HASC Chairman’s Mark Hits Development Programs

Though the markup session is due to kick off Wednesday, the “chairman’s mark” of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act was released Monday with cuts to two of USAF’s top three procurement priorities. The mark authorizes $515 billion in spending (with an additional $89.2 billion in overseas contingency operations expenditures), according to the summary of HASC Chair Rep. Mac Thornberry’s (R-Texas) marked up legislation. Instead, the spending proposal “reallocates resources to more urgent priorities,” adds the summary. First, the KC-46A tanker program loses $224 million in development and procurement funds in the 2016 chairman’s mark. The cut comes after USAF officials revealed delays in the developmental program are impacting schedule. The cut, which brings the program’s 2016 funds down to $402 million, is the “full amount … the Air Force can execute” in Fiscal 2016, according to the mark. In addition, the HASC chairman’s mark targets the Long-Range Strike Bomber, cutting some $460 million in developmental funds compared to USAF’s request. While touting the LRS-B as a “key element” of the military’s long-range strike investments, Thornberry says the cut to $786 million provides the “full amount for the program that the Air Force can execute in [Fiscal 2016] given contract award delays,” according to the mark’s summary. Thornberry has also directed the Government Accountability Office to complete an “assessment of technology challenges” and “cost implications” associated with the program. (Chairman’s summary.) (NDAA page.)