Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–June 4, 2013. Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, has been successful in advocating for several key legislative provisions to be included in the bipartisan FY14 National Defense Authorization Act. Working with Republicans and Democrats on the Committee alike, Congresswoman Duckworth crafted many proposals that would maintain a strong defense while stretching the taxpayer dollar.
Increased oversight of troubled acquisition programs and reducing cost of tried and true programs: Given the massive cost overruns of programs such as the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), Congresswoman Duckworth advocated for stronger oversight of those wasting taxpayer dollars and mechanisms that would root out unnecessary spending. Duckworth’s proposals include:
- Requiring an independent assessment of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s (JSF) software programs as well as a lifecycle assessment plan
- Limiting funding for the next stage of the Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle development until the Secretary of the Army meets certain requirements
Congresswoman Duckworth was concerned about the possible acquisition malpractice that might occur if the contract for the Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle was awarded to one contractor, rather than letting two compete. This fencing of funding requires the Secretary of the Army to respond to criticisms that we may be spending up to $28 billion (a conservative estimate that assumes all goes according to plan) on a major weapons system that is uncertain to have utility in future conflicts.
- Multiyear Procurement of the Tactical Wheeled Vehicles
By awarding a multiyear contract, Congresswoman Duckworth’s proposal optimizes a long-term workforce and adds jobs at production facilities, while providing cost savings of 5-10% to the Department of Defense for a key vehicle that has demonstrated its adaptability to various harsh operating environments and emerging threats.
Provisions to protect victims of military sexual trauma and ensure perpetrators are brought to justice: Congresswoman Duckworth was supportive of her colleagues’ provisions to provide victims of military sexual trauma with the same protections as other military whistleblowers, and also legislation that limits the convening authority of a commander to overturn court-martial conviction reached in a sexual assault case.
Supporting the National Guard: Given the life cycle cost of one National Guardsmen is less than one third of his Active Duty counterpart, and Guardsmen train and perform to the same standards without incurring expenses such as housing, schooling and healthcare, Congresswoman Duckworth advocated for the National Guard to continue as an operational force that performs many active duty missions at a fraction of the cost of active duty forces. Duckworth’s proposals include:
- 1) Preserving the capabilities of the National Guard as an operational force by mandating an end strength that is no less than 350,000 for the Army National Guard and 105,000 for Air National Guard
- 2) Maintaining FY13 maximum levels of reserve forces personnel authorized to be on active duty for operational support
- 3) To require the Department of the Army and the Department of the Air Force to plan for, fund and field equipment into the Air and Army National Guard proportionally and concurrently as the Air Force and Army field themselves with new equipment and weapon systems
The National Guard faces mounting challenges regarding how to replace worn out equipment, legacy equipment that is becoming obsolete or irrelevant, and equipment that is aging through normal wear and tear. Inadequate funding levels, rising costs, lack of replacement parts for older equipment, and other factors have made it difficult for the National Guard to adequately maintain their aging equipment, not to mention modernizing and recapitalizing to support a viable legacy force. Congresswoman Duckworth’s included provision would direct the Department of Defense to provide the Army and Air National Guard with modernized equipment when their parent components, the Army and Air Force, receive equipment.