HASC Approves FY2016 NDAA

HASC Approves FY2016 NDAA

After 18 hours of debate, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) adopted the FY2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) as amended during its deliberations.  For space programs, little changed from the subcommittee markup last week.

The markup of H.R. 1735 began on time at 10:00 am ET on Wednesday and ended at 4:39 am ET today (per Politico).  The only lengthy break was to hear Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s address to a joint session of Congress Wednesday morning.

Among the dozens of amendments debated, only a few affected space programs.  Three “sense of Congress” amendments were adopted as part of an en bloc package (Rogers 2) submitted by Strategic Forces chairman Mike Rogers (R-AL).  Sense of Congress statements basically assert how Congress feels about an issue, but do not require action. Two were offered by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) and one by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) saying it is the sense of Congress that —

  • as outlined in the 2010 National Space Policy, the United States should help assure the use of space for all responsible parties and deter others from interference and attack, defend U.S. and allied systems, and, if deterrence fails, defeat efforts to attack them (Lamborn);
  • a robust multi-mission space sensor network will be vital to ensuring a strong missile defense system (Lamborn); and
  • the Secretary of Defense should evaluate options for using current DOD assets for the purpose of rapid reconstitution of critical space-based warfighter enabling capabilities (Bishop).

Separately, Rep. Trent Franks  (R-AZ) offered an amendment (207r1) directing the Missile Defense Agency to “commence the concept definition, design, research, development, and engineering evaluation of a space-based ballistic missile intercept and defeat layer to the ballistic missile defense system.”  The amendment has a list of specifications and requires a report to Congress one year after enactment of the law with an interim briefing by March 31, 2016.  The amendment was adopted 35-27.

At the very end of the markup, another en bloc amendment (Full Committee En Bloc #5) was adopted that included one sponsored by Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA).  The amendment (159r2) modifies section 1606 on acquisition strategy for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program by adding more requirements to ensure full and open competition.

A webcast of the markup and all the amendments and their disposition are on the committee’s website, which has a special section specifically for the NDAA.

Apart from those minor changes, the bill that cleared the committee this morning is the same as what emerged from subcommittee markup last week regarding space programs.

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