What You Need To Know About The 2016 Defense Spending Bill That Obama May Veto

news
Sen. John McCain addresses military leaders during the U.S. Senate Arms Services Committee's hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., June 4, 2013.
DoD Photo by Staff Sgt. Sean K. Harp

The Senate voted 67 to 29 on Oct. 7 to end debate on the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act. The bill, which lays out defense policy and spending limits for the Pentagon for fiscal year 2016, is now slated to be handed off to the president. The House passed the bill Oct. 1 at a vote of 270 to 156.


The 2016 NDAA is a measure put forth to address emerging global threats through policy while funding the advancement of defense technology and providing adequate veterans’ benefits in the face of continued fiscal strain. The budget levels out at a total of $611.9 billion for all national defense programs, including discretionary spending. Of that, $495.5 billion will be allocated to the Pentagon’s annual base budget for 2016.

This bill is one of only a few bipartisan pieces of legislation to pass through Congress for more than 50 years. In place of the usual partisan squabbles encountered throughout the legislative process, the NDAA’s greatest threat comes in the form of a veto from President Barack Obama.

In a White House news conference on Sept. 30, press secretary Josh Earnest called the bill an “irresponsible way to fund our national defense priorities.”

Controversy surrounding the bill stems from the 2016 NDAA’s provisions that circumvent the defense spending caps enacted in 2011; keep open the detention facilities at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; and add $90 billion to the Pentagon’s overseas contingency operations account.

A number of congressional members laud the 2016 NDAA for supporting the men and women of the armed services and fighting global threats, like the Islamic State.

Vietnam veteran and Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Sen. John McCain, a Republican from Arizona, told reporters after the vote, “This [veto] would be one of the most disgraceful acts of any president.”

Despite continued cuts to both the budget and and troop numbers, the bill plans to provide a number of improved benefits to troops, including a 1.3 percent pay increase to service members. The language also includes provisions requiring coordination between the Defense Department and Veterans Affairs on a range of issues — much needed in light of the exposed mismanagement within the department.

Additionally, the Defense Department plans to replace the current 20-year, all-or-nothing retirement deal with a "blended" compensation system featuring an investment plan similar to a 401(k) and a one sum option.

Unfortunately, basic housing allowance will be steadily reduced to 95 percent, and Tricare insurance co-pays will rise for those who decide to fill prescriptions off-base.

Other provisions include authorizing lethal assistance to Ukrainian forces fighting against rebels backed by Russia, banning the CIA from using torture, and allocating $715 million to help Iraqi forces defend against the Islamic State.

In light of the recent shootings targeting service members in Little Rock, Arkansas; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Fort Hood, Texas; the 2016 NDAA gives the defense secretary discretion in allowing post commanders to permit members of the armed forces to carry firearms at military installations.

Additionally, the bill provides for continued support to Afghan troops throughout the drawdown process. Roughly 9,800 U.S. troops will remain there through the end of this year.

If Obama vetoes the bill, the 2016 NDAA will be up for a revote, which will require 60 or more votes to pass.

Photo: U.S. Army Courtesy photo

Fort Hood's Air Assault School was renamed after Command Sgt. Maj. Basil L. Plumley on Thursday.

Read More Show Less
An E-2D Hawkeye assigned to the Bluetails of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121 lands on the flight deck aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Will Hardy)

Editor's Note: This article by Oriana Pawlyk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

While attempting to land on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln in the Arabian Sea earlier this month, an E-2D Hawkeye propeller aircraft struck two F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft and sent debris flying into two other F/A-18s on the flight deck, according to the Naval Safety Center.

Read More Show Less

Nobody can be told what The Matrix is; you have to see it for yourself.

More than two decades after The Matrix showed the world what the future of the sci-fi action flick could look like, Warner Bros. Pictures plans on producing a fourth installment of the groundbreaking epic saga, Variety first reported on Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
Sailors from Coastal Riverine Squadron (CRS) 1 conduct category III qualifications on the M2A1 heavy machine gun at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. CRS-1 is qualifying for future mobilization requirements. (U.S. Navy/Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Kenji Shiroma)

The Navy is considering giving Ma Deuce a quiet new update.

Read More Show Less
A competitor performs push-ups during the physical fitness event at the Minnesota Army National Guard Best Warrior Competition on April 4, 2019, at Camp Ripley, Minnesota. (Minnesota National Guard photo by Sgt. Sebastian Nemec)

Despite what you may have heard, the Army has not declared war on mustaches.

The Army W.T.F! Moments Facebook page on Monday posted a memo written by a 3rd Infantry Division company commander telling his soldiers that only the fittest among them will be allowed to sprout facial hair under their warrior nostrils.

"During my tenure at Battle Company, I have noticed a direct correlation between mustaches and a lack of physical fitness," the memo says. "In an effort to increase the physical fitness of Battle Company, mustaches will not be authorized for any soldier earning less than a 300 on the APFT [Army Physical Fitness Test]."

Read More Show Less