Washington D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives approved the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act Thursday, authorizing $633.3 billion in defense spending for 2013. $101.9 million of it is ear-marked for Guam.
The Senate is now expected to give final approval to the 2013 NDAA after negotiators from the 2 Armed Services Committees agreed to final build-up and other language.
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The only question is whether President Obama would veto the bill over its detainee rights provisions.
Guam Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo addressed the NDAA’s build-up provisions on the House floor.
BORDALLO: “Most importantly, Mr. Speaker, this conference report takes a major step toward loosening restrictions on the obligation and the expenditure of U.S. and Government of Japan funds, to support the military build-up on Guam. I believe that this bill sends a strong message, that the United States remains committed to providing resources to refocus on the Asia-Pacific region.”
The Defense budget bill allows U.S.-Japan spending on planning and design of projects not impacted by the ongoing Supplemental Environmental Impact study.
It authorizes $26-million in funding for the North Tamp parking project at Andersen Air Force Base.
It ok’s nearly $102-million dollars to upgrade the fuel pipeline Naval Base Guam to Andersen AFB. And $8.5 million for an Army National Guard Headquarters.
It requires the Secretary of Defense to certify the need for firing ranges on Guam. And the bill calls for spending $58-million on the Air Force fuel cell hangar that was appropriated but not authorized last year.
But it calls for no spending on civilian infrastructure, a big loss for Guam, but not an irreversible one.
Meantime, Bordallo praised the final bill for preserving the Global Hawk Block-30 ISR drones at Andersen Air Force Base.
The Guam National Guard will keep its current missions and personnel.
The NDAA provides a $1.7% pay raise for service members and a modest boost in TriCare pharmacy co-payments.
And the House-Senate deal ensures U.S. military facilities display the territorial flags alongside state flags.