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House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Oversight Plan for the 106th Congress
This oversight plan is filed pursuant to clause 2(d) of rule X of the Rules of the House of Representatives which requires that, not later than February 15 of the first session of a Congress, each standing committee of the House shall adopt its oversight plan for that Congress.
The oversight responsibilities of the Committee on Armed Services will be conducted primarily within the context of the committee's consideration of the annual defense authorization bill. This legislation covers the breadth of the operations of the Department of Defense (DOD) as well as a significant portion of the annual operating budget of the Department of Energy. The annual national defense function budget of approximately $270 billion involves millions of military and civilian personnel, thousands of facilities, and hundreds of agencies, departments, and commands located throughout the world. The committee will continue to perform general oversight on the structure and management of the Department of Defense and related topics.
The committee conducts continuous oversight of laws, programs, and agencies under permanent authority in Titles 10 (Armed Forces), 37 (Pay and Allowances), 42 (Atomic Energy), and 50 and 50 Appendix (War and National Defense), United States Code, which are within its jurisdiction.
The jurisdiction of the committee, pursuant to clause 2(c) of rule X of the Rules of the House of Representatives is as follows:
(1) Ammunition depots; forts; arsenals; Army, Navy, and Air Force reservations and establishments.
(6) Merchant Marine Academy, and State Merchant Marine Academies.
(9) Armed Services aspects of merchant marine, including financial assistance for the construction and operation of vessels, the maintenance of the U.S. shipbuilding and ship repair industrial base, cabotage, cargo preference and merchant marine officers and seamen as these matters relate to the Armed Services.
(12) Selective service.
(14) Soldiers' and sailors' homes.
(15) Strategic and critical materials necessary for the common defense.
In addition to its legislative jurisdiction and general oversight function, the committee has special oversight functions with respect to international arms control and disarmament and military dependents' education pursuant to clause 3(g) of rule X of the Rules of the House of Representatives.
The committee will continue its oversight and assessment of threats to U.S. national security and U.S. interests. The committee will regularly assess national security threats and challenges as it begins consideration of the fiscal year 2000 and fiscal year 2001 defense budget requests. This effort will involve appropriate oversight hearings with the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the individual service Secretaries and Chiefs of Staff, regional Commanders-in-Chief, other officials of the Department of Defense and the military departments, officials of the Central Intelligence Agency and other defense-related intelligence agencies, and officials of the Department of Energy. In addition, the committee will invite the views and perspectives of outside experts in academia, industry, associations and those in private life on these matters.
The oversight agenda below, unless otherwise noted, is designed to serve primarily in support of the consideration by the committee and, ultimately, the House of the annual defense authorization bill. The issues identified below are expected to be on-going areas of oversight activity throughout the 106th Congress. In addition, the committee will continue to pay particular attention to the mandates placed on executive departments and agencies by Public Law 103-62, the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993. The committee will examine closely the progress of the Department of Defense, the military departments, and the Department of Energy in implementing Public Law 103-62, to include the use of performance-based budgeting techniques and five-year strategic planning documents, for programs within its jurisdiction.
Given the unique nature of national security issues and related oversight of the armed forces, the committee reiterates again that the oversight agenda is subject to the emergence of unforeseen events that may displace previously planned activities. Such oversight requirements significantly complicate the ability to prescribe with great accuracy or specificity the entire oversight agenda of the committee. For instance, Congressional oversight of defense activities has historically involved in-depth assessments of military operations and other major events that are generally difficult to predict in advance. Past examples of this category of oversight include the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, the reflagging of Kuwaiti tankers in the Persian Gulf, Operation Just Cause in Panama, the Desert Shield/Storm deployment and operation, the peacekeeping deployment to Somalia to name just a few. As recently as the 104th Congress, areas of intensive oversight conducted by the committee that could not have been reasonably anticipated at the outset of the Congress included the deployment of U.S. ground forces to Bosnia and the terrorist attack against U.S. military facilities in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. The breadth and demands of such reviews are such that they can dominate committee and staff resources, sometimes at the expense of other pre-planned activities. The continuing unsettled nature of the post-Cold War world is such that the committee fully expects that this type of event-driven oversight will continue to be required and will inevitably have an impact upon other planned oversight activities.
In addition, the committee has a long tradition of translating oversight activities into prescriptive legislative action as reflected in past comprehensive efforts to reform the military retirement system, the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act, the Federal Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act, and the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994, and the Federal Acquisition Reform Act of 1996. The committee will continue to maintain a strong linkage between formal oversight efforts and legislative initiatives.
In addition to the above, the following specific areas and subjects are identified for special attention during the 106th Congress:
The committee will continue to monitor closely the proper and full implementation of the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994, the Federal Acquisition Reform Act of 1996, and other recent reforms of the federal acquisition system. In addition, the committee will continue to evaluate proposals to further reform the military procurement process to achieve greater efficiencies and economies. The committee will continue to cooperate and coordinate fully with the Committee on Government Reform in these matters of shared jurisdiction and interest.
Base Closure and Realignment
Particular attention will be given, but not limited, to the following: a continuing examination of the cost and savings associated with base realignment and closure actions taken in 1988, 1991, 1993, and 1995; examination of the impact of base realignment and closure actions on affected local communities, including the effects of Administration policy and statutory requirements concerning base reuse, disposal, and community adjustment assistance; examination of previous base realignment and closure actions and their impact on readiness and future force modernization; continuing oversight of the management of the base realignment and closure process by the military services.
Particular attention will be given, but not limited, to the following: assessment of current federal, state, and local environmental compliance, remediation, and restoration requirements imposed on the Department of Defense, the military services and the Department of Energy; examination of current and planned funding requirements for environmental programs of the DOD and DOE, including an assessment of the cost effectiveness of such programs; and examination of the diversion of military training and operations and maintenance funds to meet unfunded environmental requirements and the impact such diversion may have on training and readiness. Additionally, the committee will continue to cooperate and coordinate fully with the Committee on Commerce and other committees of jurisdiction on reauthorization of the Superfund program.
A continuing principal focus of the committee during the 106th Congress will be to assess the readiness of the armed services and the adequacy of the Administration's defense spending priorities to support sustained readiness and modernization of our military forces. Particular attention will also be given, but not limited, to the following: an examination of the current state of readiness of the armed services; an assessment of congressionally revised methods of measuring the readiness of military units; a continuing examination of the training required for the maintenance of a high state of readiness and whether training requirements are properly funded; examination of the impact of the high pace of deployments on service personnel and their families; reevaluation of current policy supporting officer and enlisted recruiting, accessions, training, promotions, separations, and retirements; assessment of pay, compensation, and other benefits of military service; a continuing assessment of recruitment and retention policies and programs of the military services; and an assessment of the condition of wartime medical readiness.
Industrial and Technological Base
Particular attention will be given, but not limited, to the following: assessment of current budget and policy priorities on the maintenance of the defense industrial and technology base; assessment of the ramifications of mergers and acquisitions in the defense industry on the development of future weapons systems; assessment of dual-use technology programs; examination of the current defense laboratory system; assessment of the role of defense funding for university research in the maintenance of the technology base.
Particular attention will be given, but not limited to the following: an assessment of measures undertaken by the Department of Defense to ensure year 2000 compliance of DOD information technology and national security systems, including those measures required to ensure the continuity of essential operations for the critical functions of DOD and the military departments; an assessment of the measures being taken by the Department of Defense to reduce the vulnerability of information technology systems to unauthorized access and use, the theft of information, and new forms of informational warfare and terrorism.
The committee will continue to cooperate and coordinate with the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on tactical intelligence matters and intelligence-related activities of the Department of Defense in the course of its annual oversight of the intelligence community and the authorization of appropriations for intelligence activities shared by the two committees.
Particular attention will be given, but not limited, to the following: examination of current programs to maintain the U.S. flag merchant fleet and its role in strategic and sustainment sealift; the condition of the National Defense Reserve Fleet and its capability to meet surge requirements, and oversight of the implementation of Public Law 104-239, the Maritime Security Act of 1996 by the United States Maritime Administration and the United States Transportation Command; examination of the ability of U.S. shipyards to transition to a combination of defense and non-defense ship construction and the role of the trade agreement concerning shipbuilding among member states of the Organization on Economic Cooperation and Development in affecting that transition.
The committee will also continue its oversight of the Panama Canal Commission and the transfer of its functions and assets to the Republic of Panama as specified by treaty.
Military Applications of Nuclear Energy
Particular attention will be given, but not limited, to the following: continuing modernization and maintenance of U.S. defense nuclear structure in support of Armed Services requirements; assessment of possible effects of a nuclear test ban, in whole or in part, on the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear deterrent; examination of the restructuring of the nuclear facility workforce; assessment of options concerning the disposition of plutonium and highly enriched uranium; examination of future national stockpile requirements for tritium; and oversight of organizational issues affecting the Department of Energy.
Particular attention will be given, but not limited to the following: a continuing examination of projected military equipment modernization on military capability; tactical aviation and bomber force structure, including review of on-going assessments by the Department of Defense on the appropriate mix of deep attack weapons; shipbuilding requirements to maintain a 300-ship naval capability; anti-submarine and mine warfare; strategic lift; oversight of research and development and procurement of major weapons systems, particularly tactical aircraft and missile procurement. The committee will also devote particular oversight attention to current plans for conducting research and development on missile defense systems; plans for deploying national missile defenses and advanced theater missile defenses for forward deployed U.S. military forces and those of our allies.
Morale, Welfare and Recreation Programs
Particular attention will be given, but not limited, to the following: oversight of Morale, Welfare, and Recreation programs; examination of military exchanges and commissaries oversight of nonappropriated fund construction programs and other nonappropriated fund instrumentalities.
National Military Strategy and Force Structure
Particular attention will be given, but not limited, to the following: a continuing examination of the strategic and tactical assumptions supporting the national military strategy of the United States; a continuing assessment of the role of contingency operations in the execution of the national military strategy and the force structure required to sustain such operations; an examination of the technological, doctrinal, and other factors affecting the long-term transformation of the conduct of military operations; examination of initiatives to enhance Guard and Reserve forces and the integration of active and reserve components, including a review of active and reserve general officer authorizations and distributions; review of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff-combatant commands military requirements, examination of roles and missions of the armed services, and their implications for modernization requirements and the development of major weapons systems.
Organization and Management of the Department of Defense
The committee will continue its review of the Department of Defense infrastructure to insure progress in meeting established downsizing and streamlining goals. The committee considers these issues a top priority in light of the recalcitrance of the Department with respect to past Congressional direction and compliance with statutory mandates in this area. Specifically, the committee will focus on downsizing of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Defense agencies and support activities, the staffs of the military departments, and unified commands. The committee will similarly pursue options to decrease the cost associated with the defense service support infrastructure in an effort to redirect these budgetary resources to underfunded modernization and readiness accounts.
People and Quality of Life
The committee will continue to address critical issues and programs supporting the quality of life for military personnel and their families and the effect of those programs ultimately on military readiness. Particular attention will be given, but not limited to the following: examination of the conditions of facilities where service personnel and their families live and work, including the investment strategy of the Department of Defense for maintaining adequate facilities; assessment of the cost, accessibility, and quality of peacetime military health care, including the adequacy and relevance of military health care facilities construction to the health care objectives of the Department of Defense; examination of research and health care issues related to the care of veterans of the Persian Gulf War; assessment of the policies, procedures and systems of the Department of Defense and the military departments related to sexual misconduct; examination of family support programs, including child care and dependent education; review of the current quality and adequacy of the military family housing supply; review of the current quality and adequacy of barracks, bachelor enlisted quarters, and dormitories; oversight of the implementation of the Military Housing Privatization Initiative (section 2801 of Public Law 104-106, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996); and examination of the backlog in the repair and maintenance of military housing.
The committee will continue to conduct a careful examination of the current U.S. export control regime and its effectiveness in preventing the transfer of sensitive military-related technologies to potential adversaries. In particular, the committee will focus its efforts on the following: evaluating the impact of U.S. policy regarding the export of sophisticated encryption products on U.S. national security; conducting oversight of the implementation of legislative requirements related to the export of high performance computers (so-called "supercomputers") contained in Public Law 105-85, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1998; examining the results and impact of the licensing jurisdiction changes related to the export of U.S. satellites mandated by Public Law 105-261, the Strom Thurmond National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999; and assessing the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns With the Peoples Republic of China with a view toward developing appropriate legislative remedies to prevent the unauthorized or dangerous transfer of military-related U.S. technology to China. In these and other export control-related areas, the committee will continue to cooperate as appropriate with the Committee on International Relations and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.