Posted: May 5, 2014 4:40 PM
Proposed NDAA Calls for Carrier Refueling, 12th LPD, Five Growlers
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
ARLINGTON, Va. — The House Armed Services Committee chairman’s version of the mark-up of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2015 would provide funding for the refueling and complex overhaul of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington to enable the ship to serve another 25 years. The mark-up also would provide incremental funding for a 12th San Antonio-class amphibious platform dock ship and funding for five EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft.
The proposal by Chairman Howard P. "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif., authorizes $521.3 billion for the Defense Department, plus $79.4 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations.
McKeon said the proposal “is consistent with the president’s budget and the bi-partisan budget agreements reached last year,” according to a summary of the mark-up released by the committee. He noted, however, “that it is $45 billion less than in the president’s projected FY14 budget request and $30.7 billion less than the enacted FY14 NDAA,” the summary said.
The chairman added funding for naval programs such as the Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy ($796.2 million); the 12th San Antonio-class amphibious platform dock ship ($800 million); refueling and complex overhaul of George Washington ($483.6 million); five EA-18Gs ($450 million); an additional 96 Tomahawk missiles ($82 million); oceanographic research ships ($20 million); and sensor development for the MQ-4C Triton unmanned aerial system ($32.4 million).
To help achieve those plus-ups, McKeon proposed that some naval programs be reduced in funding: One Littoral Combat Ship (by $350 million); the Zumwalt-class destroyer ($54 million); a moored training ship ($220 million); standard boats ($49 million); the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Aerial System ($203 million); and the Joint Precision-Approach Landing System ($27 million).
The Navy had an unfunded requirement for 22 EA-18Gs, but McKeon said funding could be provided only for five.
The bill also would require the Navy to report to the Congress by March 1 the potential costs, savings and benefits of the Navy’s plan to lay up 11 Ticonderoga-class cruisers and three amphibious warfare ships.
The mark-up requests that the Navy brief Congress on the proposed transfer from the Military Sealift Command to the U.S. Southern Command of the Pathfinder-class oceanographic survey ship USNS Sumner “to support near-term maritime requirements for U.S. Southern Command.” The bill would block any funds to modify and operate the ship for the time being.
The mark-up also proposes redesignating the Department of the Navy to the Department of the Navy and Marine Corps. It also requests the secretary of Defense to develop a plan to consolidate the “back office” functions, such as administrative and support functions, of two or more combatant command headquarters, in order to achieve cost reductions and efficiencies. It also seeks to preserve the independence of the Office of Net assessment within the Department of Defense.
Out of concern that the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) has “strayed from the intent of Congress,” the mark-up directs that a new QDR that looks out 20 years be submitted by Oct. 1.
The full House Armed Services Committee will meet on May 7 to mark up the NDAA.