Home » Aviation » Compromise NDAA Language Invests In More Troops, Scales Back Procurement Of Ships, Aircraft


Compromise NDAA Language Invests In More Troops, Scales Back Procurement Of Ships, Aircraft

FA-18A++ Hornets with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron(VMFA) 314, forward based at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, are lined up on the flightline at Komatsu Air Base, Japan, during the Komatsu Aviation Training Relocation exercise March 7-18, 2016. US Marine Corps photo.

FA-18A++ Hornets with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron(VMFA) 314, forward based at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, are lined up on the flightline at Komatsu Air Base, Japan, during the Komatsu Aviation Training Relocation exercise March 7-18, 2016. US Marine Corps photo.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Senate and House armed services committees have agreed upon a compromise National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 that prioritizes higher personnel and readiness levels over procurement of ships and aircraft.

Senior armed services committee aides told reporters this afternoon that their compromise bill includes $3.2 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) spending aimed at adding 16,000 soldiers, 4,000 airmen and 3,000 Marines to the force. That money covers not only the military personnel costs associated with the higher force but also increased operations and maintenance costs.

“One of the things that we were really focused on was getting after the readiness issues,” an aide said.
“All that money went to readiness issues, particularly in the area of end strength,” with an eye specifically towards “operations and support for Air Force and Marine Corps aviation readiness shortfalls.”

Marine and Navy aviation leaders have said that barriers to rebuilding readiness go beyond just funding for personnel and flight hours and also include a lack of spare parts to keep planes ready, a backlog of planes at depot maintenance facilities and other logistics and maintenance-related issues. The armed services committee aides said money was reallocated within the base budget, keeping within the Bipartisan Budget Agreement spending caps, to increase funding for aviation spares and maintenance to further help boost aviation readiness.

To stay within the budget caps, though, procurement of aircraft, ships and other major platforms were trimmed back to the president’s budget request level, instead of the much higher levels the House Armed Services Committee had included in its version of the bill this spring. HASC had proposed a $20.6-billion shipbuilding budget for FY 2017, as compared to recent annual shipbuilding budgets closer to $15 billion, as well as funding for additional Boeing F/A-18E-F Super Hornets and Lockheed Martin F-35C Lighting II Joint Strike Fighters beyond the president’s request.

Though the increase in personnel spending didn’t directly force the decrease in acquisition, the committee aides said there was a clear preference for people over platforms during negotiations.

“Once you lose the end strength it’s a minimum of three years to get back to it,” an aide said.
“On the procurement side, you get another bite; you can always try to get [ships and planes] in when we actually do the final budget next year after we get through the [continuing resolution], there’s another bite at the apple available. … There’s another day to fight on the procurement side, but once you let the end strength go it takes years to build it back.”

The compromise NDAA bill also splits the role of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics into two or three jobs – one to handle acquisition, one to handle development and innovation, and potentially a third to manage the defense agencies. The aides described the ideal acquisition environment as low-risk and disciplined, whereas the research and development community needs freedom to innovate and experiment and make informed risks – which require two different types of leaders to be most effective. The Defense Department would have a year to reorganize itself, giving the incoming Trump administration time to appoint Defense officials and make decisions about how the two new under secretary offices would look.

The compromise bill language should be released tomorrow, with the bill going to the House Rules Committee then and hopefully on to the House floor for a vote on Friday. If passed, the bill would then go to the Senate for consideration next week.

  • bobbymike34

    One trillion for defense.

  • The Plague

    Politicians at work : buy off the crowd, but sink devastate the machinery.

  • ddsmpret

    Besides cyber, DoD needs a quantum leap into drone initiatives, procurement and force integration. Our adversaries have.

  • Curtis Conway

    Take care of the people so they can take care of the tasking. Focusing on readiness vs buying new toys before we even have a new plan and infrastructure under the new administration, makes sense. Like the focus on spare parts, maintenance, and training. Gotta get back on track with the system of maintenance, exercises, and deployment that worked well for ages, based upon hard won wisdom.

  • sferrin

    In the meantime weapons prices rocket because, yet again, we’re stretching out procurement.

  • Secundius

    So much for that 308-ship Navy the US Navy wanted. And cutting “Insentives” for those that Service, ISN’T going to Increase Enlistment…

    • Curtis Conway

      I suspect a year of reviewing all the NIEs and other things that drove us to bank on and build LCS and others questionable things, has necessitated this move. Gotta review and access validity of assumptions for the future, and HOPEFULLY, come up with multiple paths of success (multi-mission platforms that can defend themselves in the modern Battlespace), instead of anemic single-mission expensive pipe dreams based upon faulty logic, that kept some Americans in beans, contributed little to actual defense, and will get our sailors killed in the future (The LCS Pipe-dream).

      • Secundius

        Don’t Count on it! It would have to be “War of the World’s” Scenario before Trump Reacts…

  • John B. Morgen

    If the DOD is thinking about increasing troop levels, then the DOD is going to need more transports in terms of aircraft and ships.

    • Secundius

      Probably Not Going to Happen! Over the Last Year, Congress has been Cutting Special Entitlement Programs. Like Off-Base Housing Allowances, PX & Commissary Privileges, Tricare and Sign-Up Bonuses. Generally NOT Honoring Their End of the Enlistment Contract. That’s going to Hit Deep in Recruitment, Unless Congress Reinstates the Draft or Compulsory Service Program…

      • John B. Morgen

        The Public is [not] going to be supportive of Congress of reinstate the Draft; especially, when the 2018 Elections will be coming up. Unless some nation-state decided to attacked us, then the Draft would be reinstated. Right now, I don’t foreseen any nation-state would be crazy enough to attacked us.
        Congress must be nuts about cutting back on special entitlements for service personnel. Not many people will be signing up to enlist, unless they are rich enough to carry their own weight.

        • Secundius

          Entirely Possible, considering All the Flattery Pouring In…

          • John B. Morgen

            Yet, 2017 could be another folly year for Congress, after Trump gets into the White House.

          • Secundius

            I hope that Supreme Court steps in and Explains What IS and ISN’T Constitutional without having to use a “Baseball Bat” on a “Dead-Ball” Baseball…

          • John B. Morgen

            The Supreme Court is [NOT] going to step in, unless someone informs them about a concerning legal issue. Most likely it would be coming from the ACLU, and this organization is going to be quite busy in 2017. The Trump regime is going to making lawyers getting rich, or be quite busy in issuing legal briefs against this new administration.

          • Secundius

            RICH? At who’s expense, the Taxpayers or the Trump Financial Empire…

          • John B. Morgen

            From both parties.

          • Secundius

            For some reason, I don’t see Trump spending a Dime when and where Taxpayers Billions will do…

          • John B. Morgen

            Wait and see what Trump does, and that is the most I can say.

          • Secundius

            He’s “Already Doing” and he’s not even President Yet…

          • John B. Morgen

            Trump cannot sign any laws or budgets,or making any wars. The only thing that he can do is to make plans for selecting the new cabinet members for his government.

          • Secundius

            Unfortunately Trump and the Trumpets, Haven’t Read the US Constitution. And DON’T Know What Powers the President of the United States “Actually” Has. Trump is Operating of the CEO/Board Room Mentality, of “Whatever I Say Goes”…

          • John B. Morgen

            Congress will [NOT] allow President Trump to side-step them, or take them for granted. Congress is very territorial, and Congress will protect its domain, regardless is who’s in the White House. Trump could get a lesson about the do’s and don’ts from Congress.

          • Secundius

            Probably Not! But are THEY (the US Congress) going to be “Judge Advocates” (to “Bit” Him [Equine Term]) or “Camp Followers” (knowing without Trump their Political Careers are Pretty Much Over). The US Senate for example, will have to Endure at least Two Voting Cycles before Trump’s First Term is Even Over. There the “Weakest Link” in the US Congressional Chain…

  • Ed L

    if you don’t have the equipment and spare parts, You could have a million man army that would be only good for patrolling the streets that already are quiet. It takes about 6 months to get to where they can do a job with limited supervision. How long does it take to build a ship or get planes rolling off idle assembly lines, or how long to get a factory going to ramp up to supply body armor and rifles for 50,000 troops