Senate’s Policy Bill Slows Effort to Improve Readiness by Shortchanging Troop Levels, White House Says

Senate’s Policy Bill Slows Effort to Improve Readiness by Shortchanging Troop Levels, White House Says

The White House cited dozens of elements it objects to in the Senate’s fiscal 2019 defense authorization bill, including language authorizing an increase in active-duty personnel that is less than half the number the administration requested, but the Statement of Administration Policy it released Tuesday fell short of threatening to veto the annual policy measure. S. 2987 calls for adding about 7,000 active-duty troops next year, while the Pentagon had requested adding 15,600, a figure that is matched in the House’s authorization bill. The Senate bill also authorizes 800 fewer reserve component personnel than requested.

“One of the primary objectives of the FY 2019 request, which fully aligns with the NDS [National Defense Strategy], is to invest in DOD’s most important asset: people. Failure to authorize the necessary end strength growth could impose critical delays on efforts to improve readiness by increasing manning levels to reduce personnel and operational tempo, as well as to generate expanded availability for full-spectrum training opportunities,” the document states.

The White House said it “strongly objects” to language requiring DOD to submit an energy study or life-cycle cost analysis for each military construction project submitted in the annual budget request. “This requirement would significantly delay project execution by necessitating that DOD complete substantial design (50-80 percent design completion) before budget submission in order for the designer to produce the required energy study and life-cycle cost items and thereby, would degrade military readiness,” according to the statement. The White House also objected to language in section 2811 requiring the department to include a risk mitigation plan for projects that fall within a 100-year floodplain.

 

Air Force photo by Alejandro Pena

Dan Cohen
Dan Cohen
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