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Budget Brief: FY 2015 NDAA

The Carl Levin and Howard P. McKeon National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year (FY) 2015 passed the Senate Friday night by a bipartisan vote of 89-11, after the House passed the measure 300-119. The bill includes $495.9 billion for the Department of Defense’s (DoD) base budget, $63.7 billion overseas contingency operations (OCO) budget, and $17.9 billion for the Department of Energy related to maintaining the nation’s nuclear arsenal (Alexander, 2014). The FY 2015 NDAA also institutes a host of provisions related to curbing military benefits, creates a new DoD leadership position – the Under Secretary of Defense for Business Management and Information (USDBMI), and provides the Navy with billions in extra procurement funding.  

The 2015 NDAA enacts measures to curtail rising DoD personnel costs, such as increasing co-pays related to prescription drugs by $3, decreasing pay raises to 1% - below the current rate of inflation, and prohibiting further wage raises for flag officers. Departing Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Carl Levin expressed his concern that the spending caps imposed by sequestration, in conjunction with rising of personnel costs will erode military readiness.

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Developments in DHS-S&T

The House Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies & the Subcommittee on Research and Technology recently held a joint hearing on the potential re-authorization of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) directorate. S&T’s objective is to develop new technologies for agencies under DHS such as the Transportation Security Administration, Coast Guard, Federal Emergency Management Agency, etc. to better protect the homeland from a wide variety of threats. Representatives from both committees were concerned on the level of redundant research programs within S&T’s $1.2 billion budget across DHS; Chairman Lamar Smith highlighted a government accountability office report which described S&T’s R&D management approach as “fragmented and overlapping.” 

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Developments in Small Business Contracting at DISA 

In fiscal year 2014 (FY14) the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) bought $8 billion worth of information technology and cyber products and services for the Department of Defense. During the DISA 2014 forecast to industry event, Major General (MG) Alan Lynn, Vice Director and Senior Procurement Executive at DISA, recently outlined his five main objectives with respect to ongoing and future procurement programs: 

  1. Meet small business goals
  2. Increase competition
  3. Foster greater discipline in acquisition planning
  4. Leverage buying power via consolidation of like type items
  5. Review all procurements exceeding $10 million
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Changes in the Senate Following Midterm Elections

With a net gain of at least seven seats in the Senate and the possibility of gaining another seat during the December runoff election in Louisiana, Republicans are expected to make several key Senate committee appointments in January, including:  

  • Sen. Richard Burr, R-NC for Chairman of the Intelligence Committee (current Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-CA)
  • Sen. Bob Corker, R-TN for Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee (current Sen. Robert Menendez D-NJ)
  • Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Al for Chairman of the Budget Committee (current Chairwoman Sen. Patty Murray D-WA)
  • Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-UT for Chairman of the Finance Committee (current Sen. Ron Wyden D-OR)
  • Sen. James Inhofe, R-OK for Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee (SECWP)(current Chairwoman is Sen. Barbara Boxer D-CA)
  • Sen. John McCain, R-AZ for Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) from the current Sen. Carl Levin, D-MI
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Federal Spending on Ebola Set to Exceed $1 Billion 

The Obama Administration has requested $1 billion in Department of Defense (DoD) reappropriations to augment efforts to contain the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. 

As of late October, the House Appropriations, House Armed Services, and Senate Armed Services committees have approved $750 million dollars in DoD reappropriations, which will come from the overseas contingency operations (OCO) budget, though the Senate Appropriations Committee (SAC) has yet to approve this request. Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) announced the SAC will hold a hearing on Ebola reappropriations on November 6th, shortly after the midterm elections. 

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