Leadership

President Obama threatens veto over NDAA provisions

The National Defense Authorization Act of 2016, under consideration in the House, locks in the automatic budget caps known as sequestration for civilian agencies while circumventing it for DoD, according to a May 12 administration statement.

The House financed a variety of programs by placing billions of dollars of additional funding into an "overseas contingency operations" account not subject to the caps.

"The use of OCO funding to circumvent budget caps in defense spending also ignores the long-term connection between national security and economic security and fails to account for vital national security functions carried out at non-defense agencies.," according to a statement from the administration.

The administration also objects to the NDAA's prohibition on another round of base closures, which the administration has insisted are needed to cut costs and better balance military priorities. The last Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC) was authorized in 2005.

The administration is also opposed to provisions that would not fully implement modernization and consolidation of military health care programs, retirement and compensation, including an overhaul of the military pension system.

The Defense Department would also be required to cut its headquarters budget and personnel by 20 percent over the next few years, under legislation to be voted on in the House this week.

The bill requires DoD to save $10 billion over five years and complete all of the cuts needed by the end of fiscal year 2019. The Defense Department also needs to come up with a comprehensive plan for how it would implement the cuts by March 31, 2016. But the administration did not include this provision

Overall the House legislation would "constrain" the ability of the Defense Department to reduce unneeded costs and align itself to future military priorities, according to the administration statement.

"If this bill were presented to the President, the President's senior advisers would recommend to the President that he veto it," according to the administration statement.

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