House Panel To Markup $554B Defense Budget Bill


The House Armed Services Committee is set to begin marking up the 2013 defense authorization bill Wednesday, Federal News Radio reports.

That bill includes provisions to promote the rotation of national security positions between agencies.

A new board, led by the Office of Management and Budget and aided by the Chief Human Capital Officers‘ Council, would define how agencies could share national security personnel.

Positions identified by the council would rotate from current jobs in one agency to the same job in another and could also be ordered to do so involuntarily, the report notes.

Included in the 500-plus page bill are efforts to improve the Defense Department’s service contracting and personnel reporting methods, which the U.S. Army is excepted from, according to the report.

The bill holds the Army up as a model for how the rest of the Pentagon can comply with a 2008 law requiring contractor inventory.

Agencies would also have to prove they have begun these processes or else the government will withhold 80 percent of the Air Force, Navy and Office of Secretary of Defense’s operations and maintenance budget.

The House included bill measures that would increase military pay by 1.7 percent as was requested by the White House, but would not allow the Pentagon to increase healthcare premiums for military retirees covered under Tricare health insurance.

If passed, the bill would authorize $554 billion of the defense’s base budget for 2013, $29 million more than the White House proposed.

The bill would appropriate more funding than last year’s Budget Control Act, which Rep. Adam Smith (D -Wash.) said is disconcerting given the size of the U.S. debt, deficits and growing budget concerns.

Smith suggests the House honor the Budget Control Act that the Senate will likely honor.

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