On May 8, the House Armed Services Committee voted on the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 – about 15 minutes after midnight. The committee voted on hundreds of amendments and debated the legislation for more than 12 hours before finally passing it.
You have probably heard some of the highlights of whats in the bill, but here is a longer list of stuff that made it in that you might not have heard about.
Now remember, the bill still needs to be voted on by the full House and then by the Senate, so there are still changes that can happen. But as of right now, these items are in the legislation.
1. An extension of a spending cap on contract services through fiscal 2015 – which prevents the Defense Department from cutting civilian employees and transferring the work to contractors, according to amendment sponsor Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, R-Hawaii. The NDAA caps spending on contract services at fiscal 2010 levels.
2. Another provision forces DoD to eliminate any unauthorized personal services and contracts for any inherently governmental functions and reduce the spending on contractors for work close to being inherently governmental to “the maximum extent practicable.”
3. A prohibition on DoD changing what can be sold in base exchanges and commissaries. Many lawmakers have proposed cuts to the commissary budget while others have pushed to limit sales of various items.
4 A rule requiring DoD to determine which of its workforces – military, civilian or contractor – would be most cost-effective when determining work assignments for non-critical mission areas.
5. The extension of a pilot program that allows whistleblowers to appeal cases from the Merit Systems Protection Board to any circuit court – instead of being restricted to the federal circuit court – for three more years.
6. The Defense Department would be exempt from energy efficiency measures and metering efforts identified in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Currently DoD must reduce energy use in its domestic facilities and encourage energy efficiency efforts.
7. DoD cannot build a biofuel facility without Congressional approval. Some lawmakers are concerned DoD plans to purchase or refurbish a biofuel facility.
8. DoD must report on how much it costs to transport members of Congress on trips outside the United States.
9. A prohibition for DoD against purchasing biofuels except for testing purposes until the price per gallon is the same as traditional fuel. The Navy has been pushing biofuels as an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional fuel.
10. The NDAA reduces the number of enlisted aides that support general officers. Right now they are limited to 300, but the bill would reduce that number to 244.
11. The NDAA was actually renamed the “Howard P. ‘Buck’ McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal year 2015” after the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, who is stepping down at the end of the year.