Barletta Backs National Defense Authorization Act
HAZLETON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today voted for the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorizes funding for members of our military and their families and helps to keep Americans safe. The FY18 NDAA authorizes $621.5 billion for the Department of Defense base budget and $74.6 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations. The $696.1 billion of funding for national security represents a $62 billion increase from last year. The bill passed by a bipartisan vote of 344-81 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.
“We have a responsibility to care for the men and women who serve our country and equip our military with the resources it needs to keep Americans safe,” Barletta said. “This bill accomplishes those goals. We finally have a partner in the White House who is committed to rebuilding our military and fully funding our national defense. I am especially pleased that this bill increases pay for our troops and their families and prevents another round of base closures. Overall, this is a strong bill for a strong military.”
The NDAA funds a 2.4 percent pay raise for military personnel, improves the delivery of health care services, and includes additional provisions to support those diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or Traumatic Brain Injury. It also boosts our military’s readiness to confront threats by authorizing increases to the size of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Army Guard and Reserve, Naval and Air Reserve, and Air Guard. To ensure our troops are safe and supplied with the resources they need to carry out their missions, the bill makes important investments in maintaining and modernizing equipment.
Barletta helped to defeat an amendment that would have allowed for conducting an additional round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC). The base text of the NDAA prohibits closing or consolidating military bases. During a House Armed Services Committee hearing on June 12, 2017, Defense Secretary James Mattis testified that he wants to review data on excess military facilities capacity before moving forward with another round of BRAC.
“I am not comfortable right now that we have a full 20 some percent excess,” Mattis said. “I need to go back through and look at this again because I don't want to, you know, get rid of something or come to you with something that we can't sustain and then we try to say we got to buy some land here in 10 years.”
BRAC is not a proven cost-saving measure. While the BRAC commission claimed that the 2005 round of BRAC would cost the Pentagon $21 billion, the actual cost was $35.1 billion, according to a 2012 Government Accountability Office report.
“We should not move forward with closing military bases when the cost savings and effect on our military readiness is not clear,” Barletta said. “The Army War College is a huge asset for Carlisle,” Barletta said. “This bill will keep it safe from a BRAC and ensure that it has the resources and support it needs to continue serving our community.”
More detailed information about the NDAA can be found on the House Committee on Armed Services’ website.