“It’s no accident that the expansion of Russia and China has come at the exact moment when we are dismantling our military and retreating from the world,” said outgoing House Armed Services Committee chair Buck McKeon last week in a speech shortly before launching into the committee’s marathon markup of the fiscal year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
After hours of wrangling, the committee ended up authorizing over $600 billion for the Department of Defense, including almost $80 billion in overseas contingency operations funds, and weighing in on a host of defense policy issues. The outcome reflected a determination on the part of McKeon and others to block program cuts that the Pentagon says are necessary in the current fiscal environment.
This is the 52nd consecutive year in which the House Armed Service Committee has approved an NDAA, an accomplishment that several members noted with pride. HASC ranking member Adam Smith, a Washington Democrat, told his colleagues that “the most important thing in this committee is to try to maintain the bipartisan spirit that has been there for those 52 years.”