HASC Approves Defense Authorization

After an 18-hour session on Wednesday, the House Armed Services Committee approved the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act by a vote of 60 to 2. HASC Chair Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said the NDAA prioritizes investments, and takes the first step in a process of “substantial reform” at the Department of Defense. These reforms will enhance the US military’s “efficiency and begin restoring its agility,” Thornberry said, adding he looks forward to bringing the legislation to the floor in the next several weeks. In addition to cutbacks in USAF developmental programs for both the KC-46A tanker and the Long-Range Strike Bomber, Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) succeeded in adding an amendment that prohibits USAF from retiring any A-10 Warthogs from its force structure, but also prevents the Air Force from placing any of the close air support jets into backup status, as Congress had allowed in the 2015 language. In his markup, Thornberry called the decision to retire the A-10 “misguided” and moved to preserve operations and maintenance funding for the fleet, as well as funding for modifications and upgrades.