The undersigned organizations may not agree on many things, but we all agree on this: The United States must curb wasteful and ineffective spending at the Pentagon. Doing so will save billions of valuable tax dollars as well as help to make America safer with the hard decisions our national security requires.
As you prepare to consider H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016, we hope you will keep in mind ways to eliminate wasteful and unnecessary spending, implement smart reforms that enhance national security, reduce obsolete and antiquated weapons systems and policies, and increase oversight of precious tax dollars. While some are recklessly calling for massive increases in funding at the Pentagon, we urge you first to look at sensible reforms that could save tens of billions of dollars per year from the bloated Pentagon budget.
In addition to the specific provisions below, we strongly object to the use of the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) Account to subvert spending caps in current law. OCO has become a massive slush fund, and this year’s NDAA doubles down with an unprecedented increase of $38 billion beyond the military’s request. We may disagree on the topline funding needed at the Pentagon, but we can all agree that using such a massive budget gimmick is irresponsible.
As you consider this year’s NDAA we urge you to support a handful of amendments that have broad, bipartisan support. We urge you to use this opportunity to set a stronger, better, and more sustainable path for our national security.
We urge you to vote YES on the following sensible amendments:
Amendment 2 (Filed as #201) – Polis (CO): Reduces from 11 to 10 the statutory minimum requirement for the number of operational carriers that the U.S. Navy must have.
Amendment 32 (Filed as #246) – Blumenauer (OR), Polis (CO): Requires funding for the Navy’s new Ohio-class replacement submarines to come from their traditional Navy accounts, not an OCO-like, off-budget account known as the Sea-Based Deterrent Fund. Transfers funds from the Sea-Based Deterrent Fund back into their historic Navy budget lines.
Amendment 33 (Filed as #271) – Mulvaney (SC), Van Hollen (MD): Instructs the Comptroller General of the United States to submit to Congress a report on how funds authorized for overseas contingency operations were ultimately used.
Amendment 83 (Filed as #8) – Burgess (TX), Schakowsky (IL), Lee, Barbara (CA): Requires a report ranking all military departments and Defense Agencies in order of how advanced they are in achieving auditable financial statements as required by law.
Amendment 96 (Filed as #298) – Walberg (MI): Requires SIGAR to certify they have access to records of the Afghanistan government for the purpose of auditing as a condition for disbursement of funds to Afghanistan.
Amendment 120 (Filed as #289) – Quigley (IL), Blumenauer (OR), Polis (CO): Requires the Department of Defense to submit a report to Congress justifying the departments plans to increase the number of new nuclear-armed cruise missiles, known as the Long Range Standoff Weapon, to the U.S. arsenal, which should outline how the number of planned missiles aligns with U.S. nuclear employment strategy and the costs associated.
Amendment 122 (Filed as #129) – Foster (IL): Requires the Director of the Missile Defense Agency to submit to Congress a cost analysis of a space-based ballistic intercept and defeat layer.
Amendment 124 (Filed as #288) – Quigley (IL): Requires the Department of Defense to submit a report to Congress comparing the costs associated with extending the life of the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile with the costs associated with procuring a new ground based strategic deterrent.
Additionally, we urge you to vote No on the following amendments:
Amendment 35 (Filed as #210) – Lummis (WY), Zinke (MT), Cramer, Kevin (ND), Smith, Adrian (NE): Prohibits reducing the alert posture of the ICBM force.
Amendment 115 (Filed as #140) – Engel (NY): Requires a report to Congress on the impact of any significant reduction in U.S. troop levels or material in Europe on NATO’s core mission of collective defense before any such reduction takes place.
As you vote on the defense authorization bill, we thank you for considering our broad consensus for finding sensible savings to make our nation more secure.
American Friends Service Committee
Center for Foreign and Defense Policy
Coalition to Reduce Spending
Council for a Livable World
Friends Committee on National Legislation
The London Center
National Priorities Project
National Taxpayers Union
NETWORK- A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
Project On Government Oversight
R Street Institute
Republican Liberty Caucus
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas – Institute
Taxpayers Protection Alliance
Win Without War
Women’s Action for New Directions