U.S. House Armed Services Committee
In the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. House Armed Services Committee (HASC) has legislative jurisdiction over the military of the United States. Specifically, under the House Rules, it has authority over:
- Ammunition depots; forts; arsenals; Army, Navy, and Air Force reservations and establishments.
- Common defense generally.
- Conservation, development, and use of naval petroleum and oil shale reserves.
- The Department of Defense generally, including the Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force generally.
- Interoceanic canals generally, including measures relating to the maintenance, operation, and administration of interoceanic canals.
- Merchant Marine Academy, and State Merchant Marine Academies.
- Military applications of nuclear energy.
- Tactical intelligence and (national-level) intelligence related activities of the Department of Defense.
- National security aspects of merchant marine, including financial assistance for the construction and operation of vessels, the maintenance of the U.S. shipbuilding and ship repair industrial base, sabotage, cargo preference, and merchant marine officers and seamen as these matters relate to national security.
- Pay, promotion, retirement, and other benefits and privileges of members of the armed services.
- Scientific research and development in support of the armed services.
- Selective service.
- Size and composition of the United States Army, United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, and United States Air Force
- Soldiers' and sailors' homes.
- Strategic and critical materials necessary for the common defense.
In exercising these responsibilities, its primary focus is the U.S. Department of Defense, but it also will deal with military-related activities of the U.S. Department of Energy and other parts of the Executive Branch.
In the current politicomilitary environment, these responsibilities are stated as initiatives. Oversight hearings start with the Secretary of Defense, the ]]Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff]], the individual service secretaries and chiefs of staff, combatant commanders, other officials of the Department of Defense and the military departments, officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency and other defense-related intelligence agencies, and the Secretary of Energy, the Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and other officials of the Department of Energy. Information will also come from outside experts, service members, and their families.
During the 110th Congress, the committee reestablished the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. The subcommittee’s work will include not only its own separate subcommittee hearings and reports, but also will support the hearings and oversight responsibilities of the other subcommittees and the full committee in their authorization and legislative responsibilities. In general, the committee will continue to maintain a strong linkage between formal oversight efforts and legislative initiatives. In addition to the above, the following specific areas and subjects are identified for special attention during the 111th Congress.
National Strategy and Related Defense Policy Issues
When considering the overall posture of the Department, the committee will continue to monitor the implementation of the recommendations delineated in the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) and engage the Department as it embarks upon the next QDR, the report of which is due in 2010. This will include: the adequacy of active and Reserve Component force structure, and especially the continuing evolution of the National Guard (U.S.) into a modern, operation-oriented reserve force with an enhanced role in homeland defense; an examination of the technological, doctrinal, and other factors affecting the long-term transformation of the conduct of military operations; a review of the roles and responsibilities of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and of the combatant commands, including the newly created U.S. Africa Command; the evolving mission of other recently established or modified commands; an examination of the roles and missions of the armed services and their implications for modernization requirements and the development of major weapons systems; the emergence of modern piracy as a security challenge that threatens global commerce; the impact of climate change; and other relevant areas.
The war in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has evolved since 2001 and generated increased focus from the committee in the last two years due to the strategic importance of the region and the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan. The committee will commensurately extend its related oversight activities in the 111th Congress on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization International Security Assistance Force (NATO-ISAF) and Operation Enduring Freedom missions, especially given likely increases in U.S. military presence, diplomatic efforts, and economic development assistance.
Most critically, the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan remains a major front for combating al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and other terrorist organizations that threaten the U.S. homeland and the stability of strategic partners in the region. The committee will closely assess potential increases in U.S. force levels and combat enablers, such as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms.
The committee will also provide oversight to other critical efforts in Afghanistan such as the development and sustainment of effective Afghan National Security Forces, and the safety and security of U.S. and allied forces.
With regard to the Department’s counter-drug activities in Afghanistan, the committee will continue to monitor closely: the role that the production and trafficking of opium and other illicit narcotics is playing in supporting insurgents and terrorists; the type, scope and level of indirect participation by United States Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) in support of counter-drug efforts by other military forces and law enforcement agencies; the nascent expansion of direct participation by USFOR-A and other NATO-ISAF forces in the eradication and interdiction of narcotics trafficking; and the efforts to train and equip Afghan Security Forces counter-drug tactics of the Afghan national and provincial governments; and the Department’s coordination with other U.S. departments and agencies which work on counter-drug planning and operations in Afghanistan.
The committee will continue its strong record of oversight of the war in tIraq. While violence has decreased in Iraq over the past two years, the United States currently maintains approximately 140,000 troops in Iraq. The Bush Administration signed a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) in November 2008 to provide a legal basis for ongoing operations and the redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq.
The SOFA may fundamentally change how U.S. forces operate in Iraq. The agreement states that operations in Iraq may only be conducted with the agreement of representatives of the Government of Iraq, mandates that U.S. combat forces be withdrawn from urban areas in Iraq by the end of June 2009, and states that all U.S. forces should be out of Iraq by the end of 2011. In addition, the agreement exposes U.S. contractors to prosecution in Iraqi courts. Furthermore, pursuant to future negotiations, the agreement potentially exposes any U.S. citizen, including members of the armed forces and Department of Defense civilians to prosecution for certain heinous crimes in Iraqi courts. The committee will closely monitor the implementation of this agreement, and its impact on U.S. forces in Iraq, particularly as planning progresses for the redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq.
The committee will continue to examine those factors critical to successfully transitioning security responsibilities to the Government of Iraq. Most important of these is the ongoing development of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). The committee will monitor how embedded U.S. training teams are used, the equipment that is provided to the ISF, and the development of institutions that support these forces. In addition, the committee will monitor how other irregular security forces, such as the “Sons of Iraq,” are demobilized or integrated into the ISF.
The committee will continue to monitor reconstruction funding. The laws governing the uses of, or approvals for, some types of funds have recently been amended. The committee will examine how these amendments are implemented to ensure that funds are used properly in the reconstruction of Iraq. Finally, the committee will continue to examine the costs of the war in Iraq, particularly as an essential element in forecasting short- and long-term funding requirements for the Department of Defense.
Global Counter-Terrorism Activities
The Department of Defense (DOD) continues to conduct military operations against terrorist groups in a number of countries around the world. The committee will focus attention on how the Department addresses the threat of terrorism in its strategic planning processes, and how Department and the military services are prioritizing these efforts and if they are devoting the appropriate resources to match the requirement. In addition, the committee recognizes that global counterterrorism efforts will be a long-term campaign.
The full committee, and especially the Intelligence, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, continues their oversight of the full range of unconventional threats to national security and U.S. military forces and the capabilities needed to respond. Particular attention will be given to, but not limited to: the role and involvement of United States Special Operations Command, especially: *recruiting and retention programs within the special operations community to determine challenges that confront field commanders
- irregular warfare initiatives; progress in establishing a national collaborative environment for intelligence information
- the conduct of information operations, including strategic communications
- counter-radicalization and countering extremist ideology
- terrorism-related organizational matters; modernization requirements and processes
- unique force protection challenges, including the design of installations and facilities to address threats posed by terrorism utilizing either conventional weapons or weapons of mass destruction.
Pakistan is a nuclear-armed state with a significant role in regional security and is a critical focus for combating terrorist organizations. In particular, the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region has been identified as a base for terrorists and their supporters, who are operating in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and pose a threat to U.S. and other ISAF forces. Compounding this problem, Pakistan faces significant challenges regarding its internal political and economic stability and has been ravaged by terrorist attacks. Pakistan’s volatile relationship with India, particularly over Kashmir, also remains an area of significant concern. The will review the use of Coalition Support Funds provided to reimburse Pakistan for its support to U.S. military operations. The committee will also focus on Department of Defense assistance provided to train and equip Pakistani Security Forces to combat terrorism in the Federally Administered Tribal Areass and assistance provided to train and equip the Pakistan Army.
Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Threat Reduction
The committee will continue its oversight of the nonproliferation and threat-reduction programs within its jurisdiction. The committee will assess the threat posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the effectiveness of existing programs to respond to this threat, and areas where programs can be expanded and improved. In particular, the committee will carefully review progress achieved in response to the 9-11 Commission’s recommendations regarding the prevention of WMD proliferation and terrorism. The committee will also carefully review programs in light of the recommendations of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism. The committee will look at the Department of Energy’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative, the Department of Defense’s Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, the Proliferation Security Initiative, and other nonproliferation and threat-reduction efforts.
Additionally, the committee will examine how DOD and DOE programs could be strengthened to respond to emerging threats from weapons of mass destruction throughout the world, including threats from Iran and North Korea, as well as better controlling critical technologies and physically securing dangerous materials in the Russian Federation and other countries. The committee will pay close attention to new areas across the globe where nonproliferation efforts may advance U.S. security interests and examine how existing authorities that allow the use of threat-reduction-program funding in areas beyond the former Soviet Union can be helpful. The committee will review efforts to identify and establish new nonproliferation programs, and the impact and effectiveness of international regimes, cooperative arrangements, and national policies in addressing the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction. Particular focus will be given to the roles of the numerous DOD offices responsible for supporting this mission, including the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and combatant commands, and to coordination with interagency partners. The committee will also continue to review closely the Chemical and Biological Defense Program.
Organization and Management of the Department of Defense
The committee will review the organization and management of the Department of Defense to ensure that it is properly postured to meet the complex and evolving security threats of the 21st century. The committee anticipates that the organization of the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the military departments will be modified, perhaps substantially so, as a new Administration assumes management of the Department. The committee also notes that the Quadrennial Roles and Missions Review may result in significant realignment of missions within the Department. The committee will carefully review any proposed organizational changes and work to ensure that the missions of the Department are appropriately aligned with organizations that have the core competency to perform them.
For both oversight and appropriations, the committee works with the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on tactical intelligence matters and national-level intelligence-related activities of the Department of Defense, and intelligence and counterintelligence activities of the U.S. Department of Energy. In addition, the committee tracks the reorganization of the Intelligence Community, through implementation of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-458) and the creation of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and the Director of National Intelligence.
Detainee Policy, Military Commissions, and Related Matters
As of the start of the 111th Congress, the Department of Defense is expected to be the custodian of thousands of detainees who are being held in the Republic of Iraq, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The overwhelming majority of these detainees are being held in Iraq, with much fewer in the latter two locations. In Iraq, the Department’s detainee operations will be largely governed by the SOFA, which does not address many implementation details. The committee will closely monitor how the Department, in collaboration with other departments and agencies, resolves these outstanding questions, including: *identifying Iraqi legal authority to detain individuals in Iraq for the purpose of maintaining security rather than as part of investigating and prosecuting crimes
- determining which persons within the Iraqi government have the authority to request the release of particular individuals from U.S. military detention
- developing options for the medium- to long-term future of a limited number of detainees who pose the highest national security threats to Iraq or the United States.
With regard to detainee operations in Afghanistan, the committee primarily will focus on: the future of preventive detention for security purposes in the country; the consequences, if any, of the NATO-ISAF Commander assuming command of all United States Forces-Afghanistan on the processing of detainees captured in Afghanistan; and the construction of the new detention facility in Bagram, which is due to be completed in 2009, and the transfer of detainees into this new facility.
The committeee will: work closely with the Department of Defense regarding the future of operations at Guantanamo Bay detention camp (GTMO); establish goals for the future of GTMO and accomplish them; consider possible changes to the Military Commission Act of 2006 that established the current legal framework governing the operation of military tribunals to try detainees for war crimes and codified some of the procedural rights of GTMO detainees; and take other necessary actions and conduct related oversight.
Building Partnership Capacity and Other Foreign Assistance-Like Authorities
“Building Partnership Capacity” (BPC) is the phrase used to describe authorities designed to strengthen the security forces of nations critical to the national security of the United States. They reflect a general assumption that current authorities and processes governing foreign military assistance, specifically the Arms Export Control Act (AECA), and to a somewhat lesser extent, the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (FAA), are too inflexible to meet current security requirements or that the national security-related capabilities of civilian agencies, most notably the State Department, must be strengthened,
The committee will also focus attention on Foreign Military Sales (FMS), as the FMS system has become increasingly important in efforts to build security forces in the Republic of Iraq and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. While primary oversight jurisdiction lies with the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, foreign military sales are an increasing component of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The committee will continue to monitor whether the Department’s FMS process is appropriately tailored to enable the security assistance programs demanded by current and likely future operations.
The committee intends to monitor carefully implementation of the Department of Defense’s plans to improve the management and security of U.S. nuclear weapons. It takes note of two incidents, in 2006 and 2007, which point to the need for fundamental changes in Air Force stewardship of nuclear weapons.
Department of Defense’s Counter-Narcotics Activities
The committee will continue to monitor Department of Defense (DOD) activities which are related to the interdiction of illicit narcotics, particularly in and from major drug-producing and drug-transit countries. In fiscal year 2009, the Department received over $1.0 billion in counter-drug funding. This funding reflects the Department’s role as the lead federal agency in the detection and monitoring of the aerial and maritime transit of illegal narcotics into the United States. In addition to contributing to curtailing narcotics trafficking into our country and our allies, DOD counter-narcotics efforts complement the Department’s counter-terrorism campaign. A number of Foreign Terrorist Organizations, such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), rely on the financial and materiel networks of narcotics traffickers to amplify their capacities.
Specifically, the committee’s oversight will include: a review of tactical intelligence gathering and its use for counter-drug purposes; an assessment of the Department’s plans to participate indirectly in Plan Merida; a review of DOD counter-drug efforts in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan ; a review of the Department’s capabilities to gather intelligence on the trafficking of illicit narcotics, including cocaine, methamphetamine, and opium, transiting through Mexico, Central America, the Andean region, the Caribbean Basin, and the Pacific Ocean into the United States; a review of DOD counter-narcotics funding used for developing partner nations narco-terrorism capabilities, to include a comparison to the allocation of 1206 train and equip funds; and a review of the DOD training of foreign law enforcement and other security forces for the purpose of combating the trafficking of illicit narcotics and terrorism.
The Interagency Process and Reform
National security issues continue to increase in complexity and increasingly are transnational in character. The United States must use all means of national power to address national security concerns. The Department is an active participant in the interagency process, and there is a growing recognition of the extent to which military problems, especially those involving homeland defense, stabilization and reconstruction activities, intelligence, and counter-insurgency operations call upon the resources and expertise of multiple federal departments and agencies, state and local governments, and international partners. The committee will work to identify ways in which the Department can be better postured to plan for, ask for, and receive necessary support from other agencies, and how the Department can be better postured to support other agencies in helping to achieve those agencies missions to ensure all departments and agencies are effectively coordinated towards achieving national objectives.
The Unified Combatant Commands, particularly United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) and United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), have been at the forefront of reorganizing to integrate interagency partners better and address country-confined and transnational threats from a whole-of-government perspective.
National Guard and Reserves
The extended commitment of the National Guard and Reserve Components to meet wartime requirements of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom has highlighted longstanding pre-September 11, 2001 wartime-related equipping, manning, resourcing, and policy issues. The Commission on National Guard and Reserves (CNGR), established by Congress, completed its review of these components and has presented numerous recommendations. The committee will continue its review of the CGNR recommendations that are being further evaluated by the Department of Defense for implementation. In addition, the committee will continue its oversight responsibilities to ensure that the Reserve Components have the programs and policies that are necessary to support their recruitment, retention, and transition back to their civilian communities, including implementation of the Beyond Yellow Ribbon program which was authorized by Congress. In addition, the committee will continue to consider National Guard and Reserve Component equipment readiness as an urgent and top priority.
The committee will continue to focus on intra- and inter-Departmental efforts involving federal support to domestic civil authorities. In the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, the military returned to an area of competency that had not received much attention in the last century, homeland defense. The creation of United States Northern Command in 2002, as well as the establishment of an Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense (ASD-HD) to oversee Department of Defense activities related to homeland defense placed renewed emphasis on domestic response versus expeditionary capabilities. The committee will continue to focus on the evolving missions and capabilities of these organizations, as well as their coordination with and integration into the response planning and exercises of the Department of Homeland Security.
The Acquisition System and Acquisition Policy
The committee will continue to provide oversight of the defense acquisition system and address growing concerns about cost growth in major defense acquisition programs and the responsiveness of the system to compelling military needs. The committee will seek to ensure that members of the acquisition community have the tools and authorities necessary to limit requirements creep and to terminate or restructure under-performing programs.
The committee will continue to push for accountability and integrity in contracting by closely monitoring the efforts of the Department of Defense and the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics to implement recently enacted acquisition reforms. The committee will continue to work with the Department’s Panel on Contracting Integrity to eliminate contracting vulnerabilities. The committee will continue to monitor the implementation of the recommendations of the Commission on Army Acquisition and Program Management in Expeditionary Operations and will carefully review the findings of the Commission on Wartime Contracting when they are delivered to Congress. The committee will review the progress of the Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of State, and the United States Agency for International Development in implementing the memorandum of understanding between those agencies on oversight of contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
During the 110th Congress, the committee enacted several initiatives to address a range of issues involving the proper role of contractors supporting the mission of the Department of Defense, including the extent to which contractors may be performing inherently governmental functions. The committee will review implementation of these initiatives, including the establishment of a service contracting inventory and the development of a policy to convert, where appropriate, work currently being performed by contractors to performance by civilian employees. In addition, the committee will continue its examination of the increasing reliance by the Department on private sector contractors accompanying the armed forces in both combat and contingency operations. No formal planning has been undertaken to determine the level of contractor support necessary to support such operations nor are contractor employees included in any readiness assessment reports. This hinders Congress and the Department in understanding the true readiness of all forces available. The committee’s oversight will assess the need for a formal requirements process for contract support, as well as efforts to better understand the effects contractors have on overall unit and force readiness
Defense Industrial Base and Technology Transfers
The committee will give close examination to the health of the defense industrial base, which has shrunk dramatically in the last decade, limiting the ability of the Department to control costs and encourage innovation through the use of competition. Industry has also struggled in many cases to make the long-term investments that are vital to the health of the defense industrial base, notably so in the shipbuilding industry.
The committee will continue to examine the U.S. export control regime and its effectiveness in preventing the transfer of sensitive military-related technologies to potential adversaries. The consolidation of the defense industry and its increasingly global nature will increasingly challenge the capabilities of current systems for industrial security. The committee will continue to monitor the Department’s plans and statutory authorities for industrial security to ensure their adequacy.
The Inspector General of the Department of Defense (DOD) stated in the Department of Defense Agency Financial Report 2007 that the Department’s financial management problems are the single largest and most challenging impediment to the ability of the federal government to obtain a clean audit opinion on its consolidated financial statements. The Comptroller General of the United States has also consistently identified the Department’s financial management as a high risk area since 1995. The committee will continue to review the Department’s efforts to correct the weaknesses in its financial statements and monitor closely the hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on business systems modernization programs that the Department has proposed to address its financial management problems.
The committee will also continue to ensure that programs to modernize the business systems of the Department are coordinated across all of the military services and defense agencies, and overseen by the Department’s newly created Chief Management Officer, in accordance with a sound strategic plan, and that the Department observes strict compliance with all laws relating to the use and purpose of appropriated funds.
Rapid Acquisition Authority and Joint Urgent Operational Needs Process
The conflicts in the Republic of Iraq and Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and particularly the evolution of the improvised explosive device (IED) as a highly effective weapon of strategic influence, have illustrated the ability of an adaptive enemy to work to advantage inside a normal defense acquisition cycle. The committee will continue its oversight of the joint urgent operational needs (JUONS) process and continue to urge the Secretary of Defense to leverage previous efforts of the committee to take advantage of the rapid acquisition authority provided to the Department of Defense.
Ground Force Readiness
Readiness problems appear to be most severe in the ground forces, particularly the Army. The committee will continue rigorous oversight of readiness focusing on U.S. Army and U.S Marine Corps reset and training efforts. Department of Defense readiness reports indicate that every non-deployed Army and Army National Guard combat brigade would face significant challenges completing their assigned full-spectrum combat missions if they were called upon to fight. These shortfalls are due to the challenges of increased operational tempo which have reduced equipment and personnel availability and the reduction in training opportunities. Added to this is the fact that the Marine Corps and the Army are focusing heavily on counterinsurgency operations in their training, resulting in an overall reduction of full mission capability. Restoration of this lost capability must be a focus for the Army and Marines to ensure that the ground forces are ready for any emergent contingency. The committee intends to follow closely the Department of Defense’s and services' efforts to remedy these shortfalls and restore full spectrum combat capability.
The committee will engage in rigorous oversight of measures taken by the Department of the Navy to ensure its ships, sailors, Marines, and naval aviators are fully and properly trained and equipped to support sustained combat operations. The committee is concerned that the material readiness of U.S. Navy surface combatants is suffering from the high operational tempo created by current operations. Ships in the past year failed inspection and survey because of poor material condition, and two first-line surface combatants were declared unfit for sustained combat operations. Additionally, failures in the training process were cited in official Navy reports as contributing factors to major maintenance and emergency incidents during the past year, including an extensive fire aboard an aircraft carrier. The committee will examine the Navy's training programs, with specific emphasis on training for surface combatant crews and an assessment of the efficacy of heavy reliance on computer based training as a cost-savings measure.
The committee also will examine ship repair concepts, such as the use of multi-ship, multi-option contracts and their impact on surface combatant availability. In addition, the committee will continue to examine the role of the Navy in augmenting contingency forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, where Navy participation increased by almost eight-fold in a three-year time span. The committee is concerned that the use of these naval forces outside their core Navy mission has resulted in declining readiness of critically skilled Navy personnel, particularly, civil engineer, intelligence, master at arms, medical, and information technician.
Air Force Readiness
The committee intends to increase oversight of the United States Air Force’s air assets. Operational tempo for the Air Force has remained high since the first Gulf War, placing continued strain on the Air Force’s aging aircraft fleet. Maintenance challenges have reduced overall mission capability rates below levels seen in prior years and are particularly troubling given that procurement programs for new aircraft will not fill capability gaps until the years beyond the current Future Years Defense Plan. The Air Force continues to struggle with maintaining the full mission capability of its aircraft and as a result, maintenance man hours required per flight hour continue to increase. This increase in required operational-level maintenance, compounded with personnel reductions made in previous years, drives maintenance and support personnel to work schedules that are likely unsustainable over time and increases overall risk. The Air Force's continuing support of individual augmentee and in-lieu-of force requirements further taxes units and stretches many personnel resources to near limits. The committee will continue to monitor the significant readiness challenges facing the Air Force.
The committee will continue to oversee the Department’s use and restoration of prepositioned combat equipment stocks. The nature of current combat operations has forced the Army and Marine Corps to draw from overseas prepositioned and afloat equipment stocks to meet operational needs. The lack of this equipment reduces the Department’s ability and flexibility to respond to emergent contingencies. Both the Army and Marine Corps have provided plans for the restoration of this forward-deployed equipment and the committee will closely follow their progress. The committee will also examine the Department of Defense’s plans for the future use of these stocks and their integration in operations plans.
The committee will continue its oversight of the services’ reset strategies to repair, recapitalize, and replace equipment used in ongoing operations. The committee also will continue monitoring progress toward complete reconstitution of prepositioned stocks. Additionally, the committee will examine whether the services’ reset strategies and resource allocation are properly focused on sustaining equipment availability for ongoing operational requirements or geared toward long-term modernization goals.
Depot and Arsenal Capability
A critical piece of equipment sustainment is the capability provided by the nation’s organic arsenals and depots, including air logistics centers and shipyards. The committee is concerned that the Department of Defense continues to lack a comprehensive strategy to ensure U.S. military depots and arsenals are viably positioned and have the workforce, equipment, and facilities for efficient operations to meet the nation's current requirements, as well as those in the future. Recognizing that the workload, and associated funding, for the organic industrial base will likely decline as operations in Iraq and the Afghanistan draw down, required the Department of Defense to contract for an independent, 22-month assessment of post-reset capability required to provide life-cycle sustainment of military systems and equipment.
Parallel to the study effort, the committee will continue oversight of depot and arsenal operations and management, focusing on capital investment in facilities and equipment, the implementation methodology and use of sustainment concepts such as performance-based logistics, the role of public-private partnerships, the use of working capital funds for timely product improvement, and the services’ logistics enterprise resource planning systems. Additionally, the committee will examine the statutory framework that underpins depot and arsenal capability including those programs and initiatives designed to assure availability of critical organic manufacturing capabilities.
The committee will examine how effectively the Department of Defense is developing and procuring weapons systems and equipment with consideration of life-cycle support and sustainment requirements and cost. In its oversight of the Department’s life-cycle sustainment efforts, the committee will examine the extent to which the acquisition community and the logistics community collaborate during system design and development. Materiel choices made during this critical phase that do not take into consideration future depot-level maintenance requirements can unnecessarily create sustainment problems that drive millions of dollars in depot-level maintenance once the system is fielded. Additionally, failure to apply proper consideration of the capabilities of the depots or shipyards where the systems will be supported may drive costly reconfiguration of depot-level facilities to adapt to support requirements. In this vein, the committee will continue its oversight of the Department of Defense Office of Corrosion Policy and Oversight and designation of corrosion executives for each of the services.
Energy and Environment
Energy Security and National Security Implications of Climate Change
An effective energy strategy for the Department of Defense will increase the operational effectiveness of the military and will enhance our national and energy security. Therefore, the committee will review the energy strategies promulgated by the Department of Defense and will monitor trends in the Department’s energy use on military installations and for military operations. The committee will continue its efforts to assess the Department's resourcing, management, oversight structure, and methodology for monitoring and reducing energy consumption. The committee also will monitor the implementation of significant legislation pertaining to energy security passed during the 110th Congress, including the establishment of a new position for the Director of Operational Energy Plans and Programs and the requirement for consideration of the fully burdened cost of fuel in systems acquisition. The committee will also examine the growing body of information regarding the national security implications of climate change. The committee will review the Department’s compliance with legislation passed during the 110th Congress requiring that certain strategic planning documents consider the impact of climate change on the Department’s facilities, capabilities, and missions.
The committee will continue its oversight of the Department of Defense and military services’ environmental restoration program. The committee will monitor Department of Defense funding and adherence to federal, state, and local requirements for cleanup, compliance, and pollution prevention. The committee will examine Department of Defense efforts to remediate existing contamination on federal lands with particular attention paid to Formerly Used Defense Sites and Base Closure and Realignment locations where the Department has determined contamination is a high-risk that may be affecting local populations. Additionally, the committee intends to closely monitor the activities of the Department to ensure that military training is in full compliance with applicable federal state and local environmental laws.
Military Construction and Infrastructure
The Department of Defense is undergoing a significant change in force structure both in the United States and overseas. These changes are being implemented to enhance operational efficiencies and ensure access to future contingency operations. These force structure changes are being performed by two infrastructure programs including the 2005 Base Closure and Realignment decisions and the Global Defense Posture Review. These rebasing movements affect not only U.S. global posture but also have significant repercussions on readiness, surge capability, military construction, and quality of life for military members and their families. The committee will closely monitor the conduct of the Department as it implements the 2005 Base Closure and Realignment decisions. The committee will ensure that the Department adheres to regulations and statutes governing base reuse, property disposal, and community adjustment assistance. The committee will also closely review the proposed Army force structure in Europe and in Korea, the realignments proposed by the Government of Japan including the realignment of Marine Corps forces to Guam, and the balance of the force structure modifications.
Military Construction Programming
There is increasing evidence that sufficient infrastructure in the United States may not be available to support a rapid reduction in overseas forces and concurrently sustain the Army and Marine Corps’ Grow-the-Force initiatives. In the past, the Department has relied on relocatable, temporary structures to support force structure movements, but the current inventory has exceeded its lifecycle and additional temporary structures will exacerbate an unacceptable situation. The Department has also incorrectly priced military construction projects and has caused significant scope and cost reductions in budget execution. The Department recently projected that military construction projects have been reduced by 14 percent in fiscal year 2007. The Department has also endorsed modified construction techniques for the Army to reduce initial construction costs, which may actually increase overall life cycle costs of facilities. The committee will review the Department’s military construction program to manage the overall capacity of the Department’s infrastructure and ensure prudent long-term military construction investments are provided.
Real Property Acquisition, Maintenance, and Disposal
The real property management process requires extensive oversight to maintain more than $650.0 billion in infrastructure at an annual cost of $56.5 billion, or nearly 11 percent of the Department of Defense’s budget. The committee is concerned that infrastructure inefficiencies result in duplicative operations and uncoordinated investment decisions. The committee has also received increasing evidence that the Department of Defense has elected to generally reduce levels of facilities maintenance and service across the Department rather than specific reductions of excess infrastructure. This type of infrastructure management results in decreased capabilities and serves to defer critical infrastructure investment. The committee is also concerned about the land acquisition requirements associated with Army and Marine Corps force structure and doctrinal growth that require an additional 5,000,000 acres to support current training requirements. The committee will review the maintenance and support infrastructure investments that represent over half of the real property management budget. The committee will also focus on the strategies to acquire land and the use of eminent domain to support valid Defense requirements. The committee will continue to closely monitor Department of Defense decisions to enter into leasehold interests and ensure outleases conform to statutory guidance. The committee will also review the real property accounts to ensure prudent investments are maintained and encourage the Department of Defense to complete closure and transfer of 117,000 acres from prior rounds of Base Closure and Realignment.
Military Infrastructure Privatization
The Department of Defense has made extensive use of privatization of military assets including family housing, bachelor quarters, and utility-related infrastructure. The Department has leveraged available capital in Defense infrastructure and entered into long-term contracts with private property managers. The committee will review these long-term mechanisms and ensure prudent investment decisions are implemented that provide the best capabilities to the Department.
Total Force, Personnel, and Health Care Issues
Future End Strength
The current operational deployment schedule has placed tremendous pressure on active duty troops. The committee is concerned that if the current deployment pace continues, it will have a long-term adverse impact on our forces, particularly the ground component. The committee will continue its effort to assess the level of active and reserve end strength needed to meet current and future operational requirements. Utilization of the Reserve Components and deployment standards will also be reviewed given the shift of the Reserve Components from a strategic reserve force to an operational reserve force. End strength increases authorized during the 110th Congress will be examined to determine whether end strength levels, including those of the Reserve Components, are sufficient for the global challenges facing our nation in the future, and whether that growth can be achieved and maintained given fiscal, recruiting, and retention considerations. In addition, previous and ongoing efforts to reduce the force structure of the Air Force and Navy must be reviewed to determine if they should be continued, stabilized, or reversed given the increased operational requirements facing the nation and the fiscal constraints that the Department may face in the near future.
Force Morale and Family Welfare
As the stress on military forces and their families continues to grow fueled by multiple deployments, minimal dwell time between deployments, and increased operations tempo at home station, the committee will focus on reaching out to service members and families to better understand the challenges they confront in their daily lives and to identify the programs and policies that can be developed or modified to improve the morale of the force and safeguard the welfare of families. Programs and policies such as force utilization, health care, dependent education, compensation, leave, family support, and childcare will be explored for opportunities to expand capabilities and make improvements.
Appropriated Funding for Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) and Military Resale Programs
Reduced funding for installation operations and generally tight budgets among the armed services has resulted in increased evidence that funding for MWR and military resale programs (i.e., commissaries and exchange stores on military bases)
Funding for Nonappropriated Fund Construction Programs
The response to a committee directed report concerning the adequacy of funding for the Department of Defense nonappropriated fund construction program has confirmed that the majority of nonappropriated fund and military resale activities do not consider their recapitalization programs to adequately reflect a level of investment that is consistent with the high standards deserved by the military community. The committee will pursue a better understanding of the standards that are needed for these facilities, the resources required to maintain those standards, and any shortfall in the resources available. The committee will also explore options to find new funding and change policies and programs to ensure that future funding for nonappropriated construction is adequate.
Although the downturn in the national economy and a reduction in the level of violence associated with the war in the Republic of Iraq may cause the recruiting environment to become more favorable for the services, there is little reason to believe that recruiting will become measurably easier given continued societal pressure to attend college, a youth population that has been found to be increasingly unqualified for military service, and a defense budget that will be highly stressed to be able to meet requirements. The committee will closely monitor the Army and Marine Corps recruiting programs as they continue to increase their end strengths. The committee is also concerned about the preparedness of the Air Force and Navy to transition from relatively low recruiting objectives during several years of force reduction to the larger objectives that will be required when the services return to force sustainment recruiting levels. The committee will focus on how the budget process may affect the adequacy of funding levels to maintain effective recruiting programs and encourage the services to maintain robust recruiting incentive and advertising programs. The committee expects to examine all aspects of recruit quality to include age, education level, test scores, and the number of waivers to recruit standards relating to conduct and medical requirements. The committee will also investigate trends in recruiter improprieties to verify that recruiters who commit crimes or are guilty of unethical conduct are held accountable.
The cumulative effect of the multiple tours associated with current high operations tempo will increase the pressure on retention programs throughout the military. Although service retention programs have been successful up to this point, costs have increased significantly and the services must manage retention closely and increase resources to meet new challenges as they occur. The committee will closely monitor retention trends to identify emerging problems quickly and ensure that the services are responding with the resources necessary to be successful. The committee will review the special pays and bonuses currently authorized to ensure that recent enhancements are performing as expected and requirements for new authorities are identified quickly. The committee will also seek the views of current service members to ensure that the appropriate remedies are implemented by the services. Finally, the committee will closely monitor the budget process to ensure that the services are maintaining robust programs and are not assuming unreasonable risk in retention programs.
Congress has authorized enhanced pay raises that exceed the by-law pay raise levels for 10 consecutive years in an effort to close the pay gap with private sector pay raise levels as measured by the employment cost index. The committee intends to closely review military compensation programs to ensure that service members and families receive compensation that provides a quality of life level that continues to support recruiting and retention objectives. Additionally, the committee remains concerned about the accuracy and efficiency of military pay systems that have caused military members and families so much hardship, particularly for those members of the Reserve Components who are mobilized to serve on active duty. Accordingly, the committee will continue to examine military pay systems to ensure that progress is realized.
Military Health Care System
During the 111th Congress, the committee will continue to be faced with military health care challenges similar to those in the civilian sector including significant cost growth. The committee is well aware of the potential adverse impact of uncontrolled cost growth within the military health care system on the Department of Defense. The committee will continue its efforts to improve the health status of beneficiaries and control cost growth within the military health care system by improving access to quality health care for service members, retirees, and their families and elevating the role of preventive care. The committee will also examine alternatives to the current system of providing Reserve Component medical and dental readiness and continue to assess, improve, and expand programs for mental health and traumatic brain injuries. Additionally, the committee remains committed to a robust medical research and development program focused on military heath issues, such as blast injury mitigation and treatment, combat trauma care, military infectious diseases, and medical biological/chemical defense.
Wounded Warrior Care
The committee will continue its efforts to ensure that wounded and disabled service members and their families are afforded the support they need. Significant improvements to the programs and policies that support wounded and disabled service members have been made over the past several years. The committee will continue to ensure that these programs and policies evolve to address issues that are raised by service members and their families, and that the circumstances that led to the scandal at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center are not allowed to happen again. The committee will continue to focus its attention on improvements to the disability evaluation system with a view to authorizing revisions to improve the fairness, effectiveness, and efficiency of the program and simplify the process for service members.
Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault
The committee will continue to ensure that changes to policies and programs are implemented and assessed for their effectiveness in reducing sexual harassment and assault within the Department of Defense. The committee will continue its oversight activities to include a review of victim support and advocacy, prevention, and prosecution.
The committee will continue to ensure fairness and equity in educational benefits provided to members of the active and Reserve Components, particularly those who have been deployed. Educational benefits provided to active duty service members have helped in their transition to civilian lives and the committee will continue its efforts to ensure that all service members are afforded the opportunities to leave service with the necessary support for a smooth transition. The committee will pay particular attention to the implementation of sweeping improvements that were passed in the 110th Congress for post 9/11 GI benefits and giving oversight to the operation of reserve GI Bill programs.
Uniform Code of Military Justice and Investigations
The committee will continue its oversight of the Military Justice System to ensure that its processes are transparent and just. The committee will focus on incidents of sexual assault and on investigations into misconduct in the Republic of Iraq and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan which may indicate other problems related to recruit screening, training deficiencies, or command responsibility.
Decorations and Awards
- See also: Pyramid of Honor
The committee will continue to monitor the awards and decorations process to ensure that it is consistent and that service members are publicly recognized for their heroism with the appropriate award.
Prisoner of War and Missing in Action (POW/MIA)
Over the past several years, the committee has maintained an active oversight of the Department of Defense’s POW/MIA activities, as the committee of jurisdiction. The committee will remain committed to diligent oversight and investigation into the challenges facing the Department, particularly with respect to the recovery, identification, and return of remains that have been found.
Professional Military Education
Professional military education is the backbone in the development of the nation’s armed forces and the quality of that military education distinguishes U.S. forces around the world. As part of its oversight responsibilities, the committee will actively engage in monitoring the rigor and relevance of the curricula being offered at all levels, including those provided to meet joint professional military educational requirements. An important part of this program includes opportunities for service members to attend advanced civil schooling in a wide variety of disciplines, including the liberal arts.
Joint General and Flag Officer Distribution
The 110th Congress authorized special general and flag officer authority that would appreciably change the management and distribution of general and flag officers on active duty, particularly for those serving in joint duty assignments. However, many questions remained unanswered with regard to how the Department will establish and manage this program and its impact on the armed services and the Reserve Components in managing their general and flag officer development and growth. The committee remains concerned that the extent of the implications of these anticipated changes are unclear and will undertake an effort during the 111th Congress to explore these issues in further detail.
The federal civilian workforce of the Department of Defense plays a critical role in the readiness of our military forces. This committee will review implementation of these provisions to monitor compliance with congressional intent and determine whether additional legislation is necessary.
Providing the Department with the proper tools to invest in its workforce and ensuring that the Department has the people with the right skills to contribute effectively to the success of the Department’s mission will remain a focus of the committee. The committee also will continue its oversight of the Department’s implementation and management of the National Security Personnel System (NSPS), with specific focus on the reforms enacted in the last two years, along with consideration of the future direction of NSPS.
The Department has long relied on the federal civilian workforce to support its mission around the world, often requiring civilians to serve in active combat zones. Therefore, the committee will continue to monitor pay and incentives for the civilian workforce serving in such positions.
An effective and efficient process for administering security clearances is critical to military readiness, and both the Executive Branch and Congress have recently focused attention on improving the security clearance process. The committee will continue to monitor progress toward developing a revamped security clearance system.
Ongoing Reviews of Personnel Issues
The committee will also actively monitor the status of minority members in the military services with a view to ensuring fair and equitable treatment and opportunities in a harassment-free environment. Similarly, the committee will continue to monitor the treatment of gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals in the military to ensure a harassment-free environment. In addition, the committee will assess perspectives of service members and their leaders concerning the implications of changes to law and policy dealing with the military service by openly gay personnel.
Modernization and Investment Issues
Army and Marine Corps Armored Vehicle Modernization
The committee will focus on oversight of the Army and Marine Corps’ ambitious and evolving plans to recapitalize their entire fleets of heavy and medium-weight armored vehicles over the next two decades, including the M1 Abrams tank, M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, Stryker Vehicles, the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, the Marine Personnel Carrier program, upgrades for Light Armored Vehicles, upgrades to Paladin artillery systems, and replacement of Army M113 series vehicles. In particular, the committee will focus on ensuring that the existing fleet of armored vehicles is properly upgraded and reset after very heavy use in the Republic of Iraq and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and that the Army continues to field vehicles that stay ahead of the evolving anti-vehicle threat posed by improvised explosive devices and advances in anti-tank guided missiles.
Future Combat Systems
Based on long-standing committee concerns about the Future Combat Systems (FCS) program's cost increases, schedule delays, and diminishing combat capability, the committee will continue aggressive efforts to oversee and shape the FCS program. For the 111th Congress, these oversight efforts will focus on containing program costs, ensuring thorough testing of FCS program elements, and encouraging the Army to restructure the program in a way that preserves as much of the research and development done to date while also rationalizing the FCS program with the Army's overall modernization plans.
Army Aviation Programs
While major reductions may occur in force levels will be able to be made in forces in the Republic of Iraq over the period of the 111th Congress, it is anticipated that Army air operations in Iraq and Afghanistan will continue to require large numbers of legacy rotorcraft deployed to those theaters. Those aircraft, including the CH-47, UH-60, AH-64, and OH-58, will likely continue to be operated at high operational tempos, in very challenging environments. These high operational tempos will require continued upgrade and reset efforts.
In addition to its oversight of aviation requirements for, and performance in, combat operations, the committee will closely monitor the Army’s future force program for aviation. In particular, the committee will focus on the Army’s restructured acquisition plan resulting from the cancellation of the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH), the start up of the []Joint Future Theater Lift (JFTL) program, and the need for aircraft survivability equipment upgrades to provide warning and protection against evolving surface-to-air missile threats.
With regard to the JFTL program, while the committee has supported research efforts to develop next-generation rotorcraft capabilities, it is concerned that the Department of Defense has funded, primarily through reprogrammings, the beginnings of what could be a $50-$75 billion aircraft program without validated, reconciled, tested, and achievable technology requirements.
Army Communications Programs
Given the growing importance of battlefield communications networks in global combat operations, the committee will continue to pressure the Army to clarify its plans for its future battlefield network and the supporting research programs now in place. In particular, the committee will focus oversight efforts on the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T), the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS), other Army tactical radio programs, and the Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) "Blue Force Tracker" system. The committee will work with the Army to ensure that the future battlefield capabilities it creates results in a network-enabled, rather than a network-dependent, Army.
Tactical Aircraft Force Structure
Recent testimony before Congress by both Navy and Air Force officials indicated that both of the services are projecting future tactical aircraft force structure shortfalls. With an operational requirement of 1,056 strike fighters, the Navy projects a strike fighter shortfall of 60-125 aircraft between the years 2016 and 2022, with a most optimistic shortfall peak projected to be 125 in 2017. The committee will focus on inventory objectives of F/A-18E/F and EA-18G procurement, the effect of delays in the procurement of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, F/A-18 A through Dservice life limits, and mission capability of the AV-8B aircraft.
The Air Force has stated a strike fighter operational requirement of 2,250 aircraft, and, under current procurement and retirement plans, the Air Force projects strike fighter shortfalls beginning in 2017 and rising to an inventory gap of 800 aircraft by 2024. For the 111th Congress, the committee will continue its oversight of: aircraft retirement plans; the F-22 Raptor and F-35 programs; and life extension and modernization programs for the F-15 series fighter aircraft, F-16 Fighting Falcon, and A-10.
F-35/Joint Strike Fighter
During the 111th Congress, the committee will continue oversight of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program, particularly the competitive propulsion system aspect of the program. The committee will also continue to exercise oversight of program cost, schedule, and performance.
Air Force Combat Search and Rescue Aircraft Recapitalization
During the 111th Congress, the committee expects that the Air Force will restart efforts to develop and procure the Combat Search and Rescue-X (CSAR-X) helicopter. The committee will oversee the CSAR-X helicopter selection process, particularly with respect to a fair and open competition. When the source selection has been completed, the committee will oversee program cost, schedule, and performance.
Bomber Force Structure
The committee understands that the Air Force plans to invest significant fiscal resources to develop, prototype and field a next generation bomber platform in the 2018 timeframe and also has plans to modernize and upgrade the B-52, B-2, and B-1 bomber aircraft platforms.
Aerial Refueling Aircraft
The committee will continue to maintain active oversight of tanker modernization and recapitalization programs of the Air Force. The ability for aerial refueling during military operations is a critical capability in meeting National Military Strategy objectives. Currently, the KC-135 Stratotanker and KC-10 Extender are the primary providers of U.S. air-refueling capability. Recapitalization of the KC-135 fleet of 415 aircraft, currently delayed seven years because of failures internal to the Pentagon’s acquisition system, will take over 30 years based on current fiscal resource constraints and other Department of Defense priorities that require significant funding. This will result in having to maintain and operate KC-135 aircraft that will be in the fleet for over 70 years. Therefore, timely recapitalization of the Air Force's KC-135 tanker fleet is critical. Additionally, the Air Force plans to perform an avionics modernization program on the KC-10 fleet of tankers.
Inter/Intra-Theater Airlift Programs
The committee plans to evaluate the two studies due to Congress in 2009, mandated by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (Public Law 110-181). One study requires the Secretary of Defense to perform inter/intra-theater airlift capabilities and requirements. The second study requires the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to conduct a quadrennial roles and missions review of the armed forces. Based on the studies' conclusions and recommendations, the committee will continue to maintain oversight of the Department's inter/intra-theater airlift acquisition and modernization programs to ensure that the appropriate mix of airlift aircraft is adequate and balanced to meet National Military Strategy objectives.
In addition to Navy tactical aircraft force structure noted above, the Navy is faced with a number of challenges in major aviation acquisition and life extension programs. These include, but are not limited to: the P-8 Poseidon Multi-Mission Aircraft (MMA); the VH 71 Presidential Helicopter Replacement; and medium and heavy lift helicopter replacement. The committee plans to devote a significant amount of effort in oversight for Navy and Marine Corps aviation acquisition programs in an attempt to forestall any degradation to the striking power of afloat carrier battle groups or the logistics ability afforded by medium and heavy lift helicopters.
The committee will continue close oversight of the Department of the Navy weapons procurement programs. In particular, the committee will evaluate the ability of the supplier base to furnish the Department with adequate numbers of weapons in an affordable manner, particularly the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) Block IV.
The committee will continue close oversight of the Department of the Navy shipbuilding programs. In particular, the committee will conduct hearings, briefings and on-site inspection to assess the requirements for the size and composition of the nation’s battle force fleet. The committee will continue to evaluate the projected investment required to maintain maritime dominance and deter peer or near-peer maritime aggression. As part of such an evaluation, the committee will continue to place a significant emphasis on improving affordability in shipbuilding programs through: the requirements process; the use of acquisition best practices; stability within the overall program; increased reliance on common systems; and process and facility improvements at construction yards. The committee will conduct hearings and briefings to assess the need for legislative action to recapitalize infrastructure of public and private shipyards constructing or maintaining Navy vessels and vessels of the National Defense Sealift Force.
Military Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Programs
Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) programs constitute an approximate annual Department of Defense expenditure of $50.0 billion. Concerns of the committee remain: lack of an adequate long-term ISR architecture and acquisition strategy; lack of supporting analysis for programmatic decisions; failure to balance collection programs data output with adequate resources to process, exploit, and disseminate data and analysis; and unnecessary proliferation of unmanned and manned vehicles, sensors, and ground stations.
The committee will continue to focus on the major themes of ISR oversight. The committee will also focus on the budgets, cost, schedule, and performance outcomes of major unmanned aerial systems (UAS) programs and examine the ISR enterprise for balance in collection and analysis capabilities.
Directed Energy Programs
Each of the military services and the Office of the Secretary of Defense within the Department of Defense have continued to fund numerous directed energy acquisition efforts for at least the last two decades. Promised capabilities have in all cases failed to be realized; the committee will evaluate future plans.
Space Policy and Programs
As has been the case for several years, space programs include some of the highest-risk modernization activities of the Department of Defense (DOD). Particular attention will be given to, but not be limited to, the following: improvement of space situational awareness; national space policy and doctrinal statements on space; examination of the strategy and programs for protection of national security space assets; maximization of space-based effects in military operations; program management; space acquisitions and prioritization of space programs; development of a professional space cadre; and the adequacy of space acquisition policy.
Particular attention will be given to the technical readiness of various space systems currently in development, with the objective of decreasing technical risk in acquisition programs. The committee will closely monitor and encourage the development of small-satellite and responsive launch technology with the objective of full demonstration and eventual operational deployment. The committee will also assess DOD efforts to leverage industry and academia for the purposes of increasing the quality of space-qualified personnel involved in space programs and improving the health of the space industrial base. Further, the committee will engage the space community to examine the space policy as well as explore opportunities to further integrate space assets with the nation’s warfighting capability.
Missile Defense Programs
The committee will continue to monitor efforts to deploy missile defenses designed to protect the United States, its deployed forces, and its friends and allies against the full range of ballistic missile threats. The committee will focus on several key areas including: the future roles, missions, and responsibilities of the Missile Defense Agency; the suitability and effectiveness of missile defense testing programs; the viability of the boost phase missile defense concept, and specific boost phase systems such as the Airborne Laser and Kinetic Energy Interceptor programs; and continued oversight of missile defense policy, programs, and operations; cooperative missile defense with allies.
Military Applications of Nuclear Energy
The committee will continue to oversee the Atomic Energy Defense Activities carried out by the Department of Energy, including but not limited to the following:
- modernization and maintenance of U.S. defense nuclear force structure in support of military and national security requirements,
- requirements for stockpile modernization and stewardship activities
- status of the Department of Energy’s science-based stockpile stewardship program to assure the safety, reliability, and performance of the stockpile in the absence of testing.
The committee will also continue to oversee: implementation of options for consolidation and disposition of weapons-grade plutonium and highly enriched uranium; Department of Energy compliance with evolving Design Basis Threat requirements; and management of defense nuclear waste. Additionally, the committee will: monitor ongoing assessments of security standards and practices at all National Nuclear Security Administration sites, with a specific focus on the quality of federal oversight of laboratory management and operating contractor security practices; evaluate National Nuclear Security Administration performance of its roles and missions under title 32 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000 (Public Law 106-65); and evaluate U.S. nuclear weapons posture and doctrine.
In addition, the committee will provide oversight to the Department of the Navy’s Nuclear Propulsion Program and focus on the potential for the expansion of nuclear propulsion systems for the Navy’s future fleet.
Chemical Demilitarization Program
April 29, 2007, marked the 10th anniversary of the United States’ entry into the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The CWC is an international treaty which prohibits the development, production, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons. Under this treaty, the United States is required to complete the destruction of its stockpile of lethal chemical warfare agents and munitions by September, 2012. The committee will provide oversight and, if necessary, issue public laws to guide the process of safely and securely storing and disposing of the chemical agent stockpile.
The committee will continue to emphasize force protection as a high priority issue for special oversight, focusing on areas having direct impact on the safety of military personnel engaged in operations in the Republic of Iraq and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The objective of committee activity will be to expedite the promulgation of policies and the fielding of technology and equipment to prevent and/or reduce combat casualties. The committee will continue to emphasize and support capabilities that protect personnel and equipment against both symmetrical and asymmetrical threats from an offensive as well as defensive perspective. These will include personal, vehicle, and group protection.
Science and Technology
New capabilities, such as precision-guided munitions, integrated command, control, communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C3I-ISR), are no longer limited to those transforming conventional warfare, but need to address nontraditional adversaries pursuing “complex irregular warfare.” U.S. forces today assume a much more expeditionary character to successfully deter extremists. Over the long-term, the military's ability to win both conventional, major-combat operations and irregular warfare depends on its ability to provide warfighting options through a stable, healthy, and balanced program. The committee will continue to encourage the Department to plan for and execute a balanced science and technology (S&T) program that addresses near-, mid-, and long-term needs.
Due to the growing complexity of software and integration challenges of linking disparate systems, the committee will focus particularly on the management and acquisition of the Department of Defense information technology programs. During the 111th Congress, the committee will examine ways to improve the acquisition of IT systems to leverage a development cycle that is significantly shorter than the acquisition cycle for other weapons systems.
IT as an enabler of military operations calls for increased emphasis on the security and integrity of the data, applications, and networks. The committee will continue to scrutinize military cybersecurity efforts, including the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative. The committee is particularly interested in examining the effects of globalization on the assured integrity of microelectronics and software. The committee will also focus on the offensive cyber capabilities and how they are integrated into traditional kinetic operations.
Committee oversight will also focus on gaining a better understanding of mission-specific information technology systems, such as: medical, personnel, business, and logistics systems; as well as tactical warfighting systems involved with communications, command and control, and operations and intelligence. The committee will closely examine the Department of Defense’s business systems enterprise architecture to ensure that cost and deployment schedules are being met for these and other systems.
National Security Aspects of the Merchant Marine
The committee will continue with oversight of programs and institutions managed by the Maritime Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Specifically, the committee will continue to monitor: the effectiveness of the Maritime Security Fleet (46 USC 531); the Maritime Guaranteed Loan Program (46 USC 537); the condition of the National Defense Reserve Fleet and methods to dispose of those vessels in an environmentally sound manner; and the U.S Merchant Marine and State Maritime Academies. Additionally, the committee will maintain close oversight of activities at the United States Merchant Marine Academy as it establishes new procedures and instructions for improved fiscal responsibility.
- Readiness Subcommittee
- Seapower and Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee
- Air and Land Forces Subcommittee
- Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee
- Intelligence, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee
- Strategic Forces Subcommittee, House Armed Services Committee -- Editor's Note: Fix title
- Military Personnel Subcommittee