The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) last week began formal consideration of the president’s FY2013 Defense Authorization request.  All six subcommittees completed their portions of the bill.  In keeping with House procedures, each subcommittee posted online the proposed bill language and summary descriptions of their recommendations for the full committee.

The Military Personnel Subcommittee recommends a 1.7 percent military pay increase as requested by the president.  The subcommittee expresses concern about proposed military end strength cuts, but agrees with the reductions requested by the president, except for the Air Force.  The subcommittee recommends a smaller reduction to provide manpower requirements to maintain 18 Air Force Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).

The Readiness Subcommittee recommendation does not include authorization for two additional Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) rounds proposed by the president.  It has become apparent from hearings in both the House and the Senate that congressional approval of two more BRAC rounds is doubtful this year.  The subcommittee also would reject retirement of 18 Air Force Global Hawk UAVs and would retain three of the four Navy cruisers requested for early retirement. 

The Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee recommends retaining funding to support 18 Air Force Global Hawks.  The subcommittee also recommends full funding for Army AH-64, UH-60, and CH-47 helicopters, and Navy and Air Force V-22 aircraft.  The subcommittee would also fund 12 more MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

The Seapower and Protection Forces Subcommittee recommends multiyear procurement for up to 10 Virginia-Class submarines and 10 DDG-51 destroyers.  The subcommittee would also provide “temporary” relief from maintaining at least 301 strategic airlift aircraft.  However, it would require a report that assesses the risk to combat commanders’ airlift requirements with less than 301 aircraft.

The Strategic Forces Subcommittee recommendation would approve the Air Force proposal to buy two Space Based Infrared Systems (SBIRS) satellites over six years, but not by using advanced appropriations authority.  Rather, the subcommittee proposes using incremental funding authority over six years.  The subcommittee also provides $50 million more than the request for national security space programs.

The Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee supports Science and Technology (S&T) investments and would require DoD to designate a senior official to coordinate and manage data conversion for all Enterprise Resource Planning Systems (ERPs).  This designation was recommended by the HASC Financial Management and Auditability Reform Panel.

The full HASC will consider the complete bill next week when the House returns from a one-week recess.  The Senate Armed Services Committee is scheduled to begin its markups of the FY2013 Defense Authorization bill on May 21.