After less than two days of debate over almost 300 amendments, the House on Thursday passed a $717 billion defense authorization bill for fiscal 2019 by a 351-66 vote. The measure, H.R. 5515, would boost the armed forces’ active-duty end strength by 15,600 and require the Pentagon’s chief management officer to ensure the department reduces spending by at least 25 percent by Jan. 1, 2021, on civilian resource management, logistics, services contracting and real estate management support functions.
Before voting on final passage of the annual policy measure Thursday, the House adopted 74 noncontroversial amendments by voice vote. One of the amendments would expand the categories of military facilities where potentially threatening drones can be shot down. The provision, offered by Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), would add training installations and facilities with mobility airlift missions to the current list which covers nine categories. Another, proposed by Del. Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam), would give U.S. companies preference on telecommunications contracts on military bases in the United States and its territories.
Senior leaders of the House Armed Services Committee praised the legislation for helping rebuild the military’s readiness, reports Defense News.
Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Koby Saunders