Armed Services Bill Resists Cost-Cutting Initiatives
The chairman’s version of the fiscal 2012 defense authorization bill challenges the Obama administration’s plan to trim $400 billion in defense spending over the next 12 years.
“Proposing to cut defense spending by nearly $500 billion in the coming decade without first conducting the necessary due diligence to determine what our nation’s basic defense requirements will be is an invitation to other countries to challenge America’s supremacy,” Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said Monday.
The measure, for instance, calls for the defense secretary to report to the committee how the department would ensure the push to lower the federal deficit would not encroach upon the Quadrennial Defense Review.
McKeon, however, praised Obama’s pledge to conduct a review of DOD’s roles and missions before identifying potential defense savings that could go toward deficit reduction. The committee’s members “support this effort and strongly believe that harvesting arbitrary ‘savings’ prior to determining the capabilities needed to protect the United States is putting the cart before the horse,” according to a written statement from McKeon.
The panel’s subcommittees last week blocked several of the Pentagon’s proposals to cut weapons programs, along with one to increase fees paid by retired personnel for Tricare, reported the Washington Post.
The committee will mark up the authorization bill, H.R. 1540, Wednesday.