Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Obama signs defense bill, finalizing military retirement overhaul

Here is what Speaker Ryan says about the President signing the NDAA 2016 today.  Below the Speaker's statement I have pasted my favorite section (1097) fro the NDAA directing the SECDEF to develop a DOD strategy to counter unconventional warfare threats.  Below that I included the language from the markup from the HASC subcommittee which mentions both Russia and Iran.  Notice what the Military Times highlights in the article - including development of gender neutral standards and as the title says a retirement overhaul.

November 25, 2015|Speaker Ryan's Press Office
WASHINGTON – House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement after President Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act passed by the House of Representatives in a vote of 370-58 on November 5, 2015:
"By signing this legislation, President Obama is now required to come up with a real, comprehensive plan to defeat ISIS. That is the ultimate solution to this crisis. In addition, his signature reaffirms longstanding prohibitions on the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States. Overall, this bill takes the next steps to building the 21st century military that we need. I commend Chairman Mac Thornberry and the House Armed Services Committee for their leadership on behalf of our troops and their families."      SEC. 1097. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE STRATEGY FOR COUNTERING UNCONVENTIONAL WARFARE.
(a) Strategy Required.—The Secretary of Defense shall, in consultation with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the heads of other appropriate departments and agencies of the United States Government, develop a strategy for the Department of Defense to counter unconventional warfare threats posed by adversarial state and non-state actors.
(b) Elements.—The strategy required under subsection (a) shall include each of the following:
(1) An articulation of the activities that constitute unconventional warfare threats to the United States and allies.
(2) A clarification of the roles and responsibilities of the Department of Defense in providing indications and warning of, and protection against, acts of unconventional warfare.
(3) An analysis of the adequacy of current authorities and command structures necessary for countering unconventional warfare.
(4) An articulation of the goals and objectives of the Department of Defense with respect to countering unconventional warfare threats.
(5) An articulation of related or required interagency capabilities and whole-of-Government activities required by the Department of Defense to support a counter-unconventional warfare strategy.
(6) Recommendations for improving the counter-unconventional warfare capabilities, authorities, and command structures of the Department of Defense.
(7) Recommendations for improving interagency coordination and support mechanisms with respect to countering unconventional warfare threats.
(8) Recommendations for the establishment of joint doctrine to support counter-unconventional warfare capabilities within the Department of Defense.
(9) Any other matters the Secretary of Defense considers appropriate.
(c) Submittal To Congress.—Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defense shall submit to the congressional defense committees the strategy required by subsection (a). The strategy shall be submitted in unclassified form, but may include a classified annex.

(d) Unconventional Warfare Defined.—In this section, the term “unconventional warfare” means activities conducted to enable a resistance movement or insurgency to coerce, disrupt, or overthrow a government or occupying power by operating through or with an underground, auxiliary, or guerrilla force in a denied area.

Section 10XX—Department of Defense Strategy for Countering Unconventional Warfare 

 This section would required the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the President and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to develop a strategy for the Department of Defense to counter unconventional warfare threats posed by adversarial state and non-state actors. This section would require the Secretary of Defense to submit the strategy to the congressional defense committees within 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act. The committee is concerned about the growing unconventional warfare capabilities and threats being posed most notably and recently by the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran. The committee notes that unconventional warfare is defined most accurately as those activities conducted to enable a resistance movement or insurgency to coerce, disrupt, or overthrow a government or occupying power by operating through or with an underground, auxiliary, or guerrilla force in a denied area. The committee also notes that most state-sponsors of unconventional warfare, such as Russia and Iran, have doctrinally linked conventional warfare, economic warfare, cyber warfare, information operations, intelligence operations, and other activities seamlessly in an effort to undermine U.S. national security objectives and the objectives of U.S. allies alike. 

Obama signs defense bill, finalizing military retirement overhaul

  • by 5:32 P.M. Est November 25, 2015 
  •  Nov. 25, 2015 
  •  2 min read 
  •  original
After an extra month wait, the annual defense authorization bill is finally law.
President Obama signed the budget and policy bill on Wednesday, marking the 54th consecutive year the measure has survived Washington political fights to become law.
The most significant result for troops is the renewal of dozens of specialty pay and bonus authorities, and a massive overhaul of the military retirement system.
Starting in 2018, newly enlisted troops will no longer have the traditional 20-year, all-or-nothing retirement plan. Under the changes, it will be replaced with a blended pension and investment system, featuring automatic contributions to troops' Thrift Savings Plans and an opportunity for government matches to personal contributions.
The new system is expected to give roughly four in five service members some sort of retirement benefit when they leave the military, as opposed to the current system which benefits only one in five.
The $607 billion authorization bill also includes comprehensive defense acquisition reform and language designed to stop Obama from closing the detention facilities at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
White House officials had objected to that language and hinted at a possible veto. But similar language in the measure each of the last six years didn't stop the president from signing past authorization measures into law.
Obama did veto an earlier draft of this fiscal 2016 authorization bill, but over broader fiscal fights that were resolved last month when lawmakers approved a new two-year spending plan that goes around mandatory budget caps for both defense and nondefense programs.
The legislation is only half the annual budget process for Congress. Lawmakers still need to pass a defense appropriations bill for fiscal 2016 to start new programs and acquisition plans. Congressional leaders are hopeful that can be done before Dec. 11, when a short-term budget extension expires.
But finalizing the annual defense authorization bill is a significant step forward in that larger process, and gives Pentagon planners a host of other policy updates as well:
  • Allowing personal firearms on stateside bases — Lawmakers are requiring Defense Secretary Ash Carter to develop a plan by the end of this year that would allow stateside base commanders to decide whether to allow their service members to carry personal firearms on duty, or in areas where that is currently restricted by the military. Any such plan would not supercede local laws.
  • A pay freeze for general and flag officers — Troops will see a 1.3 percent pay increase in January, lower than the rate of expected private-sector wage growth but more than their senior officers will get. General and flag officer pay will stay at fiscal 2015 levels.
  • Another ban on a new BRAC round — Like in past years, the measure includes a prohibition on defense officials starting another base closing round. But lawmakers did include language allowing military officials to conduct studies on how much excess capacity exists in their stateside footprint, which could ease the path to such a move in the future.
  • A ban on "paid patriotism" with sports leagues — The bill includes language that would prohibit the department from entering into contracts "making payments for honoring members of the Armed Forces at sporting events," in response to congressional reports that several professional sports teams were given tens of thousands of dollars to conduct on-field military appreciation events.
  • Easier rules for military animal adoption — The measure changes the rules on adopting military dogs and other animals to make it easier for former handlers and families of injured handlers to adopt them following their military service.
  • Developing "gender-neutral" standards for military jobs — In response to a push to open more military specialties to female troops, lawmakers want Pentagon leaders to craft "gender-neutral occupational standards" that would allow "decisions on assignments (to) be based on objective analysis."
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