Compromise Defense Bill Unveiled
The compromise defense policy bill unveiled Tuesday includes both short and long-term reviews of Army force structure, and contains a prohibition on transferring any Apache helicopters from the Army National Guard to the regular Army for the remainder of the fiscal year.
The bill, the Carl Levin and Howard P. “Buck” McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015, is expected to come to a final vote in the House and Senate next week.
In addition to blocking the transfer of Apache helicopters, the bill also prohibits reducing any personnel related to the helicopter transfer.
Within 90 days, lawmakers want an update from Army Secretary John McHugh on the planning assumptions and scenarios being used to determine size and force structure of the Army for 2016 and beyond. The report should include a description of any alternative force structures being considered, with a listing of the advantages and disadvantages of each option. Lawmakers also want cost estimates for each option, and an updated evaluation of active and reserve component force structure needed to meet U.S. national security goals.
For a longer term review, lawmakers are creating a National Commission on the Future of the Army, an eight-member panel to make recommendations on the Army’s current and future force structure. The panel would consider current and anticipated missions, and weigh acceptable levels of national risk, in coming up with recommendations.
The commission is asked to consider lifecycle costs, the cost differences between having capabilities in the active or reserve forces and the reversibility of any cuts and how many people are needed in the Army to maintain an acceptable operating tempo for active and reserve soldiers.
The commission report would be due on Feb. 1, 2016.