In a statement, Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), chairman of the Small Business Committee, said the bill would “help make sure existing small-business goals are actually met, empower small-business advocates and crack down on fraud.”

The House passed the bill 315-107; the Senate vote was 81-14. The bill will now head to the White House for the president’s signature.

About the Authors

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

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

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Mon, Dec 24, 2012 Questioner

How does this bill passage relate to fiscal cliff negotiations?

Mon, Dec 24, 2012 Bill O scottsdale, Az

why is the Defense of family Center very upset over this; has anyone read it? Does it. in effect, give the white House unlimited power to inter anti govt policy spoksemen?

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