Senate Approves FY 2012 NDAA

Late last night the Senate passed its version of the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, S. 1867.  Lawmakers approved the $662 billion dollar measure by a vote of 93 to 7 with $527 billion specifically designated for DoD—an amount that matches spending limits established back in August in the Budget Control Act.

In addition to providing a 1.6 percent military pay raise and extending special pays and bonuses, the Senate bill makes the head of the National Guard a member of the Chiefs of Staff, and includes a provision that may eventually allow gray area retirees and widows to fly on military aircraft “Space A.”   It also contains an amendment by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) that repeals the SBP/DIC offset—a major goal of this Association.  A complete analysis of the bill will be provided once it becomes available.

The most contentious provision in the NDAA pertains to the custody of terrorist subjects by the military and a compromise on this language cleared the way for the bill’s passage.  New language agreed to on Thursday limits military custody to suspects captured outside the United States.  It is unclear if this change meets the approval of the President who has repeatedly threatened to veto the final bill if it contained the detainee provisions.

As a reminder, all must still be reconciled with the House-passed measure and the final bill will again require approval by both chambers before it can be sent to the President.

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