Concurrence

/ March 25, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The House and Senate Budget committees today marked up their versions of the fiscal year 2010 concurrent budget resolution. The House Budget Committee released legislative text that included language on defense:

It is the policy of this resolution that --
(1) there is no higher priority than the defense of our Nation, and therefore the Administration and Congress will make the necessary investments and reforms to strengthen our military so that it can successfully meet the threats of the 21st century;
(2) acquisition reform is needed at the Department of Defense to end excessive cost growth in the development of new weapons systems and to ensure that weapons systems are delivered on time and in adequate quantities to equip our servicemen and servicewomen;
(3) the Department of Defense should review defense plans to ensure that weapons developed to counter Cold War-era threats are not redundant and are applicable to 21st century threats;
(4) sufficient resources should be provided for the Department of Defense to aggressively address the 758 unimplemented recommendations made by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) since 2001 to improve practices at the Department of Defense, which could save billions of dollars that could be applied to priorities identified in this section;
(5) the Department of Defense should review the role that contractors play in its operations, including the degree to which contractors are performing inherently governmental functions, to ensure it has the most effective mix of government and contracted personnel;
(6) the Department of Defense report to Congress on its assessment of Cold War-era weaponry, its progress on implementing GAO recommendations, and its review of contractors at the Department as outlined in paragraphs (3), (4), and (5) by a date to be determined by the appropriate committees;
(7) the GAO provide a report to the appropriate congressional committees by December 31, 2009, on
5 the Department of Defense’s progress in implementing its audit recommendations;
(8) ballistic missile defense technologies that are not proven to work through adequate testing and that are not operationally viable should not be deployed, and that no funding should be provided for the research or development of space-based interceptors;
(9) cooperative threat reduction and other nonproliferation programs (securing "loose nukes" and other materials used in weapons of mass destruction), which were highlighted as high priorities by the 9/11 Commission, need to be funded at a level that is commensurate with the evolving threat;
(10) readiness of our troops, particularly the National Guard and Reserves, is a high priority, and that continued emphasis is needed to ensure adequate equipment and training;
(11) improving military health care services and ensuring quality health care for returning combat veterans is a high priority;
(12) military pay and benefits should be enhanced to improve the quality of life for military personnel and their families;
(13) the Department of Defense should make every effort to investigate the national security benefits of energy independence, including those that may be associated with alternative energy sources and energy efficiency conversions;
(14) the Administration’s budget requests should continue to comply with section 1008, Public Law 109–364, the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007, and that to the extent practicable overseas military operations should no longer be funded through emergency supplemental appropriations; and
(15) when assessing security threats and reviewing the programs and funding needed to counter these threats, the Administration should do so in a comprehensive manner that includes all agencies involved in our national security.

The House budgeteers also added the $50 billion-per-year "placeholder estimates" requested by the Obama administration, "marking the first time the budget includes both a full-year estimate for overseas operations for the budget year and estimates for future costs, thus providing a more realistic look at the likely costs and their effect on the deficit," according to a committee statement.

The Senate Budget Committee released a statement on its version, with the following defense-related language:

The Chairman’s Mark matches President Obama’s core defense budget and the President’s request for additional war costs. Unlike Bush administration budgets, which repeatedly left out or understated likely war costs, President Obama’s budget includes a far more honest accounting of the likely costs of overseas contingency operations including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Chairman’s Mark follows this approach, which will enhance oversight of war funds and save vital defense resources.

-- John Liang
 

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