The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) unanimously approved the FY2011 Defense Authorization Bill. According to a committee summary, the HASC bill provides $567 billion for DoD and the defense programs of the Department of Energy. In addition, the Committee approved $159 billion for overseas contingency operations in FY2011 and $34 billion for FY2010 supplemental funding of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill, for the most part, supports DoD’s request for major weapons programs. However, defying threats of a potential presidential veto of the bill, the HASC approved a 1.9 percent military pay raise (.5 percent higher than the request) and added $485 million for the F-35 (JSF) alternative engine program. Secretary Gates has argued strongly that the Department could not afford either of these additions and vowed again this week to advise the president veto to a bill that included funding for the F-35 alternative engine. However, Gates backed off of his previous position on a military pay raise saying that he would not recommend a veto if Congress approved a pay raise high than the administration requested. In other action, the Committee restated its support for the Department’s insourcing initiative, but expressed concern about “arbitrary goals being set for insourcing.” Recently, industry has questioned what it describes as the use of insourcing quotas, particularly by the Air Force. The bill would prohibit DoD from establishing arbitrary goals or targets as it implements insourcing and requires both DoD and GAO to review the initiative and report back to the committee. The HASC addressed concerns about inequalities between the healthcare reform bill and TRICARE by including a provision that allows TRICARE beneficiaries to extend coverage to dependent children until they reach age 26. And, in a move that may please military retirees, the bill would allow early payment when the first of the month falls on a weekend. The full House may vote on the bill next week.