STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
(Rep. Obey, D-Wisconsin)
The Administration supports House passage of H.R. 3326, making appropriations for the Department of Defense for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010.
The Administration is committed to keeping the United States military the strongest and most capable military in the world. The President's strategy increases training, resources, and support for the U.S. Armed Forces. To keep the United States secure, the Armed Forces must have sufficient resources to prevail in current operations while maintaining and developing new capabilities to deter potential adversaries and prepare for other risks and contingencies. This legislation, as approved by the House Committee on Appropriations, advances many initiatives in line with the President's goals.
The President and the Nation's military leadership have put forward a strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan so that all elements of national power are engaged and integrated in an effort to defeat al Qaeda and prevent attacks on the homeland and on U.S. allies and partners. In Iraq, the United States is moving forward with a responsible drawdown of combat forces, having transferred security responsibilities to Iraq's forces. The legislation, as approved by the Committee, provides critical resources to enable this to happen.
The Administration also recognized the importance of requesting a full year's resources for these operations. Providing full-year funding will give troops carrying out operations overseas the ability to plan operations more effectively and will cause far less disruption in other base programs. By providing a full year's funding up front for these operations, the Committee follows through on the President's request, and ends the disruptions caused by relying on supplemental funding.
Providing greater support for servicemembers and their families is a top priority for the President and the Department of Defense (DOD). This includes increasing the size of the Army and Marine Corps to reduce the strain on military families, and additional help to put an end to stop loss. It also includes easing the burdens on U.S. troops and their families with increased pay, quality child care, job training for spouses, and expanded counseling and outreach to families that have experienced the separation and stress of war. The legislation builds on the progress in the Fiscal Year 2009 Supplemental Appropriations Act with necessary resources to meet these commitments.
The President has also requested significant new resources for military medical care, with additional Army wounded warrior complexes and increased resources to address traumatic brain injuries and mental health needs. The Committee legislation meets the President's goals with funding that advances first-class medical care for servicemembers and their families.
The Administration believes that, while the Committee has made important investments in the Nation's defense, there are significant ways in which the current bill can be strengthened and looks forward to working with the Congress on this effort.
The Administration would like to take this opportunity to share additional views regarding the Committee's version of the bill.
F-22 Fighter. The Administration strongly objects to $369 million in unrequested advanced procurement funding provided for 12 F-22 fighter aircraft in FY 2011, rather than ending the production program as requested by the President. The collective judgment of the Service Chiefs and Secretaries of the military departments has determined that 187 F-22s are sufficient to meet operational requirements. Consistent with the President's letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee on July 13, 2009, concerning the National Defense Authorization Act, if the final bill presented to him contains this provision, the President will veto it.
Joint Strike Fighter (F-35) Alternate Engine. The Administration strongly objects to the addition of $130 million to produce, and $430 million to continue the development of, the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) alternate engine, which was proposed for termination by the President. Expenditures on an alternate engine for the JSF are unnecessary and divert resources from the overall JSF program. The current engine is performing well, and the risks associated with a single engine provider are manageable. If the final bill presented to the President would seriously disrupt the F-35 program, the President's senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.
Presidential Helicopter (VH-71). The Administration strongly objects to the addition of $400 million to make operational five partially-completed VH-71 helicopters. These helicopters currently have no mission equipment and would require in excess of $2 billion to complete and to operate as Presidential helicopters, yet would still not meet full operational requirements for that mission. DOD and the White House are conducting a requirements analysis, and the outcome of this effort should not be pre-empted. If the final bill were to include funds that continue the existing VH-71 program, or would prejudge the plan to re-compete the Presidential helicopter program, the President's senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.
C-17 Transport Aircraft. The Administration strongly objects to the addition of $674 million in funding for three unrequested C-17 airlift aircraft. Analyses by DOD have shown that the 205 C-17s in the force and on order, together with the existing fleet of C-5 aircraft, are sufficient to meet the Department's future airlift needs, even under the most stressing situations.
Efficiencies and Cost-Saving Proposals. The Administration urges the Congress to support the President's initiatives to terminate or reduce programs that fund narrowly focused activities, duplicate existing programs, or that have outlived their usefulness, specifically including the Kinetic Energy Interceptor program. The Congress is encouraged to adopt proposals made by the Administration that would better target scarce resources and redirect funds to programs with greater potential for results.
Tanker Acquisition. Although the Administration appreciates that the Committee funds the Tanker Replacement Transfer Fund, the Administration strongly opposes language that hinders DOD's ability to ensure a fair and timely competition and restricts the assembly of all non-developmental aircraft in a manner that is inconsistent with our international agreements. The Administration supports a procurement approach that takes advantage of the efficiencies associated with an award to a single contractor.
Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicles. The Administration strongly urges full funding for MRAPs and opposes the reduction of $1.9 billion from the request. Since the President's FY 2010 request was transmitted, the military's requirement for MRAPs has increased from 2,080 to 5,244. The Committee's reduction would seriously delay fulfillment of this requirement.
Missile Defense Agency Rescissions. The Administration opposes the rescission of 2009 funds for the European Interceptor Site because this would remove the Administration's flexibility to arrive at a future decision on ballistic missile defense in Europe. The Administration also objects to the rescission of 2009 funds for the Space Tracking and Surveillance System, which would result in immediate cessation of work and deobligation of funds.
Security and Stabilization Assistance (Section 1207). The Administration urges that authority for the section 1207 reconstruction stabilization assistance be funded as requested.
Classified Programs. The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to address concerns regarding statutory direction to re-organize certain offices within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), reductions to cyber security programs, and cuts to classified activities in ODNI.