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Pentagon Lawyer Pushes Congress to Pass Authorization Bill

Jeh Johnson

The Pentagon’s chief legal adviser Jeh Johnson indicated the Defense Department could be looking at legal complications if Congress fails to pass the defense authorization bill for 2012.

Congress needs to pass the authorization bill, include legislation or a continuing resolution or else the Pentagon will lack needed authorities to give troops bonuses, Johnson said Tuesday at the Heritage Foundation.

With the House already passing the bill in May and the Senate Armed Services Committee passing its bill in June, the only step left is a full Senate debate.

Navy Times reports this year’s bill includes an across-the-board pay raise for the military as well as bonus authorizations that expire at the end of the calendar year.

Authorities that directly support operations in Afghanistan are also in need of extension including the “1206” authority which allows funding to train and equip military forces.

Additional authorities needing extension include the Commander’s Emergency Response Program and the Afghan Infrastructure Fund, which both give the Pentagon legal authority to undertake large infrastructure projects in Afghanistan.

New military construction can be added to the list of bills, giving the Pentagon authority to fund school systems that serve military children.

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