Thursday, June 11, 2009

House Armed Services Panels Begin Defense Policy Debate

June 11, 2009 – 1:53 p.m.

A House Armed Services subcommittee Thursday approved a measure authorizing a significant boost in spending for special operations as part of a bill setting national security policy for fiscal 2010.

The Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities — the first of six panels to act on the bill — approved by voice vote provisions authorizing spending for science and technology programs, cybersecurity and, perhaps most notably, for everything U.S. Special Operations Command sought in the budget and then some.

“We wanted to give them the tools and capabilities they need to do the things we ask them to do,” said Adam Smith , D-Wash., the panel’s chairman, said of the U.S. commando forces.

The Military Personnel Subcommittee, meanwhile, approved a pay raise for military members that would exceed President Obama’s request. Obama’s proposed a 2.9 percent pay raise. The committee opted for 3.4 percent.

Military personnel got a 3.9 percent raise in fiscal 2009.

Chairwoman Susan A. Davis , D-Calif., said “it is important that we uphold our responsibility to care for those who volunteer to serve our nation in uniform and their families, given the sacrifices they are making in defense of our nation.”

The measure would authorize sufficient funding to increase the Army’s active duty strength to as many as 577,400 soldiers in fiscal 2010.

The Subcommittee on Strategic Forces approved its segment of the bill by voice vote, as well. Three other panels — Seapower and Expeditionary Forces, Air and Land Forces, and Readiness — will act Friday.

The full committee plans to combine the pieces into a single measure it will vote on June 16, and the House could consider the legislation the following week.

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