The official blog of American Veteran Magazine, the national quarterly publication of AMVETS.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

This Week on Capitol Hill

By Diane Zumatto, AMVETS National Legislative Director
LANHAM, Md., May 9, 2012 Today is a big day for the House Armed Services Committee as the full committee comes together to consider Chairman Buck McKeon's FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA); also known as HR 4310.  At $554 billion, approximately $4 billion above the Pentagon's request, and  with some contentious provisions (outlined below) the committee will have its work cut out for them .
Highlights include:
-- Detainee Due Process Rights: The Rep. Adam Smith (WA, Ranking Member, House Armed Services Committee) amendment would ensure that any individual detained in the U.S. under the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) would be guaranteed due process; according to Smith, "It strictly prohibits military commissions and indefinite detention."
AUMF is a joint resolution passed by Congress on September 14, 2001.  The resolution authorized the use of US Armed Forces against those responsible for the attacks on September 11, 2001, granting the President the authority to use all "necessary and appropriate force" against those whom he determined "planned, authorized, committed or aided" the September 11th attacks, or who harbored said persons or groups.
-- Extended Military Presence in Afghanistan:  There is a provision in Rep. Buck McKeon's (CA; Chair, House Armed Services Committee) bill that states that the US should "maintain a credible troop presence" in Afghanistan beyond 2014.
-- Purchase Slow-down of F-35’s: Rep. Todd Akin (MO) has put forward an amendment that would slow the purchase of F-35’s until the Pentagon provides a date by which the aircraft will reach operational capability. According to Adkin, "It is not acceptable for a program the American taxpayer has already invested billions of dollars in to fail to give Congress fixed and firm IOC dates."
-- East Coast missile defense:  Rep.  John Garamendi (CA, Member, House Armed Services Committee) plans to introduce an amendment eliminating provisions in Rep. McKeon's bill that allocate approximately  $100 million for an environmental impact study  (EIS) into possible sites for East Coast missile-defense positions.

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