By Megan Scully
WASHINGTON (May 13, 2010) -- House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee on Thursday quickly approved its portion of the FY11 defense authorization bill, including $168 billion for the military's operations and maintenance accounts.
The subcommittee mark of the authorization bill (H.R. 5136), which was approved on a unanimous voice vote, also authorizes $20 billion for military construction, base realignment and closure and family housing.
The bill increases funding to sustain existing military facilities by $700 million, boosts construction funding for the reserve component by $200 million, increases funding to support Army barracks by $190 million.
As approved by the panel, the bill also authorizes $130 million for energy conservation and renewable energy projects at military installations and directs the secretary of Defense to issue a plan for meeting long-term energy goals.
During the markup, the subcommittee approved by voice vote an amendment from Rep. Glenn Nye, D-Va., that would withhold $2 million requested in planning and design work to transfer a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier from Norfolk, Va., to Mayport, Fla., until the Pentagon review a recent GAO report that found flaws with the decision.
The Readiness subcommittee has three members of the Virginia delegation, all of whom have fought the decision to transfer the carrier. But Reps. Jeff Miller and Tom Rooney, both R-Fla., could fight the amendment at the full committee's markup next week.
The subcommittee also approved by voice vote an amendment that would prevent the Air Force from retiring any C-130 aircraft until the Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve sign a memorandum of understanding on a plan to transfer C-130s from the reserve component to an active-duty training unit.
The transfer plan, which is tucked in the FY11 budget request and only came to the attention of lawmakers in March, prompted a letter-writing campaign from House members, senators and governors, who urged the Air Force to reconsider the move.
The original plan called for the permanent transfer of 12 Air Guard C-130H planes from nine state units and six C-130Hs from the Air Force Reserve to replace older model C-130s operated by the 314th Airlift Wing at Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas.
Under a compromise proposal being weighed by stakeholders, seven state Air Guard units would loan eight aircraft to the Little Rock base and the Air Force Reserve would provide another 10 aircraft on loan.