Executive and Legislative Branch Activity

Pentagon Budget

This Wednesday, June 5, the House Armed Services Committee will mark up its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1960). That same day, the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee will also mark up, in a closed session, a spending bill for the Department of Defense (DOD). It is expected the House will largely ignore the spending limits enacted by the Budget Control Act of 2011, which requires across the board spending cuts.

While top military officials have been stressing the escalating damage from sequestration to readiness, such as fighter jets grounded for lack of training and maintenance and ships at anchor, lawmakers appear willing to wait and watch on whether to rescind the sequester. Currently, Republicans take the position they will only trade mandatory cuts to additional discretionary cuts and continue to stand firm against raising taxes. Democrats maintain any deal with the Republicans has to be 50 percent cuts and 50 percent revenue.


Last week the media widely reported on a DOD Science Board report that highlighted China’s purported access to data from Pentagon weapons programs and other defense technologies. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is poised to approve new rules empowering the U.S. military to counter direct cyber attacks. The new cyber rules are expected to be in the Standing Rules of Engagement (SROE) and will allow the U.S. military to respond quickly and defensively to cyber attacks, without having to get approval from the National Security Council.

New Proposal on Contractor Executive Compensation Cap

According to a statement last Thursday, May 30 by Joe Jordan, Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), the statutory formula governing the amount of executive compensation government contractors can claim as reimbursable costs would be repealed under legislation the administration will propose this week. In lieu of the statutory formula, the proposal would tie the reimbursement cap to the president’s annual salary, currently $400,000. The new cap would apply to all civilian and defense cost-reimbursement contracts. In accordance with the statutory formula, the compensation cap was increased to $763,000 for FY 2011 and is set to be increased to more than $950,000 for FY 2012.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Tuesday, June 4: The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold an oversight hearing titled “Pending Legislation Regarding Sexual Assaults in the Military.”
  • Wednesday, June 5: The House Armed Services Committee will hold the full Committee markup of its National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1960). It is open to the public and streamed live online.
  • Wednesday, June 5: The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense will mark up a spending measure for DOD. This hearing is closed to the public.