FY 2015 NDAA Passed by House, Onto Senate With $128M for Guam & SDZ Amendment Attached

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Guam – The U.S. House of representatives passed the 2015 Fiscal Year National Defense Authroization Act [NDAA] overnight in Washington by a vote of 325 to 98.  It now moves onto the Senate for final action.

The measure includes $128-million dollars in military construction spending for Guam. It also includes Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo’s revised “Surface Danager Zone” [SDZ] bill. 

The amended version of H.R. 4402  authorizes the Department of the Navy and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to enter into an agreement for the placement of a surface danger zone above the Ritidian Unit of the Guam National Wildlife Refuge.It also requires the Navy to pay for mitigations to offset impacts of placing an SDZ over the Refuge.

The FY 2015 NDAA contains another provision sponsored by Congresswoman Bordallo that would repeal the remaining restrictions on the use of Government of Japan and certain U.S. military construction funds for projects related to the Marine Corps realignment to Guam.

In a release, Congresswoman Bordallo says she is “pleased that the House has maintained provisions that prioritize the President’s rebalance strategy and support for the realignment of Marines to Guam.”

READ the release from Congresswoman Bordallo below:

News from Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo
House Passes FY15 NDAA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 22, 2014 – Washington, D.C. –

Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo today announced that the House of Representatives has passed H.R. 4435, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015, by a vote of 325 yeas to 98 noes. H.R. 4435 authorizes and sets policy for the Department of Defense for fiscal year 2015. The bill will be reconciled with the Senate’s version of the NDAA during a Conference Committee later this year.

The FY15 NDAA authorizes $521.3 billion for the Department of Defense and an additional $79.4 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations. The bill supports current law and mandates a 1.8% increase in military pay. The bill also rejects all cuts to the TRICARE program and housing allowances contained in the President’s Budget and requires the DoD to consult with outside experts on how to find efficiencies with the Commissary and Exchange network

H.R. 4435 includes the amended version of H.R. 4402, the Guam Military Training and Readiness Act, that authorizes the Department of the Navy and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to enter into an agreement for the placement of a surface danger zone above the Ritidian Unit of the Guam National Wildlife Refuge. The amendment includes measures to maintain the purposes of the Wildlife Refuge and requires the Navy to pay for mitigations to offset impacts of placing an SDZ over the Wildlife Refuge. The amendment was included in the NDAA as part of an en-bloc package and adopted by the full House by voice vote last night.

H.R. 4435 also contains a provision sponsored by Congresswoman Bordallo that would repeal the remaining restrictions on the use of Government of Japan and certain U.S. military construction funds for projects related to the Marine Corps realignment to Guam. She also included a provision that would require the Departments of Defense and State, in consultation with all relevant Departments and agencies, to develop a strategy and implementation plan to support and sustain the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region. The strategy and implementation would help to make the rebalance strategy endure into the future and is based off similar efforts in the 1990s.

The bill also contains language identical to the Military Opportunities for Mothers (MOM) Act, which will extend maternity leave for women serving in the military from 6 weeks to 12 weeks. The provision will align access to maternity leave for female servicemembers with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guidelines available to federal employees. The Congresswoman is among more than 50 bipartisan cosponsors.

“H.R. 4435 provides our armed forces with the resources they need to defend our nation and allies, and supports the needs of our servicemembers and their families,” said Congresswoman Bordallo. “Notably it approves a 1.8% pay increase for servicemembers and rejects all cuts to TRICARE contained in the President’s Budget.

“I am pleased that the House has maintained provisions that prioritize the President’s rebalance strategy and support for the realignment of Marines to Guam. The bill authorizes $128 million in military construction projects on Guam for FY15, repeals the remaining restrictions on the use of Government of Japan funds for projects directly related to the buildup, and requires the State and Defense Departments to develop a strategy and implementation plan to support and sustain the rebalance strategy.

“The NDAA also includes the amended version of H.R. 4402, which is critical to ensuring that there are no unnecessary delays to the buildup. It ensures that the NEPA process is kept on track between the Navy and the Fish and Wildlife Service, and it requires the Navy to provide appropriate mitigations for impacts of placing an SDZ over the Wildlife Refuge. I believe the amended version of H.R. 4402 addresses concerns expressed by our community while ensuring that this process continues to move forward. I appreciate the views and feedback that I have received from local leaders, stakeholders, and the public, and I will continue to work to keep the buildup on track.

“I also applaud the leadership of Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth for including the text of the MOM Act in this bill.  Providing parity in maternity leave for female servicemembers, as is provided to their civilian counterparts, is an important endeavor, and I look forward to working with Congresswoman Duckworth during Conference Committee.”

A table of the President’s budget request and a summary of Congresswoman Bordallo’s requested and supported provisions included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 are listed below:

* Fully authorizes for appropriation $128 million in military construction funds for Guam, including $51 million to support steps to establish a fully capable Marine Air-Ground Task Force on Guam;
* Eliminates current restrictions on obligation and expenditure of Government of Japan and certain U.S. military construction funds for projects related to the realignment of Marines from Okinawa to Guam. These restriction were enacted as section 2822 of the FY14 NDAA;
* Requires the Departments of Defense and State, in consolation with other federal entities, to develop a strategy and implementation plan to support and sustain the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region. Specifically, the report will require the DoD and State to outline the broad strategic goals of the United States in its rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region.  More importantly it will require OMB to identify key programs or areas in the budget that could support strategic objectives, and develop guidelines for how to prioritize funding in future fiscal years to support the Asia-Pacific rebalance strategy.
* Require a report from the Secretary of the Army in consultation with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff regarding the deployment of THAAD to Guam.  In particular, the report would seek greater clarity on the force structure needed to sustain a permanent THAAD presence on Guam;

·   Aligns access to maternity leave for female servicemembers with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guidelines available to federal employees;

* Requires the Secretary of Defense to establish a program to eradicate the coconut rhinoceros beetle from military installations in Guam and Hawaii within existing INRMPs;
* Provides for a one year freeze, during FY15, of force structure cuts to the National Guard and require a report to assess the feasibility of any cuts. Specifically the report should contain assessments of the force structure model, cost analysis models, and manning levels, and a comparison of operational readiness;
* Authorizes the Chief of the National Guard Bureau to appoint, in consultation with the Secretary of the Army and Secretary of the Air Force, the general officers who will serve as Director and Deputy Director of the Army and Air National Guard; an important step to fulfilling the intent of the Guard * Empowerment Act by giving the Chief of the National Guard Bureau with the tools to support Joint Chiefs requirements;
* Clarifies when military personnel could be used for functions that are currently being performed by civilian or contractor personnel. Also requires that any insufficiently military essential position being converted to a military personnel billet would require direct linkage to the Military Occupational Skill as well as a cost-benefit analysis;
* Requires a report from the Commander, U.S. Pacific Command in consultation with Commander, Pacific Air Forces and Chief, National Guard Bureau about force structure of tanker and airlift assets in the Pacific as well as support for training missions and requirements in the Asia-Pacific region;

·         Rejects all cuts to the TRICARE program and housing allowances contained in the President’s Budget

* Requires a report from the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics regarding the feasibility of establishing public-private housing ventures (PPV) on Guam;
* Fully funds Research, Development, Tests and Evaluation of the Long Range Strike bomber program which is critical to our rebalance strategy and maintaining air dominance;
* Provides additional $1.148 million for the Navy Sea Cadet Corps program;
* Fully funds the Global Hawk Block 30 program.

Fiscal Year 2015 Military Construction Authorization of Appropriation 

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