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House Armed Services Committee: Skelton Calls for Vote to Support Troops in Afghanistan and Iraq

July 6, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Syndicated Industry News 
House Armed Services Committee: Skelton Calls for Vote to Support Troops in Afghanistan and Iraq
Ike Skelton, Chairman
July 1, 2010

Washington, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) released the statement below calling for a House vote on the Senate version of the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010, which includes $37.12 billion for our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq:

“We are fighting two wars, and our forces in Afghanistan and Iraq need this additional funding to continue our efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and eventually defeat the terrorists who threaten America.

“The quickest way to get a bill to the President that supports our troops in the field is for the House to vote on the Senate bill. Our troops need this support, and we must send a bill to the President without delay.”

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House Armed Services Committee: Opening Statement of Chairman Ike Skelton Hearing on Army Investigation of Arlington National Cemetery

June 30, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Syndicated Industry News 
House Armed Services Committee: Opening Statement of Chairman Ike Skelton Hearing on Army Investigation of Arlington National Cemetery
Ike Skelton, Chairman
June 30, 2010

Opening Statement of Chairman Ike Skelton
Hearing on Army Investigation of Arlington National Cemetery

Washington, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) delivered the following opening statement during today’s hearing to review the Army investigation of Arlington National Cemetery:

“Good morning. The hearing will come to order. Today the Committee will receive testimony about the management of Arlington National Cemetery. Our witnesses include John McHugh, Secretary of the Army, and Lieutenant General R. Steven Whitcomb, Inspector General of the Army. Welcome to you both.

“I am angry, period. Anger is generally not a useful emotion, particularly here on Capitol Hill. However, in light of the recent revelations about the management of Arlington National Cemetery, I am just downright angry.

“Arlington Cemetery is our nation’s most hallowed ground. It is reserved as the final resting place of our heroic warriors. Management ineptitude and neglect have resulted in a web of errors. How in the world could this tragedy be allowed to happen?

“Behind the façade of what appeared to be well orchestrated burial services, investigations now reveal a dysfunctional management team operating without any oversight. We all know people who are buried there—people we respect and whose memory we hold dear. Every American, whether they have a loved one buried at Arlington or not, should be outraged.

“Secretary McHugh, I know that you have already done much to right this wrong, but I cannot understand how the Army has allowed the problem to fester for years. There is clear evidence that in 1992 the Army was aware of a level of leadership discord at Arlington that would not have been tolerated in any other organization. The situation cried out for intervention, but the Army’s response was to further withdraw from Arlington Cemetery operations.

“Let me make clear that the uniformed service members who so proudly conduct the military honors ceremonies with such grace and precision are not part of this problem. We are so proud of those young men and women who continue to provide those ceremonies during these troubled times at Arlington Cemetery.

“Sadly, notwithstanding the efforts of the Army, the way forward offers many difficult challenges. Given the limited nature of the investigation up until now, I am afraid that the 200 irregularities associated with gravesites may only be a fraction of the problem. We must be prepared that a 100 percent survey of the cemetery and all of its operations, which I believe must now be undertaken, will yield a larger number of problems that must be addressed.

“The American people and especially our military families expect that those who wear the uniform of this Nation and have made the ultimate sacrifice are afforded the upmost respect and dignity even after their death. They deserve no less.”

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House Armed Services Committee: Skelton Statement on President’s Decision to Change Commanders in Afghanistan

June 23, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: afghanistan, Syndicated Industry News 
House Armed Services Committee: Skelton Statement on President’s Decision to Change Commanders in Afghanistan
Ike Skelton, Chairman
June 23, 2010

Skelton Statement on President’s Decision to Change Commanders in Afghanistan

Washington, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) released the following statement on the President’s decision to accept General Stanley McChrystal’s resignation and appoint General David Petraeus as commander in Afghanistan:

“General Petraeus is the best that we have. I have great confidence in his ability to bring about a successful outcome in Afghanistan. The Commander-in-Chief must have confidence in his commanders in the field. It is time to move on and return our focus to waging the war in Afghanistan.”

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House Armed Services Committee: Skelton Statement on General McChrystal Profile

June 22, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: afghanistan, Syndicated Industry News 
House Armed Services Committee: Skelton Statement on General McChrystal Profile
Ike Skelton, Chairman
June 22, 2010

Skelton Statement on General McChrystal Profile

Washington, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) released the following statement regarding the recent profile on General Stanley McChrystal:

"I was disappointed by the Rolling Stone profile of General McChrystal, and I hope that we will be able to sort this out soon and move forward so we can get back to winning the war in Afghanistan. Nothing is more important than defeating the terrorists who want to harm us. That should be paramount."

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House Armed Services Committee: Skelton Announces June 30 Hearing on Arlington National

June 17, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Syndicated Industry News 
House Armed Services Committee: Skelton Announces June 30 Hearing on Arlington National Cemetery
Ike Skelton, Chairman
June 17, 2010

Skelton Announces June 30 Hearing on Arlington National Cemetery

Washington, D.C. – Today House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) announced that the full committee will hold a hearing on the Army Inspector General’s report on mismanagement at Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday, June 30, 2010.

“Arlington National Cemetery is a sacred place, and it is important for us to make sure the Army is taking all of the necessary steps to keep such egregious actions from ever happening again. I want our witnesses to explain how they plan to correct the management problems at Arlington,” said Skelton.

Hearing on Arlington National Cemetery
10:00 a.m. – Wednesday, June 30, 2010
2118 Rayburn House Office Building

Invited witnesses:

The Honorable John McHugh
Secretary of the Army

Lieutenant General R. Steven Whitcomb
Army Inspector General

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House Armed Services Committee: Opening Statement of Chairman Ike Skelton Hearing on Developments in Afghanistan

June 16, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: afghanistan, Syndicated Industry News 
House Armed Services Committee: Opening Statement of Chairman Ike Skelton Hearing on Developments in Afghanistan
Ike Skelton, Chairman
June 16, 2010

Opening Statement of Chairman Ike Skelton Hearing on Developments in Afghanistan

Washington, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) delivered the following opening statement during today’s hearing on developments in Afghanistan.

“Today, the House Armed Services Committee meets to receive testimony on ‘Developments in Afghanistan.’ Our witnesses today are two old friends: the Honorable Michèle Flournoy, the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy; and General David Petraeus, Commander of United States Central Command. Welcome, both of you.

“Before I begin, I would like to take the opportunity to thank the many brave men and women serving under General Petraeus in Afghanistan, Iraq, and throughout Central Command for their service. I know I speak on all the members’ behalf, General, when I ask you to convey our heartfelt thanks to those soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines. We are truly blessed to have such heroes working on behalf of our nation.

“In recent weeks, reports from Afghanistan have been largely negative. We hear that operations in Marjah are not going as expected and the Taliban has begun a campaign of murder and intimidation there; the Kandahar operation has been postponed while the Taliban have been assassinating local government officials; U.S. and coalition casualties are increasing; and in some cases the United States has been contracting with the very warlords who intimidate the people of Afghanistan and undermine our efforts there.

“To some, these reports reflect what they have always suspected—that our efforts in Afghanistan are futile. I do not share this view. Last fall, I advocated for a counter-insurgency campaign as the course most likely to prevent al Qa’ida from reestablishing a safe haven in Afghanistan, and I still believe this to be true. While we face many challenges in Afghanistan, the type of challenges we face now were largely expected—as we surged troops, there would be hard fighting and many setbacks. I believe that this is the dark before the dawn.

“Let me be clear—we face serious challenges in Afghanistan. But after many years of neglect in Afghanistan, there are positive signs as well—General McChrystal has reported that security is no longer declining; local populations are increasingly pointing out improvised explosive devices; and while we desperately need more trainers from NATO, the recruiting of new personnel for the Afghan security forces is ahead of schedule.

“Increased cooperation with key nations in the region during the past year has also shown signs of success. Our Pakistani allies have arrested senior members of the Taliban leadership, while the Afghan government and our forces have had great success targeting the local shadow governors. Further, we must remember that not all of our forces are deployed yet, which must happen before we rush to judgment.

“I do not doubt that we can face down the insurgency on the field of battle. While our troops are tired from many deployments, those same combat tours have made them into the best counterinsurgency force in history. What concerns me is the capacity of the Afghan government to sustain the military success provided by U.S. and Afghan troops. Ultimately, it is this ability that will convince the Afghan people to stand against al Qa’ida and the Taliban.

“In recent weeks, we have seen mixed signals about this capacity. President Karzai forced out two of his most competent and highly regarded ministers. Media stories repeatedly bring home examples of corruption undermining our efforts. And yet, at the same time, the Afghan government has forced out and prosecuted a number of government officials for corruption, including the former Border Police Chief for Kandahar.

“Further, data suggest that the Afghan people are showing increased confidence in their local governments and increased confidence that their national government is headed in the right direction. While small and not irreversible, these significant signs give us some hope of progress.

“This December, the President has promised to review the progress of his strategy in Afghanistan. I hope our witnesses can help us understand what this review will entail and set some expectations for it. December is a reasonable time to review progress—all the surge troops will have arrived on the ground and been undertaking operations for several months. But I hope our witnesses can help the members here understand more about what we expect to see before December, particularly in Kandahar, which is so critical in the forthcoming months. What progress do they expect to see among the Afghan security forces and the Afghan government?

“We all know Afghanistan will not become peaceful and successful overnight, but what signs are reasonable to expect and would represent enough progress to suggest we should continue on our present course? I hope our witnesses can help us with these questions.

“Thank you both for appearing here once again. I now turn to my good friend, our ranking member, Buck McKeon, for any comments he might care to make.”

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House Armed Services Committee: House Approves FY11 Defense Authorization Bill

May 28, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Syndicated Industry News 
House Armed Services Committee: House Approves FY11 Defense Authorization Bill
Ike Skelton, Chairman
May 28, 2010

Washington, DC – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 5136, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011, by a vote of 229 to 186.

“This year’s defense authorization bill makes record investments in our nation’s military, authorizing a $726 billion budget to further strengthen our national security, provide our men and women in uniform with the tools they need to do their jobs, and take care of our service members and their families. The bill provides the resources we need to sustain two wars today and be prepared for the wars of tomorrow – whenever and wherever they may be.

“This defense bill makes counterterrorism a priority, improving the ability of our military to protect themselves at home and abroad and providing them with the additional tools they need to disrupt, dismantle, and eventually defeat al Qaeda and its extremist allies. The bill increases funding to restore military readiness that has been strained by two wars, and also demonstrates our commitment to service members and their families by providing a pay raise and other benefits recognizing the personal sacrifices they make to keep our country safe and secure.

“This is an excellent bill and I want to thank the members of the House and particularly the members of the House Armed Services Committee for their efforts to make this the best bill possible for America’s national defense. Next, we await the Senate’s action on the defense authorization bill and look forward to sending a first-rate defense bill to the President for his signature.”

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House Armed Services Committee: Skelton Praises Bill Providing Relief for Disabled Military Retirees

May 28, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Syndicated Industry News 
House Armed Services Committee: Skelton Praises Bill Providing Relief for Disabled Military Retirees
Ike Skelton, Chairman
May 28, 2010

Skelton Praises Bill Providing Relief for Disabled Military Retirees

Washington, DC – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) praised legislation approved in the House of Representatives today that makes strides toward ending the disabled veterans tax known as concurrent receipt.

“Ending the disabled veterans tax has been a key priority for Congress, the President, and for military and veterans service organizations. I am pleased this legislation brings us closer to providing the benefits disabled military retirees deserve and have earned. While there is still more work to do, this legislation is the critical first step on the path to full concurrent receipt for this most deserving group of military retirees,” said Skelton.

H.R. 4213, the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act, includes a provision to provide full concurrent receipt of military retired pay paid by the Department of Defense and disability compensation paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs to those forced to prematurely leave their military careers due to disability retirement under chapter 61 of title 10, United States Code. The legislation ends the disabled veterans tax and provides full retirement and disability benefits to 77,000 of these disabled service members for two years, in anticipation of extending it to all 136,000 medically retired veterans over four years.

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House Armed Services Committee: Skelton Pleased by Progress on U.S.-Japan Security Issues

May 28, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Japan, Syndicated Industry News 
House Armed Services Committee: Skelton Pleased by Progress on U.S.-Japan Security Issues
Ike Skelton, Chairman
May 28, 2010

Skelton Pleased by Progress on U.S.-Japan Security Issues

Washington, DC – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) released the following statement on progress related to the realignment of U.S. Marines from Japan to Guam reflected by the Joint Statement of the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee:

“I am pleased that Japan and the United States have committed to a way forward for the realignment of U.S. Marines from Japan to Guam. I support the two sides’ reaffirmation of commitments regarding a Futenma replacement facility, and I am glad to see a common-sense approach to shared objectives involving environmental, training, land use and other issues. Today’s joint statement on these matters reaffirms the strength and vitality of the U.S.-Japan alliance at a time when North Korea’s aggression demands nothing less. I commend the President and the Government of Japan on their efforts to further strengthen the ties between our great nations.”

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House Armed Services Committee: Skelton on the FY11 Defense Authorization and “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”

May 25, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Syndicated Industry News 
House Armed Services Committee: Skelton on the FY11 Defense Authorization and “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”
Ike Skelton, Chairman
May 25, 2010

Washington, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) released the statement below regarding efforts to attach a repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” to the Fiscal Year 2011 National Defense Authorization Act:

“In testimony before the House Armed Services Committee this spring and in a recent letter, Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen asked Congress to defer any legislative action regarding ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ until after the Department of Defense completes its comprehensive review later this year. In a statement today, the Pentagon indicated that ideally, Secretary Gates continues to prefer that the Department complete this review before Congress considers legislation. This is a reasonable and responsible request that I respect.

“My position on this issue has been clear – I support the current policy and I will oppose any amendment to repeal ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’. I hope my colleagues will avoid jumping the gun and wait for DOD to complete its work.”

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House Armed Services Committee: Skelton-McKeon Resolution Honors Armed Forces and Veterans

May 25, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Syndicated Industry News 
House Armed Services Committee: Skelton-McKeon Resolution Honors Armed Forces and Veterans
Ike Skelton, Chairman
May 25, 2010

Skelton-McKeon Resolution Honors Armed Forces and Veterans

Washington, D.C. – As part of May’s Military Appreciation Month, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) and Ranking Member Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.) introduced H. Res. 1385, a resolution recognizing and honoring the courage and sacrifices of the members of the Armed Forces and veterans. Skelton delivered the remarks below during House debate on the resolution:

“May is Military Appreciation Month, and to honor our men and women in uniform and our veterans, I, along with my good friend from California, Mr. McKeon, have introduced H. Res. 1385.

“I grew up around veterans of the First World War. My father served in the Navy on board the U.S.S. Missouri in that conflict. And he, like so many young men who returned from that war, became the civic and political leaders of their day.

“Tom Brokaw wrote a best-selling book entitled The Greatest Generation, the saga of those who fought the two-front Second World War. These veterans changed the complexion of our country in every walk of life. Their experiences in war, sometimes on the battlefield, instilled in them tremendous confidence and sense of duty and, like the generation of war veterans before them, returned to hometowns across America, large and small, to become leaders in their communities.

“In 1950, President Harry S Truman ordered U.S. military intervention on the Korean Peninsula. In many respects, our participation in the Korean conflict has served as a model for the way our military operates today. Korea was the first multilateral United Nations operation, and it has become the longest standing peacekeeping operation in modern times. And while we are inclined to remember the leaders who ultimately brought us victory in the Korean War—Truman, MacArthur, Acheson, Walker, and Ridgeway—it is really the men and women who served so bravely to whom we pay tribute.

“The need to contain the spread of Communism brought U.S. service members to a small country in Southeast Asia called Vietnam. It was 1964 when Congress passed the Gulf of
Tonkin Resolution and 1973 before the last U.S combat troops left Vietnam. Much is owed to the men and women who served in that conflict, and it must be remembered that
those who fought and died in service to the United States in Southeast Asia are owed the appreciation of a grateful nation, even though so many did not receive the welcome home that they deserved.

“The Persian Gulf War was a tremendous display of U.S. military technology. But what must not be forgotten is that the swift end to combat operations was a result of a sound strategy and the ability of U.S. service personnel to carry out that strategy. And, of course, today, our men and women in uniform are engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan. I predict those returning from these conflicts will be another Great Generation. Rising from the sands of the Middle East, these veterans, who have toiled and fought there to bring peace and civilization back to those two beleaguered countries, are truly America’s future.

“In addition to large scale conflicts, U.S. military forces have been involved in far more small-scale contingency operations. In each instance, in numbers both large and small, the men and women of the United States’ Armed Forces have answered their nation’s call.

“So let us remember the importance of those who have worn the uniform and those who wear it today. They have served this nation, and now we must do right by them in Congress, in our communities, and in our everyday lives. Today, we honor their courage and their sacrifice, and to all of them we say thank you.”

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House Armed Services Committee: Skelton Welcomes Congressman Mark Critz

May 25, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Syndicated Industry News 
House Armed Services Committee: Skelton Welcomes Congressman Mark Critz
Ike Skelton, Chairman
May 25, 2010

Skelton Welcomes Congressman Mark Critz to House Armed Services Committee

Washington, DC – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) released the following statement on the appointment of Congressman Mark Critz (D-Pa.) to the House Armed Services Committee:

“I extend a warm welcome to Congressman Mark Critz of Pennsylvania as the newest member of the House Armed Services Committee. Congressman Critz’s assignment to the Armed Services Committee will allow him to focus on supporting our men and women in uniform and protecting our national security. I look forward to working with him as our committee continues its work on this year’s national defense authorization bill.”

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House Armed Services Committee: House Armed Services Committee Approves Fiscal Year 2011 Defense Authorization Bill

May 24, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Syndicated Industry News 
House Armed Services Committee: House Armed Services Committee Approves Fiscal Year 2011 Defense Authorization Bill
Ike Skelton, Chairman
May 19, 2010

House Armed Services Committee Approves Fiscal Year 2011 Defense Authorization Bill

Washington, DC – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) announced that H.R. 5136, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011, was reported favorably by the committee on a vote of 59 to 0. A detailed summary of the bill as reported is available here.

H.R. 5136 authorizes $567 billion in budget authority for the Department of Defense (DOD) and the national security programs of the Department of Energy (DOE). The bill also authorizes $159 billion to support overseas contingency operations during fiscal year 2011, and authorizes $34 billion for fiscal year 2010 supplemental appropriations for overseas contingency operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and to provide humanitarian and disaster assistance to assist victims following the earthquake in Haiti.

Skelton released the statement below following the committee’s approval of the defense authorization bill:

“This defense bill aligns our military strategy with the 21st century to sustain the 2 wars today and prepare for the threats of tomorrow – whatever and wherever they may be. The bill reflects our continued commitment to defend America, support U.S. service members and their families, and keep Americans safe.

“The bill makes counterterrorism a priority, improving the ability of our military to protect themselves at home and abroad and providing them with the additional tools they need to disrupt, dismantle, and eventually defeat al Qaeda and its extremist allies. The bill includes funds to implement the initial recommendations of the Fort Hood Follow-on Review conducted by the Department of Defense in the wake of the shooting at Fort Hood. The bill also addresses urgent force protection needs in Afghanistan, allowing DOD to cut through red tape by expanding rapid acquisition authority to deliver the resources needed to protect our troops.

“The bill enhances the capacity of the U.S. military, particularly the U.S. Special Operations Forces, to act directly against terrorist organizations. The bill also builds upon past efforts and creates new initiatives to discredit extremist ideology, increasing funds for research and taking additional steps to counter the use the Internet by extremists.

“Recognizing the important role that foreign nations play in helping us succeed in our fight against terrorists, the bill expands funding to build the partnership capacity of foreign military forces to participate in support of military and stability operations. The bill authorizes Coalition Support Funds to reimburse nations providing support in connection with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and with the broader counterterrorism and counterinsurgency mission in Pakistan to fight against al Qaeda, the Pakistan Taliban, and other violent extremists. The bill also extends the authorization of the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund to ensure the success of efforts to build the counterinsurgency capabilities of Pakistan’s security forces.

“Earlier this year, the President implemented a new counterinsurgency strategy in the way in Afghanistan to reverse the downward momentum from nearly a decade of no real plan under the previous administration. To better reflect these changes in the U.S. strategy, the bill requires a new semi-annual report on trends and developments in Afghanistan and requires reporting on progress in stopping the momentum of the Taliban and their allies, building the capacity of the Afghan National Security Forces, and building the capacity of the Afghan government.

“The bill also continues close Congressional oversight of operations in Iraq, requiring reports focused on the redeployment of U.S. troops and their equipment over the next few months, and on the development of military capabilities that are necessary for the Government of Iraq to stand on its own.

“The bill prepares America to deal with 21st century threats, moving away from the Cold War mindset to adopt smarter policies on issues such as missile defense and nonproliferation. The bill provides $10.3 billion, $361.6 million above the budget request, for ballistic missile defense and in support of the Administration’s Phased Adaptive Approach, which addresses immediate needs. To prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction and to reduce the risk that these weapons could fall into terrorists’ hands, the bill fully funds the DOD Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program and the DOE’s nonproliferation programs, which includes funding for the President’s effort to secure within four years all known vulnerable nuclear material around the world that can be used for weapons.

“Our military personnel are the heart and soul of our national security, and this bill makes sure that our troops and their loved ones are receiving the first class benefits that they deserve. To improve the quality of life for our forces and their families, the bill provides a 1.9 percent pay raise for all service members, continuing our efforts to reduce the pay raise gap between the uniformed services and the private sector. The bill also increases the maximum amount of hostile fire and imminent danger pay for the first time since 2004, and increases family separation allowance for our service members whose deployment or temporary duty requires them to live away from their families.

“The bill includes provisions based on the recommendations of the Defense Task Force on Sexual Assault in the Military Services, reflecting the committee’s commitment to protecting service members by improving DOD’s sexual assault prevention efforts and response to victims.

“The bill also allows TRICARE beneficiaries to extend coverage to their dependent children until age 26, the same benefit that was afforded to individuals with private insurance policies under the new health care law. Other initiatives to support military families include $345 million to modernize DOD schools, $65 million for Impact Aid education programs, and the creation of a new career development pilot program for military spouses.

“The strain of two wars has taken a toll on military readiness. To boost readiness and reduce the strain on our forces, the bill increases the size of the military by 7,000 Army troops and 500 Air Force personnel, and recognizes the Navy’s need to temporarily remain at a higher force size, which reflects the President’s budget request. The bill significantly increases Operation and Maintenance (O&M) funding to support the daily operations, training, and administration of U.S. military forces at home and abroad

“The bill also provides critical funds to restore equipment stocks, including $9.9 billion for Army and Marine Corps equipment reset and depot maintenance, $4.5 billion for depot maintenance of active and reserve Air Force aircraft, and $109 million for Navy ship and aircraft depot maintenance. To address National Guard and Reserve equipment shortfalls, the bill authorizes $7.2 billion to provide aircraft missiles, wheeled and tracked combat vehicles, ammunition, small arms, tactical radios, and other equipment.

“To help prepare for future military requirements, the bill authorizes major weapons programs and platforms that will protect our national security in the years ahead. Demonstrating our commitment to reverse the decline in the size of the Navy fleet, the bill authorizes 9 new ships, including 2 Virginia-class submarines, 2 DDG 51 destroyers, and 2 Littoral Combat Ships. The bill also authorizes F-35 competitive engine program, a necessary insurance policy on the trillion dollar Joint Strike Fighter program that will generate long term savings for taxpayers and also reduce the national security risk of depending on a single engine for ultimately 95 percent of our nation’s fighter fleet.

“In keeping with the committee’s interest and longstanding defense policy oversight, the bill seeks to improve the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) process. The bill replaces the QDR Independent Review Panel appointed by the Secretary of Defense with a National Defense Panel consisting of ten members, with the Secretary of Defense appointing two panel co-chairs, and the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees each appointing two members.

“Each year, members of the House Armed Services Committee work very hard to make this the best bill possible for our military and for our nation. I want to thank all of our members for helping our committee fulfill our Constitutional obligation to raise and support the U.S. Armed Forces.”

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House Armed Services Committee: Full Committee Mark-Up of H.R. 5136, The National Defense Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 2011

May 24, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Syndicated Industry News 
House Armed Services Committee: Full Committee Mark-Up of H.R. 5136, The National Defense Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 2011
Ike Skelton, Chairman
May 19, 2010

Opening Statement of Chairman Ike Skelton
Full Committee Mark-Up of H.R. 5136, The National Defense Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 2011

Washington, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) delivered the following opening statement during today’s full committee mark-up of H.R. 5136, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011:

“The committee meets today to consider the Chairman’s Mark for HR 5136, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011.

“Before describing this bill, allow me to once again express my pride in this committee. In my view, this is the most bipartisan committee in the House and certainly the hardest working. Although we call the bill before us the ‘Chairman’s Mark’, it really reflects the hard work of every member of this committee and the good ideas from both sides of the aisle.

“This year the committee builds on the hard work of past National Defense Authorization Acts, working to align the military strategy with the demands of the 21st Century to sustain the two wars of today and prepare for the threats of the future.

“I will leave the review of the subcommittee mark ups to the respective chairmen and ranking members, however, let me just highlight up front two of the most critical aspects of the bill.

“First, it includes a 1.9 percent pay raise, 0.5 percent more than the increase in cost of living. Second, this bill increases funding for readiness accounts by $12 billion over last year’s level. This additional funding is critical to addressing the deep readiness shortfalls inherited by the current Administration. Now, I want to take a moment to summarize the full committee mark.

“The full committee mark authorizes $33.1 billion in FY10 supplemental funding for the surge in Afghanistan and DOD operation in Haiti. It funds the FY11 Overseas Contingency Operations budget at $159.3 billion, providing sufficient funds to bring us closer to the end of the war in Iraq and to succeed in Afghanistan.

“This mark makes a major push on counterterrorism by:

• Providing $100 million to pay for the initial recommendations of the Ft. Hood Follow-on Task Force to help protect our service members at home;

• Providing $200 million to pay for urgently needed force protection requirements in Afghanistan, and permitting the Secretary to cut through red tape to ensure that they are fielded rapidly, and;

• Limiting transfers of detainees held at Guantanamo in the same way as last year and adding criteria for transfers overseas to ensure foreign countries can control them and prevent detainees from returning to the fight.

“The Mark also improves DOD’s ability to build the capacity of those nations who join with us to combat al Qaeda and their extremist allies. It increases funding for the 1206 program substantially, authorizes Coalition Support Funds, and extends the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund.

“Finally, allow me to take a moment to summarize a couple points of what members won’t find in this mark. You won’t find funding or authorization for the Department of Defense to modify the facility at Thompson, Illinois to hold detainees. And you won’t find any mention of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Mr. McKeon and I have spoken about this, we have agreed to support Admiral Mullen and Secretary Gates’ request for time to study the issue, and we do not support this issue being raised in this markup.

“Before turning to Mr. McKeon for his comments, allow me again to thank all the members of this committee for their hard work. In my opinion, this is the best committee on the Hill, and there is no committee I would rather chair.

“I now turn to my friend Mr. McKeon for any comments he might care to make.”

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House Armed Services Committee: Skelton on the Sinking of the Republic of Korea Navy Ship

May 22, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Syndicated Industry News 
House Armed Services Committee: Skelton on the Sinking of the Republic of Korea Navy Ship
Ike Skelton, Chairman
May 20, 2010

Skelton on the Sinking of the Republic of Korea Navy Ship

Washington, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) released the following statement on the report investigating the sinking of the Republic of Korea Navy Ship, the Cheonan:

“I am deeply troubled by the report issued today by a team of international investigators that points to the conclusion that North Korea was responsible for a torpedo attack against the Republic of Korea Navy Ship, the Cheonan, on March 26th. The loss of 46 Korean sailors on that ship was a tragedy and I strongly condemn any act of aggression by North Korea that led to their deaths.

“Today’s report suggests that North Korea has once again defied international law and undermined international peace and security, in direct violation of the Armistice Agreement. Such behavior is unacceptable.

“I am pleased that the Obama Administration is making efforts to fully support the Republic of Korea, both in securing justice for the 46 sailors killed in this attack and in its defense against further acts of aggression. And I encourage the Administration to continue working closely with the Republic of Korea and our other allies and partners to ensure peace and stability in the region.”

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House Armed Services Committee: Skelton, Thompson, Reyes to Hold Press Conference on Success Fighting Terrorists

May 6, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Syndicated Industry News 
House Armed Services Committee: Skelton, Thompson, Reyes to Hold Press Conference on Success Fighting Terrorists
Ike Skelton, Chairman
May 6, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. –House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas), will hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. in the House Radio-TV Gallery (HVC-107). The Chairmen will discuss the continuing response and investigation into the attempted Times Square bombing, and how Democrats have strengthened national security through improved coordination between the intelligence community and law enforcement agencies, advances in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and increases in investments in homeland security.

WHO: House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.)
Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.)
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas)

WHAT: Press Conference to Highlight Success Fighting Terrorists and Keeping America Safe

WHEN: Thursday, May 6th, 2:30pm

WHERE: House Radio-TV Gallery; HVC-117 (Studio A)

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House Armed Services Committee: Skelton Praises Success in Combating Terrorism

May 6, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Syndicated Industry News 
House Armed Services Committee: Skelton Praises Success in Combating Terrorism
Ike Skelton, Chairman
May 6, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) delivered the statement below at a press conference with Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas), and Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman David Price (D-N.C.) on the success in the fight against terrorists:

“Thank you all for coming today. Over the past few days, thanks to the vigilance of New York’s residents and the collaboration of local and federal law enforcement officials, we were able to successfully prevent another terrorist attack on U.S. soil and track down and detain a suspect.

“This is just one of many examples of success we have seen since President Obama took office and stepped up the fight against terrorists—both here and abroad.

“Yesterday the Armed Services Committee met to examine the progress in Afghanistan under the President’s new counterinsurgency strategy. We are all so proud of the brave men and women in uniform who risk their lives every day to keep our nation safe, and I was very pleased to hear the witnesses at our hearing talk about the signs of success there.

“Afghanistan is an epicenter of terrorism and the genesis of multiple attacks against our country. For far too long, our conflict there was the Forgotten War. However, President Obama adopted a smart new counter-insurgency strategy to address the dramatic shortfalls of the previous administration. He has tripled the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and strengthened our strategic partnerships with countries like Pakistan and Yemen.

“The signs of success are clear. We are capturing or killing terrorist leaders every week, and the new strategy recently helped lead to the capture the Taliban’s second-in-command by Pakistani forces. This was the most significant capture since the start of the war.

“This success is not just limited to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Two weeks ago, a joint raid by U.S. and Iraqi forces killed two top terrorist leaders, including al Qaeda in Iraq’s #1. General Odierno, the top military commander in Iraq, identified this as ‘potentially the most significant blow to al Qaeda in Iraq since the beginning of the insurgency.’

“Importantly, we are not just focusing on capturing and killing terrorists. Protecting our nation requires a comprehensive strategy. We cannot effectively destroy terrorist cells unless we take them out by the roots, cutting off the supply of recruits that feeds them. So, we are also placing a greater emphasis on taking the necessary measures to prevent the recruitment of violent extremists.

“With the responsible new steps being taken by our Commander in Chief, the outstanding leadership by our military commanders on the ground, and the unrivaled dedication and courage of all of our men and women in uniform, I have no doubt that our nation is safer today than it was two years ago.

“This Administration, and this Congress, will continue to step up the fight against terrorists to keep American families safe from threats both here and abroad. I now turn things over to my friend and colleague Congressman Thompson, Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, who will speak about the improvements in interagency coordination and preparedness and response to threats on our homeland.”

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House Armed Services Committee: Opening Statement of Chairman Ike Skelton Hearing on Developments in Security and Stability in Afghanistan

House Armed Services Committee: Opening Statement of Chairman Ike Skelton Hearing on Developments in Security and Stability in Afghanistan
Ike Skelton, Chairman
May 5, 2010

Washington, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) delivered the following opening statement during today’s hearing on developments in security and stability in Afghanistan:

“Today, the committee meets to receive testimony on developments in security and stability in Afghanistan. Our witnesses, both old friends of the committee, are: the Honorable Michèle Flournoy, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and Lieutenant General John Paxton, the Director for Operations on the Joint Staff. Welcome, both of you.

“Six months ago, President Obama announced the results of a comprehensive review of our policy in Afghanistan, which for many years had essentially been non-existent. During this announcement, he endorsed a new counter-insurgency strategy centered on increasing U.S. forces by 30,000 troops, adding U.S. civilian experts, and focusing on protecting the population of Afghanistan from the Taliban and their terrorist allies.

“I endorsed this strategy then, and I do so now. As I have said many times, while this new strategy cannot guarantee success in Afghanistan, it is the most likely to end with an Afghanistan that can prevent the return of the Taliban and their al Qaeda allies.

“Six months into the new policy, it is appropriate for Congress to consider how things are going. About 21,000 of the 30,000 troops have arrived in country, and many have been involved in the recent successful military operation in Marjah. Others will soon begin restoring security in Kandahar, an operation that is likely to be crucial to our overall success in Afghanistan.

“We have seen other clear signs of success in our fight against terrorists. The President’s new strategy helped lead to the capture of the Taliban’s second-in-command, a former Taliban finance minister, and two ‘shadow governors’ of Afghan provinces, the most significant captures of Afghan Taliban leaders since the start of the war in Afghanistan.

“While I am pleased with the recent successes in Afghanistan, and I anticipate others, many concerns remain. Although we successfully cleared Marjah, the Taliban still appears to be able to infiltrate the town and threaten and kill those who cooperate with U.S. and Afghan security forces. This may not be unanticipated. It takes time to build the confidence of a local population. But I worry that some of this may point to the weakness of the local government, which cannot easily deliver the services and governance needed to help convince the residents of Marjah to join the right side.

“While we have increased forces in Afghanistan, our allies have also begun to send additional troops. To date, they have added about 50 percent of the 9000 new troops they pledged after President Obama’s December speech. But serious concerns remain about our ability to train the Afghan security forces who will have to assume the burden of providing security and combating terrorism in Afghanistan without more international trainers. I am pleased that Secretary Gates has decided to send additional U.S. military personnel to fill this gap, but this is a short term solution and not a long-term fix.

“This concern relates to another. In a recent meeting, NATO endorsed a process to transition the lead for security in some districts from U.S. and allied troops to Afghan National Security Forces. I think all of us would like to know more about this process and its implications—what progress do we have to see in a district before it can transition to Afghan lead, and what does this mean for the international troops in that district? Are we talking about progress among the Afghan security forces or must the district also need a competent and honest government?

“Finally, a quick word of congratulations and one of caution. The Department of Defense recently delivered a very good, and for once on-time, ‘Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan.’ Thank you for that. Unfortunately, a similar, somewhat higher level metrics report filed by the National Security Council was very disappointing. It is my hope that future reports will more closely resemble the 1230 report and provide real information. Congress cannot judge progress from glorified press releases.

“Again, thank you for coming before us today. I suspect this will not be the last hearing on Afghanistan this committee holds this year, and I appreciate you working with us to ensure that Congress can conduct its Constitutional and appropriate oversight activities.

“I now turn to my good friend, Buck McKeon, for any comments he might care to make.”

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House Armed Services Committee: Skelton Applauds Success in Afghanistan Under Obama

House Armed Services Committee: Skelton Applauds Success in Afghanistan Under Obama
Ike Skelton, Chairman
May 5, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) released the statement below following a hearing before the Committee to examine the progress in Afghanistan under President Obama’s new strategy:

“I am so proud of the brave men and women in uniform who are risking their lives every day to keep our nation safe, and I was very pleased to hear the witnesses at today’s hearing talk about the signs of success we have seen from our warfighters in Afghanistan under President Obama. For too many years, this conflict—which is critical to our nation’s security—was the Forgotten War. It was very reassuring today to hear confirmation of the continued progress we are seeing under the President’s new counterinsurgency strategy as we continue to fix the dramatic shortfalls of the previous administration.

“President Obama has tripled the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and has given us, for the first time since the start of the war nearly a decade ago, a real strategy for success. Our military leaders and commanders on the ground have strongly endorsed the President’s plan, and we continue to see an increase in gains made against the insurgency, including the most significant captures to date of Taliban leaders.

“We will continue to closely monitor the progress in Afghanistan under the new counterinsurgency strategy to make sure that our troops have all of the resources they need to bring us success and return home quickly.”

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House Armed Services Committee: Opening Statement of Chairman Ike Skelton – Hearing on Security and Stability in Pakistan: Developments in U.S. Policy and Funding

House Armed Services Committee: Opening Statement of Chairman Ike Skelton - Hearing on Security and Stability in Pakistan: Developments in U.S. Policy and Funding
Ike Skelton, Chairman
April 29, 2010

Washington, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) delivered the following opening statement during today’s hearing on Security and Stability in Pakistan: Developments in U.S. Policy and Funding.

“Good morning. Today we have with us the Honorable Michèle Flournoy, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy at the Department of Defense; Lieutenant General John Paxton, Director for Operations with the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and the Honorable Andrew Shapiro, Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs with the Department of State.

“Thank you all for being with us today to address developments in U.S. policy and funding involving Pakistan. Before we begin, let me remind Members that this is an open hearing that will address unclassified matters. The committee periodically holds classified briefings on Pakistan and will continue to do so, but today’s discussion should solely address unclassified matters.

“Pakistan’s continuing security challenges have serious implications for our national and homeland security; for our efforts in Afghanistan; and for security in the region. In fact, there is no security relationship in the world today more important than the relationship between the United States military and the military of Pakistan. This relationship has experienced its ups and downs over the years, but today it is solid, and it must remain so if we are to truly serve the interests of both nations.

“The relationship is founded on the fact that our national interests align in fundamental ways. It is also sustained, however, by the personal and professional relationships between the two nation’s officer corps. And not least, by the mutual support we provide each other in the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. This committee has authorized a large share of the funding for the support we provide to Pakistan, and we are deeply interested in the logistical and operational support they in turn provide to us. I will speak more in a moment about the importance of the funding requested for our support of Pakistan’s operations.

“I am pleased that the Obama Administration’s strategy for Pakistan is already showing signs of success. Success due, in large part, to the increase in Pakistani security operations which have cleared militants from significant parts of the country. I know I speak for all of my colleagues when I applaud the recent detention of senior Taliban leaders inside Pakistan and the increased cross-border collaboration between Pakistan and Afghanistan. There is growing support among the Pakistani population for our shared counterterrorism objectives.

“However, there is still a long way to go and hard work ahead. ‘Hold’ and ‘build’ capabilities are integral to counterinsurgency operations in Pakistan, but they are not yet developed. Pakistan must have the civilian capacity needed for long-term security and stability in the country. Moreover, there is a need for greater international contributions to the efforts involving Pakistan.

“The Administration’s recent report to Congress on metrics for Pakistan was a disappointment. While the Administration has developed good metrics, and we are assured that you are tracking them, very little of this information has actually been reported to Congress. I trust that this deficiency will be corrected quickly, and not repeated in the future. The committee has previously received excellent briefings from Admiral LeFever on developments in Pakistan, so we know the work that is being done, but this knowledge makes the inadequacies of the recent report that much more disappointing.

“The information we are missing is important because the Administration has requested significant resources from Congress and the American people to continue efforts to support Pakistan. The Administration’s fiscal year 2011 request includes an additional $1.6 billion for CSF and $1.2 billion for the State Department’s Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capabilities Fund. In addition to examining the justifications for these amounts, the committee remains interested in determining what the future is for CSF as we wind down Operation Iraqi Freedom and start to look toward a gradual transition in Operation Enduring Freedom. We must ensure that authorities and resources achieve their intended goals and objectives and that our relationship with Pakistan is sustained.

“Again, thank you all for being with us today. I look forward to your testimony. And I now turn to my friend, the Ranking Member, Buck McKeon, for any comments he may wish to make.”

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House Armed Services Committee: Skelton Floor Statement on H.R. 5013, the IMPROVE Acquisition Act of 2010

April 28, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Syndicated Industry News 
House Armed Services Committee: Skelton Floor Statement on H.R. 5013, the IMPROVE Acquisition Act of 2010
Ike Skelton, Chairman
April 28, 2010

Skelton Floor Statement on H.R. 5013, the IMPROVE Acquisition Act of 2010

Washington, D.C.—Today, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) delivered the statement below during House consideration of H.R. 5013, the IMPROVE Acquisition Act of 2010, bipartisan legislation to overhaul defense acquisition spending, potentially saving billions of taxpayer dollars and expediting the process to get the necessary equipment to our warfighters.

“I rise in strong support of H.R. 5013, the IMPROVE Acquisition Act of 2010. For many years, we’ve witnessed waste in the Department of Defense’s acquisition system spiral out of control, placing a heavy burden on both American taxpayers and on our men and women in uniform. Less frequently, but still far too often, fraud and abuse creep into the system as well, as sadly happened so extensively in Iraq. Our troops rely on the acquisition system to buy the equipment they need to keep them safe on the battlefield and protect our country. When that system breaks down, they suffer.

“In recent years, I and many of my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee became increasingly concerned that this flawed defense acquisition system was not responsive enough to today’s mission needs, not rigorous enough in protecting the tax dollars of millions of families who are struggling financially, and not disciplined enough in the acquisition of weapons systems for tomorrow’s wars.

“We took action. Last year, we worked with the Senate to enact legislation to reform weapons system acquisition. However, weapon systems make up only a small piece of our defense acquisition spending. That bill was a great launching pad for reform, but it was just the beginning.

“In the House, we continued the effort by creating the Panel on Defense Acquisition Reform, ably led by Congressmen Rob Andrews and Mike Conaway, to carry out a comprehensive review of the current system and to identify what steps we need to take to make this system work. The panel could not have done a better job scrutinizing the defense acquisition system.

“During the course of the past year, they held 14 hearings and 2 briefings on a broad range of issues within the acquisition system, unearthing everything from egregious contract fraud to simple process errors that led to billions of wasted dollars. They put together an excellent report with suggestions to fix the system, and we are here today, with the good will of the House, to pass legislation that will enact their recommendations into law.

“The IMPROVE Acquisition Act will overhaul the defense acquisition system by:
· requiring the Department to set clear objectives for the defense acquisition system and manage performance in achieving those objectives,

· requiring DOD to introduce real accountability into the requirements process and create a requirements process for the acquisition of services,

· strengthening and revitalizing the acquisition workforce,

· requiring DOD to develop meaningful consequences for success or failure in financial management, and

· strengthening the industrial base to enhance competition and gain access to more innovative technology.

“In other words, this legislation would require DOD to adopt the basic management practices that are necessary for anything as complex as the acquisition system to function properly. These changes will make sure that the men and women who are risking their lives to protect this country are getting the proper equipment they need to do their jobs and to protect themselves—and that it gets to them sooner. Additionally, we expect this bill to prevent the waste of billions of taxpayer dollars each year over the next five years.

“This bill has been bipartisan from the first moment. Its original co-sponsors included both Mr. Andrews and Mr. Conaway; myself and Buck McKeon. It passed the Armed Services Committee on a vote of 56-0. Yesterday, it was strongly endorsed by President Obama. I urge my colleagues to join us in sending the strongest possible message to the men and women of our military and to the American people that we are serious about protecting them, and about protecting their pocketbooks. Vote “YES” on the IMPROVE Acquisition Act.”

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House Armed Services Committee: House Approves Legislation to Overhaul Defense Acquisition Spending

April 28, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Syndicated Industry News 
House Armed Services Committee: House Approves Legislation to Overhaul Defense Acquisition Spending
Ike Skelton, Chairman
April 28, 2010

House Approves Legislation to Overhaul Defense Acquisition Spending

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, the House of Representatives voted 417 to 3 to pass the IMPROVE Acquisition Act (H.R. 5013), which would overhaul defense acquisition spending to clean up waste fraud and abuse—potentially saving $135 billion over five years and expediting the process to get the proper equipment to our troops on the battlefield.

The legislation, introduced by Congressman Rob Andrews (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Panel on Defense Acquisition Reform, cleans up the defense acquisition system through four key reforms:
· Building a better accountability system to make sure that we get the most value for every dollar spent on defense acquisition;
· Strengthening the acquisition workforce to give both military and civilian personnel better training, better tools, and more opportunities to improve their performance and produce better outcomes;
· Improving DOD’s financial management system to make it auditable so that American taxpayers know where their money is going; and
· Expanding the industrial base to enhance competition and gain access to more technology.

These reforms come from recommendations outlined in the final report of the Panel on Defense Acquisition Reform, which was created in March 2009 by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) and then-Ranking Member John McHugh to perform a comprehensive review of the defense acquisition system.

“For too many years, waste in DOD’s acquisition spending has placed a heavy burden on both our military and the American taxpayer,” said Chairman Skelton. “The commonsense reforms approved today will allow our troops to get the tools they need as soon as possible, while also saving American taxpayers billions of dollars.”

“Today is a great day for both our troops and the American Taxpayer,” said Congressman Andrews. “The IMPROVE Acquisition Act makes sure the brave men and women who protect our country get the tools they need to fight more efficiently while cutting down on wasteful spending and saving taxpayers $135 billion over five years.”

The bipartisan Panel, consisting of Congressman Andrews, Congressman Mike Conaway (R-Texas), Congressman Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), Congressman Brad Ellsworth (D-Ind.), Congressman Joe Sestak (D-Pa.), Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), and Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), held fourteen hearings and two briefings covering a broad range of issues in defense acquisition reform.

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House Armed Services Committee: HASC Approves DOD Acquisition Reform Bill

House Armed Services Committee: HASC Approves DOD Acquisition Reform Bill
Ike Skelton, Chairman
April 21, 2010

HASC Approves DOD Acquisition Reform Bill

Washington, D.C.—Today, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) released the statement below following committee mark-up and approval of H.R. 5013, the IMPROVE Acquisition Act of 2010, bipartisan legislation to overhaul defense acquisition spending, potentially saving billions of taxpayer dollars and expediting the process to get the necessary equipment to our warfighters. H.R. 5013 was reported favorably by a vote of 56 to 0.

“Today’s unanimous and bipartisan vote by the House Armed Services Committee brings us one step closer to significant defense acquisition reform this year. Our men and women in uniform and American taxpayers all stand to win with the approval of this legislation. When the IMPROVE Acquisition Act is considered by the full House, I hope the bill will receive the same enthusiastic support it received in the House Armed Services Committee.

“I particularly want to commend Congressman Rob Andrews and Congressman Mike Conaway for introducing this legislation, which was based on recommendations developed by the Defense Acquisition Reform Panel they led. I also want to thank our committee’s Ranking Member, Congressman Buck McKeon, for being such an able partner in this effort.”

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House Armed Services Committee: Skelton: Export Control Reform Will ‘Better Protect Americans’

April 20, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Syndicated Industry News 
House Armed Services Committee: Skelton: Export Control Reform Will ‘Better Protect Americans’
Ike Skelton, Chairman
April 20, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, House Armed Services Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) released the statement below following a speech by Secretary Gates this afternoon announcing a comprehensive reform of export control reform:

“Our nation has the very best military technology, and it is absolutely critical that these highly sensitive systems do not fall into the wrong hands. While controlling the export of sensitive technologies is fundamental to keeping our nation safe, it cannot be truly effective if the system is muddled and wrought with gaps and inconsistencies across agencies.

“Earlier today, Secretary Gates announced a plan for the kind of comprehensive reforms that can strengthen our export control system to better protect Americans, placing a top priority on our national security. By building a better and stronger protective system, we can be more effective in preventing terrorists or others who seek to do us harm from obtaining our technologies.

“The Armed Services Committee has long worked to make the export control system stronger, more efficient, and more effective. I am confident that we can work closely with Secretary Gates on a bipartisan basis and with other committees in the Congress to make sure that the system protecting our technology is as excellent as the technology itself. I look forward to holding a hearing on this issue in the coming months.”

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House Armed Services Committee: Skelton on Military Power of Iran Report

April 19, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Syndicated Industry News 
House Armed Services Committee: Skelton on Military Power of Iran Report
Ike Skelton, Chairman
April 19, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) released the following statement after receiving a report on the Military Power of Iran that was mandated in last year’s national defense authorization bill:

“Today, we received a report providing a comprehensive view of the military situation in Iran, including conventional and unconventional weapons capabilities. It is clear from this report that the Department of Defense has a thorough understanding of the potential threats posed by Iran’s military capabilities, setting a strong foundation upon which to build the necessary strategies to address these issues and keep America and our allies safe. I appreciate the Administration’s demonstrated and ongoing effort to end the Iranian nuclear weapons program, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress and with President Obama to protect our nation from the threats posed by Iran to our national security.”

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