Report on H.R.1585, National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008

Bill Number: 
House Report 110-146
Bill Status: 
Bill Location: 
Date of Last Action: 
Friday, May 11, 2007
Relevant Text: 

MAY 11, 2007- Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2008

35-281

2007 
110TH CONGRESS 1ST SESSION 
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 
REPORT

110-146

NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2008

R E P O R T

OF THE

COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

ON

H.R. 1585

together with

ADDITIONAL VIEWS

TITLE X--GENERAL PROVISIONS

ITEMS OF SPECIAL INTEREST

COUNTER-DRUG ACTIVITIES

OVERVIEW

The budget request contained $936.8 million for drug interdiction and counter-drug activities, in addition to $193.3 million, for operational tempo, which is contained within the operating budgets of the military services. The budget is organized in fiscal year 2008 to address four broad national priorities: (1) international support; (2) domestic support; (3) intelligence and technology; and (4) demand reduction.

The committee recommends an authorization for fiscal year 2008 Department of Defense counter-drug activities as follows (in millions of U.S. dollars):

FY08 Drug Interdiction and Counter-Drug Request $936.8

International Support $431.5

Domestic Support $206.2

Intelligence Technology and Other Demand Reduction $162.9

Demand Reduction $136.2

Recommended Decreases

International Support $12.0

Recommended Increases

Southwestern Border Fence $8.0

Airborne Counter-Narcotics/Terrorism Threat Protection $4.0

Recommendation $936.8

ITEMS OF SPECIAL INTEREST

Budget Requests

The budget request contained $936.8 million for drug interdiction and counter-drug activities, including all counter-drug resources in the Department of Defense (DOD) with the exception of those resources in the operating budget for the military services and those resources which are appropriated or requested in emergency budgets. For fiscal year 2007 alone, the committee notes that counter-drug activities in Afghanistan and Central Asia will be funded with at least $63.6 million, which was appropriated in the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Hurricane Recovery, 2006 (Public Law 109-234) and remains unexpended. The fiscal year 2007 budget request for ongoing military operations contained an additional $259.1 million for counter-drug efforts in Afghanistan, Central Asia, and other countries, and an additional $257.6 million was contained in the fiscal year 2008 budget request for ongoing military operations, both of which were presented this year to Congress. The committee notes that the fiscal year 2008 budget request represents the fourth year of emergency budget requests for counter-drug activities in Afghanistan and the rest of Central Asia without the inclusion of any funding for these activities in a regular budget request.

International Support

The budget request contained $431.5 million for international support. The committee understands the importance of international support and notes that this request for international support will result in increased operational support for all four military services. This support includes detection and monitoring platforms and assets; command and control support; and the training, equipment, and supplies intended for other nations that are key to the U.S. national drug strategy and defense security cooperation goals.

The committee recommends $419.5 million, a decrease of $12.0 million, for international support. The committee notes that this small decrease will not result in diminished activities as the international support program continues to receive funding from emergency budget requests. The budget requests for ongoing military operations contained an additional $259.1 million for fiscal year 2007 and $257.6 million for fiscal year 2008 to support counter-drug activities in other countries.

The committee is particularly concerned about the level of counter-drug support for the Colombian military. In March, 2007, the Department of State reported that some former members of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, a foreign terrorist organization, continue to engage in drug trafficking. There are also increasingly troubling reports of collusion between a number of Colombian military units and senior officers and elements of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia.

Southwest Border Fence

The committee remains concerned that the southwest border with Mexico continues to be a major corridor for drug and human smuggling. The committee understands that since 1990, when the Department of Defense became involved in addressing the heavily used smuggling corridor in San Diego, California, by implementing physical barriers throughout the region, drug `drive-throughs' have been eliminated. The number of apprehensions of unauthorized migrants has diminished greatly as the infrastructure matured into an effective law enforcement tool. The committee believes that border infrastructure is a force multiplier, which allows counter-drug assets and personnel to be more effectively employed.

The committee recommends an increase of $8.0 million for drug interdiction and counter-drug activities to continue the work on the 14-mile Border Infrastructure System near San Diego, California, and to construct at least 10 miles of double fencing at the Marine Corps Station in Yuma, Arizona.

SUBTITLE E--OTHER MATTERS

SECTION 1053--SENSE OF CONGRESS REGARDING DETAINEES AT NAVAL STATION, GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA

This section would express the sense of Congress that:

(1) The Nation extends its gratitude to the military personnel who guard and interrogate some of the world's most dangerous men every day at Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba;

(2) The international community, in general, and in particular, the home countries of the detainees who remain in detention despite having been ordered released by a Department of Defense administrative review board, should work with the Department of Defense to facilitate and expedite the repatriation of such detainees;

(3) Detainees at Guantanamo Bay, to the maximum extent possible, should be charged and expeditiously prosecuted for crimes committed against the United States; and

(4) Operations at Guantanamo Bay should be carried out in a way that upholds the national interest and core values of the American people.

TITLE XII--MATTERS RELATING TO OTHER NATIONS

ITEMS OF SPECIAL INTEREST

REPORT ON COMBATANT COMMANDERS INITIATIVE FUND

Over the past several years, Department of Defense officials have repeatedly requested authority for the Department to respond to urgent and unanticipated humanitarian relief and reconstruction requirements in developing countries where U.S. forces are operating. Those officials have argued that the Commanders' Emergency Response Program, which is a temporary program that allows U.S. military commanders in Afghanistan and Iraq to provide for such requirements, would be a useful tool for all combatant commanders, regardless of geography.

The committee notes that Congress provided authority for the Commanders' Emergency Response Program specifically for the special circumstances within Afghanistan and Iraq and highlights that the Department already has several legislative authorities, which would allow military commanders to address the needs of local populations in nations in which U.S. forces are operating. For example, both Chapter 20 and section 2561 of title 10, United States Code, provide the Department with significant authority to provide humanitarian, civic, and other assistance to foreign countries. The codified language does not impose unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles to the timely use of these authorities.

The committee also highlights that section 166a of title 10, United States Code, outlines authority for a Combatant Commanders Initiative Fund. This authority allows the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to Staff to provide funds to combatant commanders for a range of activities, including `humanitarian and civic assistance (to include urgent and unanticipated humanitarian relief and reconstruction requirements.)' Again, the codified language does not impose unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles to the timely use of this authority. In the conference report (H. Rept. 109-702), which accompanied the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007, the conferees urged the Department of Defense to develop guidance for the use of this authority to ensure that military commanders could use it quickly and without bureaucratic delay in urgent situations.

The committee directs the Secretary of Defense to submit, by February 1, 2008, a report to the Senate Committee on Armed Services and the House Committee on Armed Services on the guidance and procedures in place at the Department of Defense to implement that Combatant Commanders Initiative Fund authority. In addition to describing the bureaucratic processes, this report shall also identify the activities conducted under this authority during fiscal years 2006 and 2007, the political-military and military objectives of those activities, and any related future activities that may build upon those activities. The report shall also include a description of how the Department of Defense is ensuring that commanders on the ground have sufficient access to these funds in urgent, unanticipated situations.

TRAIN AND EQUIP AUTHORITIES

Section 1206 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 (Public Law 109-163) required the President to submit to Congress a report on the ability of the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of State (DOS) to conduct foreign military assistance programs. The committee expresses strong concern that Congress has not yet received that report, which was due by January 6, 2007. Moreover, Congress has not received any official indication that this required report will be forthcoming any time soon.

In recent years, the committee has considered the tasks associated with building the military capacity and capabilities of foreign partners. This is an area which has historically been a DOS responsibility and in which the Department of Defense has expressed strong interest. As a result of this interest, Congress provided the Department of Defense with limited authority to conduct programs to train and equip foreign military forces, while continuing to encourage the Department of State to develop or modify the resident capability to handle some of these tasks.

Collectively, these authorities are referred to by the general term `train and equip' and are exemplified by section 1206 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 (Public Law 109-163) and section 1206 of the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 (Public Law 109-364). As stated clearly in the conference reports (H. Rept. 109-360 and H. Rept. 109-702) accompanying these laws, the intent of these authorities was to provide the basis of a pilot program, the results of which Congress would take under advisement when considering extending or expanding `train and equip' authorities in the future.

Additionally, Congress recognized that there appeared to be vulnerabilities in existing laws relating to foreign military assistance, including but not limited to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (Public Law 87-195) and the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2751 et seq). This recognition was an additional underlying reason behind the requirement for the Presidential report. The accompanying conference report (H. Rept. 109-360) noted that this report would be `an important factor in the conferees' future consideration of' any future DOD authority to provide foreign assistance.

In the last two years, Congress has clearly and strongly discouraged further legislative proposals to expand or make permanent DOD's `train and equip' authorities in the absence of this required report and an established track record of success. The committee has serious concerns that the Administration has not heeded this advice and, in failing to comply with existing law, has deprived the committee of the full materials needed to make an informed judgment on the longer-term future of those proposals.

LEGISLATIVE PROVISIONS

SUBTITLE A--ASSISTANCE AND TRAINING

SECTION 1202--AUTHORITY FOR SUPPORT OF MILITARY OPERATIONS TO COMBAT TERRORISM

This section would authorize an extension of existing authority for the Secretary of Defense to provide to foreign forces, irregular forces, groups, or individuals a total amount of $25.0 million in each fiscal year through 2010 when such recipients are facilitating or acting in support of operations conducted by U.S. Special Operations Forces. To address committee concerns about past reporting practices associated with this program, this section would include a requirement for more detail in the annual overview and would require the Secretary to submit the report to the congressional defense subcommittees within 120 days of the end of each fiscal year. The committee expects the annual review to include specific detail on cost and performance of each activity as well as a clear reference to each event approved during the preceding fiscal year. This section would not constitute authority to conduct any covert action.

SECTION 1209--REPORT ON FOREIGN ASSISTANCE-RELATED PROGRAMS, PROJECTS, AND ACTIVITIES CARRIED OUT BY THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

This section would require the Secretary of Defense to submit to Congress a report describing all the foreign assistance-related programs, projects, and activities carried out by the Department of Defense during the prior fiscal year. This report would be submitted within 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act.

SUBTITLE D--OTHER MATTERS

SECTION 1243--SENSE OF CONGRESS CONCERNING THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE INSTITUTE FOR SECURITY COOPERATION

This section would express the sense of Congress that the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation is succeeding in its mission to educate and train certain persons from nations in the western hemisphere and is an invaluable institution that the Department of Defense should continue to use to help foster cooperation and interoperability among the United States military and the militaries of participating nations.

DIVISION B--MILITARY CONSTRUCTION AUTHORIZATIONS

TITLE XXI--ARMY

EXPLANATION OF FUNDING ADJUSTMENTS

The committee recommends reduction or elimination of funding for several projects contained in the budget request for military construction and family housing. These reductions include:

(2) $65,000,000 from the funding amount requested for construction of a joint/coalition/interagency headquarters U.S. Southern Command. The budget request contained $237,000,000; however, the committee believes that the Department has exceeded their ability to fully expend the funding in fiscal year 2008. Accordingly, the committee recommends $172,000,000 to support this project.