2017 NDAA Includes Pay Raises, Higher End Strength

The final version of the Fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act provides the Pentagon with more manpower and pay for service members over its own request, and keeps the Obama Administration’s acquisition at pace. The compromise bill, released Wednesday, authorizes a base of $618.9 billion and $59.5 billion for overseas contingency operations. Included in the contingency funds to avoid budget caps is a 2.1 percent pay increase, rather than the 1.6 percent raise requested by DOD, and an Air Force end strength of 321,000, up from the department’s request of 317,000. While Pentagon officials have repeatedly called on Congress to not use OCO as a “budget gimmick” to fund readiness, lawmakers said in a summary of the report that a decline in end strength has caused a reduction in readiness that must be remedied. The OCO funding also increases flying hours for training and seeks to restock depleted munitions stockpiles. The bill does not increase investment in programs such as the F-35, with the compromise not including House language for 11 more Joint Strike Fighters. The NDAA also calls on the Pentagon to overhaul its acquisition staff, doing away with the undersecretary for acquisition and creating a new undersecretary for research and engineering. Votes on the bill are expected Friday.