National Guard

 
Updates from the Hill
House passes NDAA and “Security Minibus”; Senate Appropriations passes FY18 MILCON/VA bill Friday, August 04, 2017
Now in August recess, the House wrapped up a busy legislative schedule in July. On July 14, after several days of debate, the House passed its version of the NDAA. On July 14, the House passed 4 appropriations bills in a “Security-themed” minibus, including appropriations for defense and MILCON/VA.

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed the FY18 MILCON/VA bill, its first spending bill to be completed for FY18. Both appropriations and the FY18 SASC NDAA are on hold in the Senate until Congress returns in September. 
House defense committees complete FY18 authorization and appropriations bills Friday, July 07, 2017

On June 15, the House Appropriations Committee passed its version of the FY18 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill. In total, the legislation provides $88.8 billion in discretionary funding – $6 billion above the fiscal year 2017 level.

The bill includes $372.1 million for construction or alteration of National Guard facilities in 18 states, a decrease of $4.7 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. Of this, $210.7 million is provided for Army National Guard military construction and $161.5 million for Air National Guard military construction – both at requested levels. However, Section 125 authorizes additional funding for the Army National Guard ($56 million) and Air National Guard ($41.9) million for projects on the Services Unfunded Priority lists.

On June 26, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense passed its version of the FY18 Defense Appropriations. The full House Appropriations Committee passed the bill on June 29th. It includes $584.2 billion in discretionary funding – an increase of $68.1 billion above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $18.4 billion above the President’s Defense budget request. The bill also provides $73.9 billion in OCO funding.

On June 28, the House Armed Services Committee passed its version of the FY18 NDAA, after a marathon markup which lasted until just before midnight. The bill authorizes $631.5 billion for base budget accounts and about $65 billion for in OCO. The committee designated $10 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations funding, which is not capped by law, for base budget activities. The bill is $28.5 billion more than the President’s Budget Request, which exceeded defense caps by $54 billion.

 
House and Senate Appropriators released an omnibus bill for the final FY17 Appropriations Monday, May 01, 2017

The measure would provide $593 billion in defense spending, including $61.8 billion for overseas operations. The bill could come to the House floor for votes as early as Wednesday, and sources have said the Senate wants it passed by Thursday. The one-week continuing resolution funds the government through Friday, 05 May.

A few highlights of the bill include:
  • Funds 343,000 end strength for ARNG and 105,700 end strength for ANG
  • Appropriates $750 million for the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account in OCO
    • Includes $247.5 million for the Army National Guard and Air National Guard each
  • Appropriates $234 million for the National Guard Counterdrug Program
  • Appropriates $20 million for Counterdrug Schools
  • Adds $19 million for Operation Phalanx
  • Adds $8 million to the State Partnership Program
  • Adds $9.9 million for ARNG Cyber protection teams
  • Adds $100 million for ARNG HMMWV Modernization
  • Adds $60 million for ARNG and Army Reserve HMMWV Ambulances
  • Adds $160 million for two ANG C-130Js
  • Adds $97.5 million for C-130 modernization
  • Adds $10.3 million for Youth Challenge
  • Adds $25 million for Sexual Assault Special Victims Council Program
  • Adds $20 million for Beyond the Yellow Ribbon
 
Defense Bills Pass Congress

Late last week, the Senate approved both H.R. 3979, The National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 (NDAA) and H.R. 83, The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act which funds the Department of Defense for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2015. The President signed the appropriations package on Tuesday, December 16th.

This marks the 53rd consecutive year for passage of the NDAA. The bill authorizes $577.1 billion for national defense programs. In a rare Saturday Senate session, the Senate passed the FY15 appropriations bill, funding the Department of Defense at $554.2 billion in FY15.

This marks the end of defense action for the 113th Congress, as the House and Senate adjourned on December 16th. Congress returns January 6th, 2015 to open the 114th Congress.

 

National Defense Authorization Moves in Congress

On Dec. 2, House and Senate Defense authorizers released a compromised FY15 National Defense Authorization Act. The House is expected to vote on the measure tomorrow, Dec. 3rd while the Senate is poised to vote next week.

This marks the second year in a row the Senate was unable to consider or amend its own NDAA. As a result, defense authorizers in both the House and Senate were forced to work behind closed doors on a compromised version to ensure passage before the end of the 113th Congress.

Analysis of the final NDAA will be made available next week.

 

Lame Duck Session Begins

Congress returned this week for its Lame Duck session after a nearly two month recess and intense election cycle. This week, House and Senate lawmakers heard from administration officials on two top issues: a $5.6 billion emergency funding request to assist in continued operations against ISIL as well as a $6.1 billion emergency request to help respond to the global Ebola outbreak.

Biggest agenda item for the Lame Duck will be passing a government funding provision before the current continuing resolution expires on December 11th.

 

President Signed Into Law a Continuing Resolution (H.J. Res. 124)

On September 19, 2014, the President signed into law a continuing resolution (H.J. Res. 124) to keep the federal government running through December 11, 2014, at the current annual cap rate of $1.012 trillion.

The Senate and House have both recessed until after the November 4 midterm elections, when they will consider unfinished legislative business, including the fiscal year 2014 defense appropriation bill, which is likely to be grouped into an omnibus spending package; and the fiscal year 2015 defense authorization bill.

 

NDAA Approved by HASC

Early in the morning on May 8, the House Armed Services Committee approved their marks to H.R. 4435, the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act. The bill includes numerous provisions related to the National Guard. Highlights include:

  • A provision directing the Comptroller General of the United States to submit a report regarding the management of personnel records of members of the National Guard.
  • A provision precluding the Air Force from modifying or cancelling C-130 AMP.
  • Report language on the importance of CST information management systems.
  • Report language directing a Comptroller General review of Army and Army National Guard recruiting regulations, policies, and procedures to determine if the Army and Army National Guard have processes in place to ensure that these regulations and policies are being adhered to by recruiters in the States and territories.
  • An amendment to freeze the transfer of Army National Guard AH-64s and end strength levels until a GAO study on the Army's structure plan is completed (Wilson-Enyart)
  • An amendment to codify the MAFFS mission under title 32 and provide equal survivor benefits as those under title 10 (Peters)
  • An amendment that requires the Secretary of the Army to provide a plan for the modernization of National Guard UH-60s (Wilson)
  • An amendment to better define the role of the National Guard counter drug program to include counter drug school (Palazzo)
  • An amendment to prevent the retirement of A-10 aircraft (Barber)
  • An amendment to increase funding to the State Partnership Program by $10M (Bridenstine)
  • An amendment to limit funding to the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force until prior year funding for C-130 AMP is obligated and authorized (Bridenstine)
  • An amendment to prevent the Air Force from using appropriated funds to remove C-130 aircraft from a unit tasked with the modular airborne fire fighting system (MAFFS) mission until the Secretary of the Air Force certifies that the moves will not negatively impact the MAFFS mission (Lamborn)
  • An amendment to allow 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, ARNG and Deputy Director ARNG, Director ANG; Deputy Director ANG (Bordallo)

 

House Committee Moves MILCON Funding Bill

On 9 April, the House Appropriations Committee approved a draft Fiscal Year 2015 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs funding bill. The bill provides $165 billion in total funding including the Army and Air National Guard requested levels of funding, $126.9 million and $94.6 million respectively. The bill also includes an additional $245M to be used for military construction projects for the Army, Army Reserve, and Army National Guard.

An analysis of the bill can be found here.

 

Defense Budget Request Released

On 4 March, the President released the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Request. The request includes nearly $23.5 billion in funding within National Guard accounts. The request also outlines plans to restructure Army aviation. Also released with the request was the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review. Budget documents can be found here.

Analysis of the President's Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Request

FY15 MILCON

 

President Signs Funding Bill

On 17 January the President signed a $1.1 trillion funding bill for Fiscal Year 2014. The bill includes all 12 appropriations bill and comes nearly a month after Congress approved a two year budget resolution.

An analysis of the Appropriations bill can be found here.

 

FY14 Funding Bill Advances

On 15 January the House approved a $1.1 trillion funding bill for Fiscal Year 2014. The bill includes all 12 appropriations bill and comes nearly a month after Congress approved a two year budget resolution.

Also on 15 January the Senate approved a three-day extension on the current Continuing Resolution to fund the government through 18 Jan. The Senate is expected to pass the Fiscal Year 2014 funding bill before the Continuing Resolution expires.

An analysis of the Appropriations bill can be found here.

President Signs NDAA

On 26 December, the President signed H.R. 3304, the Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act.

The bill includes a number of important National Guard provisions. The bill would authorize certain State Partnership Program activities for two years. The bill would also authorize a pilot program that would allow the National Guard to better utilize the Inactive National Guard program. The bill also includes an expansive report on cyber activities including the role of the National Guard in those activities. The bill would also require a 180 day notification before the cancellation of a deployment of a reserve component deployment.

An analysis of the bill can be found here.

NDAA Sent to President

Late in the evening on 19 December, the Senate passed H.R. 3304, the Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act. The House previously passed the bill on 12 December.

The compromise includes a number of important National Guard provisions. The bill would authorize certain State Partnership Program activities for two years. The bill would also authorize a pilot program that would allow the National Guard to better utilize the Inactive National Guard program. The bill also includes an expansive report on cyber activities including the role of the National Guard in those activities. The bill would also require a 180 day notification before the cancellation of a deployment of a reserve component deployment.

An analysis of the bill can be found here.

NDAA Moves Forward

After spending the Thanksgiving recess working through a number of issues, the House and Senate were able to unveil a compromise bill, H.R. 3304 (link to attached bill). The House quickly passed the bill before leaving for the year. The Senate is expected to pass the bill this week before leaving for the week.

The compromise includes a number of important National Guard provisions. The bill would codify the State Partnership Program and authorize certain activities for two years. The bill would also authorize a pilot program that would allow the National Guard to better utilize the Inactive National Guard program. The bill also includes an expansive report on cyber activities including the role of the National Guard in those activities. The bill would also require a 180 day notification before the cancellation of a deployment of a reserve component deployment.

An analysis of the bill can be found here. The explanatory statement can be found here.

Senate Unable to Pass NDAA

The Senate unsuccessfully attempted to pass its version of the Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) before leaving for a two-week Thanksgiving break. The Senate was unable to agree on the number of the nearly 350 amendments to consider during floor debate. As a result the bill was left unfinished and its future unknown. The Senate will return on 9 December; however it is unclear when the Senate will again consider the NDAA. The House passed their version of the NDAA in June.

An analysis of the NDAA as passed by the House and approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee can be found here.

Fiscal Year 2014 Funding Makes Progress

Before the August recess, the House will have passed its version of the Fiscal Year 2014 Defense Appropriations Act and the Senate Appropriations Committee will have approved their version of the bill. The House passed their bill, H.R. 2397 (link to attached bill), on 24 July. The bill includes an additional $130 million for National Guard Counter Drug plans, an additional $15 million for Youth ChalleNGe, additional funding for State Directors of Psychological Health, additional UH-60M procurement for the Army National Guard, and an additional $50 million to assist in equipping Air National Guard units transitioning to MQ-1/9 remote split operations. The bill also includes $1.5 billion in NGREA with $400 million for the Army National Guard and $500 million for the Air National Guard. The bill would also prevent the use of funds to carry out furloughs of dual status technicians.

"The Senate draft version of the bill includes $315 million each for the Army and Air National Guard in NGREA. The bill also includes an additional $130 million for National Guard Counter Drug plan, an additional $10 million for Youth ChalleNGe, and an additional $28 million for STARBASE, and additional funding for State Directors of Psychological Health. The Senate bill also includes additional funding for Air National Guard units transitioning to MQ-1/9 remote split operations."

An analysis of the bill can be found here.

NDAA Moves Forward

During the week of 10 June, both the House and Senate made progress on the Fiscal Year 2014 NDAA. The House passed their version of the bill after three days of debate and amendments. During debate the House did not approve an amendment that would have prevent the expenditure of funds by the Army National Guard on professional sports sponsorship. The bill includes a provision that would codify the State Partnership program as well as a provision requested by the Army National Guard to provide temporary authority for the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of the Air Force to maintain an active status and an inactive status list of members in the inactive National Guard.

An analysis of the bills as approved by the House and Senate Armed Services Committees can be found here.

Senate Appropriations Work Begins

On 17 June, the Senate Appropriations Military Construction Subcommittee approved their version of the Fiscal Year 2014 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill. The bill text is not yet available.

The House passed their version of the bill on 4 June. The bill provides $315,815,000 for the Army National Guard which is $5,000,000 below the request. The bill also provides 107,800,000 for the Air National Guard account which is $12,000,000 below the request.

The Senate Appropriations Committee will vote on the bill on 20 June.

Appropriators Approve Fiscal Year 2014 Spending Bill

On 12 June, the House Appropriations Committee approved the draft Fiscal year 2014 Defense Appropriations bill. The Mark, that had been approved earlier by the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, includes additional funding for Army and Air National Guard Operations and Maintenance accounts, including an additional $5 million for mental health care for the Army National Guard. The bill also provides $400 million for Army National Guard NGREA and $500 million for Air National Guard NGREA. Also included in the bill is an additional $130 million for the National Guard Counter Drug program and an additional $5 million for the Youth ChalleNGe program. The bill also provides $25 million for STARBASE, a program that was not funded in the budget request.

An analysis of the bill as approved by the Defense Subcommittee can be found here.

HASC Approves FY14 NDAA

Early in the morning on 6 June, the House Armed Services Committee approved their mark of the Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act. The bill includes numerous provisions related to the National Guard, notably a provision that codifies the State Partnership Program. Other highlights of the mark include:

  • A provision that would require the service secretaries to provide Reserve Component members or units notification 120 days in advance of being ordered to deployment or being notified that such deployment has been canceled, postponed, or otherwise altered.
  • A provision that would provide temporary authority for the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of the Air Force to maintain an active status and an inactive status list of members in the inactive National Guard.
  • A provision that prohibits the Secretary of the Air Force from terminating the C-130H Avionics Modernization Program.

The text of all National Guard related amendments adopted during full-committee mark-up can be found here.

The House will likely take up the bill during the week 10 June. The Senate Armed Services Committee will also begin work on their version of the bill the week of 10 June.

An analysis of the bill as approved by the House Armed Services Committee and introduced by the Senate can be found here.

Defense Appropriations Bill Moves Forward

On 5 June the House Defense Appropriations marked-up their version of a draft Fiscal Year 2014 Defense Appropriations bill. The draft bill released on 4 June included funding for the Army and Air National Guard personnel accounts below the request and the operations and maintenance accounts above the request. An analysis of the bill can be found here the Draft Committee Report can be found here.

House Passes FY14 MILCON Funding Bill

On 4 June, the House passed H.R. 2216 the Fiscal Year 2014 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill. The bill provides $315,815,000 for the Army National Guard which is $5,000,000 below the request. The bill also provides 107,800,000 for the Air National Guard account which is $12,000,000 below the request. An analysis of the draft bill can be found here. The bill as passed by the House can be found here.

The Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to begin work on their version of the bill during the week of 17 June.

Defense Appropriations Introduced

The House Defense Appropriations released a draft Fiscal Year 2014 Defense Appropriations bill. The Subcommittee is scheduled to mark-up the draft on 5 June. The draft includes funding for the Army and Air National Guard personnel accounts below the request and the operations and maintenance accounts above the request. The bill also includes a total of $1.5B for NGREA (service breakouts are not available).

The draft bill can be found here and the analysis can be found here here.

Fiscal Year 2014 NDAA Takes Shape

The House Armed Services Committee began work on the Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization during the week of 20 May. On 22 May the Strategic Forces, Intelligence, Seapower and Projection Forces, and Personnel Subcommittees approved their sections of the bill without amendment. The Tactical Air and Land Forces and Readiness Subcommittees approved their sections on 23 May.

National Guard related highlights of the Marks include:

  • A provision that would require the service secretaries to provide Reserve Component members or units notification 120 days in advance of being ordered to deployment or being notified that such deployment has been canceled, postponed, or otherwise altered.
  • A provision that would provide temporary authority for the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of the Air Force to maintain an active status and an inactive status list of members in the inactive National Guard.
  • A provision that prohibits the Secretary of the Air Force from terminating the C-130H Avionics Modernization Program.
  • The Committee report also includes language that requires the Secretary of Defense to provide a report that assesses the full cost of Reserve Component manpower.

The full Armed Services Committee is schedule to work on the bill 5 June. The Senate Armed Services Committee will begin work on their version of the bill the week of 10 June.

House Begins Fiscal Year 2014 Appropriations Process

On 15 May, the House Appropriations Committee marked-up the first Fiscal Year 2014 funding bill. The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee took up a draft bill that provides a total of $73.3 billion, which would fund all Active Component accounts and the Army and Air National Guard accounts below the request. The Army National Guard account is $5,000,000 below the request while the Air National Guard account is $12,000,000 below the request. An analysis of the draft bill can be found here and the draft Committee report can be found here.

House Introduces Fiscal Year 2014 NDAA

On 14 May, Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA-25), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee introduced H.R. 1960 (link to attached bill). The bill includes provisions submitted by the Department of Defense. The Committee is expected to begin marking-up the bill the week of 20 May and finish in early June. An analysis of the bill as introduced can be found here.

President releases Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Request

On 10 April, the President released the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Request. Request includes $525.4 billion in discretionary funding for the base Department of Defense budget. This includes nearly $24.8 billion in base funding within National Guard accounts. This reflects a decrease of 2.55 percent or about $64.9 billion below the Fiscal Year 2013 enacted levels. An analysis of the Request can be found here. All National Guard related budget documents can be found here. A guide to the National Guard's Fiscal Year 2014 Military Construction request and Future Years Defense Program can be found here.

President Signs FY13 Funding Bill

On 26 March, the President signed H.R. 933, a Fiscal Year 2013 funding bill. The bill would provide full Fiscal Year 2013 funding for the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, Homeland Security, Commerce, and Justice, and a number of programs funded under Science appropriations. The bill would continue to fund other departments and government programs under another Continuing Resolution.

The bill includes numerous provisions to support the National Guard as an operational force. The bill funds most National Guard accounts at or above requested levels with the exception of Army National Guard Personnel.

The bill includes additional funding to maintain additional Air National Guard aircraft above those funded in the original Fiscal Year 2013 budget. The bill also provides additional procurement funding for Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems (MAFFS 2) units as well as additional funding for F-15 AESA radars for the Air National Guard.

The bill also increases funding to support the Army National Guard. The bills would provide an additional $100 million in Army Procurement for ARNG HMMWV modernization. The bill would also procure one additional LUH for the Army National Guard to replace a training loss. The bill includes a $199 million program increase for UH-60M Blackhawks for the Army National Guard and an additional $110 million for UH-60 A to L conversions for the Army National Guard. The bill would also prohibit the retirement of C-23 aircraft and provides funding to maintain those aircraft.

For NGREA, the bill provides $460 million for each the Army and Air National Guard.

The bill also includes an additional $130 million for National Guard counter-drug state plans.

A full analysis of the bill can be found here and the Spending Tables can be found here.

Senior Department of Defense leaders continued their efforts to warn Congress about the impacts of sequestration

Earlier this month, members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff along with Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) Robert Hale provided members of Congress with examples of the impact of sequestration on the Department of Defense. Both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees held hearings to highlight the budget issues faced by the Department. During the Senate hearing, General Frank Grass, Chief of the National Guard Bureau said: "Sequestration will be devastating to the Department of Defense and the National Guard." On 26 February the Service Chiefs and GEN Grass carried a similar message to the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. Sequestration in scheduled to take effect beginning 1 March.

The NGB Public Affairs stories can be found here and here.

Defense Department Leaders Discuss Sequestration

Over two days, Members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff along with Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) Robert Hale provided members of Congress with examples of the impact of sequestration on the Department of Defense. Both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees held hearings to highlight the budget issues faced by the Department. During the Senate hearing, General Frank Grass, Chief of the National Guard Bureau said: "Sequestration will be devastating to the Department of Defense and the National Guard." Sequestration in scheduled to take effect beginning 1 March.

The NGB Public Affairs story can be found here.

President Signs Fiscal Year 2013 NDAA

On 2 January 2013, the President signed the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. The final bill was a compromise of the House bill and Senate bill passed in 2012.

Earlier versions of the bill included a complete freeze on fiscal year 2013 Air Force force strucutre moves. The final law, however, requires the Secretary of the Air Force to retain 32 additional intra-theater airlift aircraft above the force structure proposal dated 2 November 2012. The type and location of the aircraft are left to the discretion of the Air Force. The law also includes an increase in Air National Guard end strength to retain force structure. The law does not include a provision that would prohibit the retirement of C-23 aircraft.

Among other important provisions, the law also: creates a Commission to assess the future force structure of the Air Force; authorizes two additional Civil Support Teams; lowers the strategic airlift aircraft requirement to 275 after completion of a report; provides fixes to PDMRA; and prevents changes in BAH when transition between active duty and full-time National Guard duty.

An analysis of the law can be found here. The Joint Explanatory Statement can be found here.

Defense Appropriators Approve Senate Version of FY13 Appropriations Bill

On 2 Aug, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a draft Fiscal Year 2013 Defense Appropriations Act. The draft bill would provide $800 million to endorce a 'one-year strategic pause' of the Air Force force structure adjustments, with $255 million of that in Air National Guard operations and maintenance. The draft would also provide an additional $260 million for weapons systems sustainment for the Air National Guard and require the Air Force to continue to procure C-27J aircraft with previously appropriated funds. The draft also includes $1 billion for NGREA, with $300 million for the Army National Guar dand $240 million for the Air National Guard. The draft would also provide additional funding for Army National Guard UH-60 A to L upgrades, additional funding for Air National Guard F-15 AESA radar, an additional $20 million for National Guard outreach and reintegration programs, and an additional $113 million for Counter Drug State Plans.

In mid July, the House passed H.R. 5856, their version of the Fiscal Year 2013 funding bill. During general debate of the bill, Rep. Kaptur (D-OH-9), said that the Air Force budget "did not appear to appreciate the Guard and Reserve." She went on to say that the bill addresses the issues and will allow the Air National Guard to, "continue their mission which they do well, at considerably less cost than the Air Force does."

During debate, a number of amendments related to the National Guard were approved. The House approved an amendment from Rep. Gallegly (R-CA-25) that would reactivate the four MAFF-1 firefighting units and procure two additional MAFF units. An amendment, approved by the House, from Rep. Altmire (D-PA-4) would provide an additional $15.5M for the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, with $10M for the Army National Guard. A Rep. Bonamici (D-OR-1) amendment would require the National Guard to complete a capabilities assessment of medical equipment needed for ambulance HMMWVs used for domestic operations, with a focus on cardiac monitoring and resuscitation equipment.

The bill, as approved by the House Appropriations Committee, included a provision that would prohibit expenditures on professional sport sponsorship. During floor debate, Rep. Palazzo (R-MS-4) raised a point of order against this provision, stating the the provision violated the House rule prohibiting legislating on appropriations bills. The point of order was sustained, and the provision was removed from the bill. The issue of funding for NASCAR led to a long colloquy.

The bill, which was previously approved by the Appropriations Committee, includes an increase of $591.7 million in Air National Guard Operations and Maintenance funding to "pause" the retirement of Air National Guard aircraft and reducing Air National Guard units. The bill would also require the Air Force to procure the remaining 17 C-27J aircraft to bring the total to 38 aircraft.

For the Army National Guard, the bill would also provide an additional $100 million for HMMWV upgrades, funding for ten additional UH-60M aircraft , additional funding for UH-60A to UH-60L upgrades, and funding for three additional UH-72 aircraft for the Army National Guard. The bill also prohibits the retirement of C-23 aircraft.

The bill would provides $2 billion for NGREA, with $650 million each for the Army and Air National Guard. The bill would allow up to three percent of that NGREA funding for Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation.

The bill also provides an additional $130 million for National Guard Counter Drug programs.

An analysis of the bills can be found here. The House Committee Report can be found here. The Senate Committee Report can be found here.

Senate Confirms National Guard Nominees

On 26 July, the Senate confirmed the nominations of LTG Frank Grass to the grade of General and to be the Chief of the National Guard Bureua and Maj Gen Joseph Lengyel to the grade to Lieutenant General and to be the Vice Chief of the National Guard Bureau. The Committee also approved the nomination of LTG John Kelly to the grade of General and Commander of SOUTHCOM.

Earlier this month the Committee held a hearing to hear testimony for LTG Grass, Gen Welsh, and LTG Kelly.

MILCON Funding Bill Passed in House

On 31 May, the House passed H.R. 5854, the Fiscal Year 2013 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs spending bill. The bill funds the Army and Air National Guard at the requested levels.

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved their version of the bill, S. 3215, on 22 May. Their bill also funds the Army and Air National Guard at the requested levels.

An anlaysis of the bills can be found here.

House Passes FY13 NDAA

On 18 May, the House passed H.R. 4310, the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act.

During debate the House considered 142 amendments. The House approved multiple amendments that impact the National Guard including: an amendment that would clarify and expand the authorities of the State Partnership Program; an amendment to authorize two additional Civil Support Teams; an amendment that would allow for a pilot program for public-private partnerships to enhance mental health for National Guardsmen; an amendment to provide the sense of Congress that the Aerospace Control Alert mission is vital to the national security; an amendment allowing for coordination between the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program and Small Business Development Centers; and an amendment to provide compensation for individuals that lost PDMRA benefits; an amendment requiring a report on the decision to close Air National Guard Component Numbered Air Force Augmentation Force; and an amendment to retain the core functions at the Air Traffic Control Station at Johnstown Air National Guard Base.

The bill the House took up includes a number of National Guard related provisions. Of note, the bill would prohibit the divestiture, retirement, or transfer of any C-23 aircraft or Air Force aircraft and increase Air National Guard end strength and full time support above the requested levels and hold them at roughly Fiscal Year 2012 levels.

The bill also includes numerous National Guard related provisions. Among other things, the bill would create a State Partnership Program Center of Excellence, require a report on the analysis behind any future C-130 retirements, require a report on the Army's airlift needs, prohibit the retirement of C-27J aircraft, codify the Staff Assistant position on the Joint Staff for National Guard and Reserve matters, authorize automatic Federal recognition of Army Guard Warrant Officers promoted to Chief Warrant Officers, protect BAH funding for transferring full-time National Guardsmen, and extend TRICARE coverage for Guard members involuntarily separated due to force structure changes. Committee report language also touches National Guard issues such as Yellow Ribbon Outreach, increased utilization of the UH-72, disestablishment of two WMD CSTs, and the National Guard's role in cyber security.

The Senate Armed Services Committee is scheduled to begin working on their bill, S. 2467, during the week of 21 May. The Subcommittees will mark on 22-23 May with the full Committee marking 23-25 May.

An analysis of the HASC approved bill and the Senate introduced bill can be found here. The HASC approved bill can be found here.

National Guard Leaders Discuss Budget on Hill

National Guard senior leaders spent the week on the Hill providing testimony about the Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Request. On 28 March, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, General McKinley, along with the Directors of the Army and Air National Guard provided testimony to the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee. During the hearing members asked about the quality and quantity of National Guard equipment. In his opening statement, General McKinley stated that, "The National Guard is a more ready, more capable, and more rapidly deployable force than ever in our nation's history." He went on to highlight the National Guard's role as an operational force and recent contributions at home and abroad. Members of the Committee were very complimentary of Guardsmen. Both Representatives Cole (R-OK-9) and Calvert (R-CA-7) said that the National Guard is the best bang for the buck.

Also this week, the Deputy Directors of the Army and Air National Guard provided testimony at separate hearings on the Military Construction Request at the Senate Appropriations Military Construction Subcommittee.

Hearings provide an opportunity for members of the House and Senate to learn about the specifics of the National Guard's budget request.

Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Released

The details of the Fiscal Year 2013 President's Budget were transmitted to the Hill during the second week of February, officially starting the budget process. The budget includes $28 billion for the National Guard. The Army National Guard Personnel and Operations and Maintenance account requests are above the Fiscal Year 2012 funding levels and reflect the increasing role of the National Guard as an operational force. The Air National Guard accounts reflect the Air Force plan to lower personnel and aircraft levels within the total Air Force. The first budget hearing will be held on 14 February with the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs tesifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee. The will be followed with hearings before the House Armed Services Committee on 15 Feb and the House Defense Appropriations Subcommitte on 16 Feb. A regularly updated list of all hearings can be found here.

An analysis of the budget request can be found here and National Guard budget documents can be found here. All National Guard military construction projects in the Fiscal Year 2013 request and the Future Years Defense Programs can be found here.

DOD Releases New Strategic Guidance and Budget Preview

In coordination with development of the Fiscal Year 2013 budget, the Department of Defense has released a new strategy and guidance for the armed forces. To meet the budget cutting requirements of the Budget Control Act of 2011 the Department examined the future roles and missions of the armed forces. During a January press conference, the Department released a document outlining the Priorities for the 21st Century as well as an accompanying fact sheet. The Department also released the Joint Operational Access Concept document that outlines the requirements needed for joint forces to operate in emerging threat scenarios.

The Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Request release has been delayed a week from the customary timeline and will reach Congress on 13 Feb. On 26 January, the Department held a press conference and provided a preview of the full budget release. The Deparment also released a document entitled Defense Priorities and Choices that outlines the major areas impacted by the budget.