McKeon Opening Statement on Markup of 2012 National Defense Authorization Act
Washington, D.C. –U.S. Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following regarding H.R. 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2012:
“It’s an honor to sit here today with Ranking Member Smith and other members of this committee who have worked so hard to craft this critical piece of legislation. I’d like to thank the members for their professionalism and willingness to set aside partisanship. This bill once again demonstrates that support for our troops is a higher priority than personal politics.
“Today we are presenting legislation that will advance our national security aims, provide the proper care and logistical support for our fighting forces, and help us meet the defense challenges of the 21st century.
“I think it’s particularly appropriate to praise our subcommittee chairs and ranking members for their tireless dedication and commitment. I would point out that this legislation was crafted after a delayed submission of the President’s budget request for fiscal year 2012 and while this Congress was still working to pass the unfinished business of the last Congress relating to the fiscal year 2011 appropriations. These pressures forced Members and staff to work on a much tighter deadline, while still supporting the necessary oversight activities of the Committee.
“The legislation we will consider today also makes good on my promise, when I was selected to lead the Armed Services Committee, that this committee would scrutinize the Department of Defense’s budget and identify inefficiencies to invest those savings into higher national security priorities. Up until now, the Pentagon has taken a band-aid approach to acquisition and management problems and has done little to identify the root causes of the inefficiencies that exist within the defense enterprise.
“The 2012 defense bill reflects the fact that members of the Armed Services Committee, the broader Congress—and the nation—must make tough choices in order to provide for America’s common defense. We must examine every aspect of the defense enterprise—not as a target for arbitrary funding reductions as the current Administration has proposed—but to find ways that we can accomplish the mission of providing for the common defense more effectively.
“The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, achieves these goals by working to:
- Ensure our troops deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq and around the world have the equipment, resources, authorities, training, and time they need to successfully complete their missions and return home;
- Provide our warfighters and their families with the resources and support they need, deserve, and have earned;
- Invest in the capabilities and force structure needed to protect the United States from current and future threats;
- Mandate fiscal responsibility, transparency and accountability within the Department of Defense; and
- Incentivize competition for every tax-payer dollar associated with funding Department of Defense requirements.
“The process used to craft this legislation is also historic. We have had the most transparent process in the history of this institution. A copy of my mark was distributed to Committee members’ offices on Friday, a full five days before the mark up. As well, the legislation, including the funding tables, was posted on-line on Monday. While we will delve into the details of the mark during today’s debate, it is safe to say that the details have been subject to public scrutiny for days.
“It is also noteworthy that for the 112th Congress, House Republican Leadership will not bring legislation containing congressional earmarks to the House floor. Therefore, I will not permit any earmarks in the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2012 and will evaluate amendments accordingly.
“We will shortly begin consideration of H.R. 1540, starting with the subcommittee marks and then with mine. It will be a long day, but please accept my thanks in advance for your patience and cooperation. This is the first step to passing the 50th consecutive defense authorization bill. Your work is vital to this country and to our warfighters.”