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FY 2010 Defense Authorization Conference Report

On October 8, 2009, the House passed the conference report on the Defense Authorization for FY 2010 (HR 2647) and was signed by the President on October 28th.  This bill is another step by President Obama and the 111th Congress to take America in a New Direction by ensuring that our military is fully prepared for threats and challenges worldwide and that our troops get the benefits they deserve and have earned.  This measure will provide the necessary resources and authorities to quickly and efficiently reverse declining trends in military readiness, and will also provide our service members in harm's way with the best gear and force protection possible.  Under the measure, our troops will get better health care, better pay, and the benefits they have earned.  Below are highlights of the measure.

Restoring Our Nation's Military Readiness

Expand the Number of Troops to Meet Our Commitments and Reduce Strain 

  • Increases the size of the military by 30,000 Army troops, 8,100 Marines, 14,650 Air Force personnel, and 2,477 Navy sailors in Fiscal Year 2010, as requested by the President
  • Authorizes an additional 30,000 Army troops in Fiscal Years 2011 and 2012

Provide Needed Military Equipment and Training for Our Troops

  • Authorizes $11 billion to address the Army's equipment reset requirements in FY 2010, and $1 billion to address the equipment reset needs of the Marine Corps.  This will enable the two services to address their critical shortfalls of equipment.
  • Provides $4.7 billion for training opportunities for the Army
  • Provides $255.3 million to refill and maintain prepositioned stocks to help prepare for any future contingencies
  • Adds $350 million for Army trainee barracks construction and $200 million to support National Guard and Reserve military construction projects
  • Adds $70 million for the Navy's top unfunded requirement, aviation depot maintenance

Build up the Strained National Guard and Reserve 

  • Authorizes $6.9 billion for the procurement of critical, high-priority equipment for the National Guard and Reserve.  The funding is specifically provided to address critical unfunded equipment shortfalls of the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve.

Protecting Our Troops in Harm's Way

Ensure Our Troops in Harm's Way Have the Protective Equipment They Need

  • Provides $6.7 billion for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, $1.2 billion above the President's request, which fully funds the new MRAP All-Terrain variant requirement for Afghanistan.
  • Authorizes $2.1 billion for the work of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDD), which develops better technologies for defeating IEDs.

Supporting Our Troops and Their Families

Give the Military a Pay Raise

  • Provides all service members a pay raise of 3.4 percent -- 0.5 percent more than the President's budget request.

Improve Health Care for Our Troops & Military Retirees

  • Retroactively prohibits fee increases on TRICARE inpatient care for one year.  The Defense Department recently announced TRICARE fee increases, including a $110-a-day increase in inpatient hospitalization charges for military retirees and their families. 
  • Expands TRICARE health coverage to reserve component members and their families for 180 days prior to mobilization, instead of just 90 days.
  • Enables seriously injured service members to use a non-medical attendant for help with daily living or during travel for medical treatment. 
  • Strengthen DOD efforts to expand mental health care for troops -- by increasing the number of military mental health providers, and providing DOD scholarships to students pursuing mental health-related degrees.
  • Requires a medical examination before a service member who has been deployed overseas and diagnosed with either PTSD or TBI can be involuntarily separated.
  • Directs DOD to establish an undergraduate nurse training program to help alleviate the shortage of military nurses
  • Provides travel and transportation for three designated persons, including non-family members, to visit hospitalized service members

Improve Family Support for Military Families 

  • Provides $2.2 billion for family housing programs and requires DOD to review the current standards used to calculate the monthly rates for basic allowance for housing.
  • Adds $276 million to support the Housing Assistance Program that helps service members forced to sell their homes at a significant loss
  • Authorizes $30 million for Impact Aid to help local educational agencies providing support to our military children, with an additional $14 million for BRAC-affected areas and an additional $5 million for military children with severe disabilities
  • Establishes an internship pilot program for military spouses to obtain employment with federal agencies to provide them with opportunities in careers that are portable as they move from military station to station.

Focusing on the War in Afghanistan

  • Bans permanent bases in Afghanistan
  • Requires reports to assess progress toward security and stability in Afghanistan and in Pakistan
  • Provides funds to train and equip the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF)
  • Authorizes up to $50 million in Commanders' Emergency Response Program (CERP) funds to support the Afghanistan National Solidarity Program
  • Authorizes use of CERP funds to support reintegration into Afghan society of those who have renounced violence against the Government of Afghanistan 
  • Authorizes the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund to improve the capabilities of Pakistan's security forces, including Pakistan's military and Frontier Corps
  • Directs GAO to provide separate reports assessing the strategic plans for Iraq and Afghanistan

Iraq Policy Provisions

  • Bans permanent bases in Iraq and prohibits U.S. control of Iraqi oil revenues
  • Requires a report on the responsible redeployment of U.S. Forces from Iraq
  • Provides authority to transfer equipment to bolster the Iraqi Security Forces

Contractor Reform and Improving Accountability

Cleaning Up Federal Contracting and Increasing Taxpayer Protection

  • Supports the plan to increase the size of the civilian acquisition workforce
  • Enhances expedited hiring authority to attract quality candidates for defense acquisition workforce positions
  • Reduces DOD's reliance on contractors for critical acquisition functions
  • Eliminates waste, fraud, and abuse through increased contractor oversight

Other Provisions, Including Nuclear Threat Reduction and Military Commissions
The measure includes numerous other provisions.  Only a couple of these other provisions are highlighted below.

Keep Nuclear Weapons Out of the Hands of Terrorists

  • Provides $2.2 billion for DOE's non-proliferation programs, an increase of $398 million
  • Provides $424 million for Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) initiatives, an increase of $20 million
  • Strengthens the Stockpile Stewardship Program to ensure the nuclear weapons stockpile is safe, secure, and reliable without the use of underground testing 

Military Commissions

  • Revises the Military Commissions Act to clarify rules and improve trial procedures to make military commissions fair and effective and significantly reduce the likelihood of convictions from being overturned on technicalities by:
    • Prohibiting the use of statements alleged to have been secured through cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment;
    • Providing the accused with greater ability to select own counsel;
    • Making hearsay evidence harder to use in court;
    • Improving the procedures for the handling of classified information; and
    • Permitting military commissions to continue existing cases for 90 days or until revisions have been made to supporting court manuals and handbooks 

Detainees

  • Prohibits the release of Guantanamo Bay detainees into the United States, its territories, and possessions and restricts detainee transfers to the same until 45 days after the President has submitted a plan to Congress certifying that the detainees will pose little to no risk to the United States if transferred
  • Prohibits interrogation of detainees by contractors
  • Prohibits any non-Department of Justice official from reading Miranda rights to detainees
  • Requires the Secretary of Defense to develop guidelines mandating videotaping or other electronic recording of non-battlefield detainee interrogations
  • Requires DOD to give the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) prompt access to detainees held at the Bagram Theater Internment Facility in Afghanistan

Missile Defense

  • Fully authorizes the Administration's request of $9.3 billion for missile defense programs
  • Provides the resources necessary to meet the most pressing ballistic missile threats to the United States, our deployed forces, and our friends and allies

Hate Crimes
After 17 years of debate, the bill includes bipartisan provisions to strengthen law enforcement against hate crimes -- supported by more than 300 law enforcement, religious, civil rights, disability, and other organizations.  It gives state and local enforcement the tools to prosecute hate crimes and protects Americans against violence based on sexual orientation, race, religion, gender, national origin, disability, or gender identity by extending the federal hate crimes statute.  In April, the House passed these provisions on a bipartisan basis by a vote of 249 to 175.