NGAUS Eyes Committee's Defense Bill

Washington Report

(April 28, 2015) The House Armed Services Committee will spend much of Wednesday—and probably a few early hours of Thursday—compiling its version of the fiscal 2016 National Defense Authorization Act. The final proposal will include the panel's collective view on the Air Force's plan to retire its A-10 fighter aircraft fleet and the Army's effort to move all AH-64 Apache helicopters from the Army National Guard to the active component and cut the size of the Army Guard.

It also is expected to push for a major overhaul of the military retirement system, mainly by adding a 401(k)-style Thrift Savings Plan that would provide service members with a financial boost no matter how long they serve.

The committee will spend Wednesday doing markup of the bill, which means it will piece together in one final bill the recommendations from the committee's various subcommittees and any amendments from committee members. The Senate Armed Services Committee will do the same in a few weeks and the two versions will be hammered out into one bill later this year.

"NGAUS will watch closely as lawmakers put together this important piece of legislation," said retired Col. Pete Duffy, the NGAUS legislative director. "We have been working hard to ensure lawmakers know our priorities and we will push for their inclusion."

The bill could also include a broader official definition for veterans to include men and women who serve 20 years in the reserve component without the amount of Title 10 service necessary to qualify now. It will likely include, too, a plan to train service members on how to manage their finances.

Modernization of the C-130 fleet and a permanent foundation for the State Partnership Program could also be included in the bill. NGAUS also expects it to include modernization of the Army Guard's UH-60 Black Hawks.

A NGAUS analysis of the committee's work will be available at www.ngaus.org soon after the panel ends its work.