May 23, 2014

Manchin Includes 10 Provisions to Annual Senate Armed Services Committee Mark-Up of the National Defense Authorization Act

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today announced that he included ten provisions to the committee’s markup of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015. On Thursday, the committee voted 25-1 to report the bill, which authorizes $514 billion funding for the Department of Defense and the national security programs of the Department of Energy.

Senator Manchin’s provisions focus on helping transitioning service members find job opportunities, supporting the National Guard and Reserves, improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the Department of Defense, protecting our troops overseas, and promoting research and investing in innovative technology by working with the defense industry.

“At a time when the Defense Department faces budget constraints because of our country’s dire fiscal challenges, we must make sure that we maintain a strong defense while also reducing unnecessary costs. I am proud to have worked on this bipartisan defense package and included ten provisions that will help our veterans find jobs, protect our troops and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our defense industry.”

The Senate Armed Services Committee’s annual National Defense Authorization bill approves funding for the nation’s defense spending, military priorities and defense policies that guide our military leaders for the upcoming fiscal year.

Below is the full list of Senator Manchin’s provisions that passed through the Senate Armed Services Committee annual defense spending mark-up.

Supporting Transitioning Service Members

Streamlines online jobs databases for transitioning service members. This provision requires the Department of Defense to develop a plan to consolidate and streamline its various online tools and services offered to retiring or transitioning service members. The Department of Defense currently manages multiple internet-based job search programs for transitioning personnel. However, its programs are overlapping, duplicative, and not well understood by service members. This provision seeks to improve the toolset available for transitioning troops as they move into the civilian workforce.  

Supporting the Guard and Reserve

Enables active duty units to train at Guard and Reserve facilities. This provision directs the Department of Defense to review active duty units’ current abilities to conduct training at Reserve Component facilities or installations. For active duty units not assigned to a Combat Training Center rotation, there is opportunity for inexpensive and effective training at dozens of Guard and Reserve training facilities across the country. This provision saves money while improving the readiness of the Active, Guard, and Reserve.

Requires a commission to review the structure of the Army. This provision, in which Senator Manchin cosponsored with Senators Graham, Wicker, and Cruz, establishes a commission to review the structure of the Army, including the National Guard and Army Reserve. The amendment includes a partial freeze on the transfer of certain National Guard operated helicopters, pending the report of the commission.

Improving How the Department of Defense Does Business

Improves the management of the Department of Defense’s ammunition inventory to save taxpayer dollars. This provision requires the Secretary of Defense to implement procedures that will better manage the DoD’s ammunition stockpile. The department is buying and prematurely demilitarizing too much ammunition at great waste to the American taxpayers. 

Requires initial cost estimates for weapons to include the cost of mitigating corrosion. Weapons systems operational costs increase over time because future expenses, like future corrosion, are not considered at the outset of a program. This provision will improve DoD cost estimates.

Aligns the tenure of Department of Defense program managers with the major milestones of their programs. This provision will help hold managers accountable for their successes or failures, and will keep them from rotating in and out, or departing, every two years before overseeing their major acquisition milestones.

Imparts greater authority in the position of Department of Defense weapons program manager. This provision seeks to impart DoD program managers with levels of control and authority comparable to their private sector program manager peers. 

Working to Protect our Troops

Extends DoD authorization with Pakistan officials to prevent IED materials from crossing the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. This provision authorizes the Department of Defense a 1-year extension to work with Pakistan to prevent home-made improvised explosive device (IED) materials from crossing the border into Afghanistan. The vast majority of roadside bombs targeting Americans in Afghanistan are made with materials from Pakistan. The provision has no additional budget cost, and will not prolong U.S. involvement in Afghanistan. 

Retains distribution of information on how to defeat IEDs. This provision requires the Department of Defense to retain the eight years of accumulated knowledge on how to obstruct improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Promoting Research and Working with Industry

Promote the transfer of technology from defense laboratories to commercial entities for further development or commercialization. This provision improves pathways for lab-bench research to become operational products. The West Virginia Regional Technology Park (WVRTP) in South Charleston serves as a model of these collaborative efforts.