May 22 2014
Washington, D.C. – The Senate Armed Services Committee today passed 11 amendments sponsored by U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) to the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Those amendments, now provisions in the NDAA, are summarized below:
Keeping A-10s Operational
This provision would strictly prohibit the U.S. Air Force from retiring A-10 airplanes for one year and fully funds the flight hours, pilot training, fuel, maintenance, and operations for all A-10 pilots and crews through 2015.
Limitation on Consolidation of Army Test and Evaluation Command
This provision would prohibit the Army from consolidating any testing capabilities or missions of the Army Test and Evaluation Command until the Secretary of the Army submits a report that includes a business case analysis of the proposed consolidation, an estimate of the savings, and an assessment by the Director of Test Resource Management Center of the DOD.
Tomahawk Missile Funding
This provision would continue funding for the purchase of Tomahawk missiles, among the most-utilized missile systems in our inventory. The Obama Administration had planned to halt purchases of Tomahawk missiles without a clear plan to replace them with a next-generation land attack weapon.
Three provisions would improve the prospects of competition for military space launch and help move the Pentagon away from using taxpayer dollars to purchase rocket engines from Russia. Specifically, they would:
• Require that the Air Force have a full and open competition on two satellites that they tried to sole-source.
• Prohibit future contracts to buy Russian rocket engines to launch our national security satellites.
• Investigate undue reliance by the U.S. space industry on foreign suppliers and parts such as engines.
Joint Strike Fighter Software
This provision would require a rigorous assessment of the Joint Strike Fighter software to determine if it will be ready to go into combat, continuing the oversight of this nearly trillion-dollar program. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) and Director of Operational Testing and Evaluation (DOT&E) have raised concerns on how reliant the Joint Strike Fighter is on software and how the plane still isn’t operational yet because the software hasn’t been delivered.
Littoral Combat Ship
This provision would require a review into mission modules for the Littoral Combat Ship to determine when they will be delivered, how much they will cost, and whether or not they will work as intended.
Director of Operational Testing and Evaluation
This provision recognizes the valuable and important role that the Pentagon’s Director of Operational Testing and Evaluation plays in providing Congress and the American people with an independent and unvarnished view of whether or not the billion dollar weapon systems we purchase with taxpayer money actually work in the manner promised. It also recognizes the tough, realistic testing they do saves lives by allowing DOD to recognize and fix problems here in the U.S. before a weapon system is deployed in combat.
Eliminating Waste in DOD Information Technology
This provision would require that, before DOD is allowed to spend millions of dollars on new IT projects, it must identify all of its old IT systems first and make sure that they are shut down in order to maximize taxpayer savings. Senator McCain also ensured the inclusion of a provision in the Manager’s Package for a single program manager that works from the beginning to the end of the IT project in order to maintain accountability over any cost overruns and schedule delays. Both of these provisions aim to force DOD to be smarter about how it purchases Information Technology by adopting certain best practices from industry.
Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)
This provision would remove the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) from treatment as terrorist organizations under Tier III of the 2001 Patriot Act. The designations of KDP and PUK as terrorists under Tier III date from their early history of armed opposition to the regime of Saddam Hussein and do not reflect current reality. This provision acknowledges the cooperative and friendly relationship between the Kurdistan Regional Government and the United States. The PUK and KDP have displayed consisted loyalty to the United States and served as reliable partners, sharing a commitment to confronting ongoing security challenges and playing an important role in the economic and political development of Iraq.