Defense Authorization Debate Begins in House

Prescription monitoring for those with PTSD, military support to Taiwan among amendments scheduled for floor debate

Several of the amendments concern the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (CQ Roll Call file photo)
Several of the amendments concern the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted May 17, 2016 at 9:16am

The amendments are part of the debate over how the House will prioritize spending in the fiscal 2017 Defense Authorization .  

The rule also contains a provision that, upon adoption, would automatically modify the bill to strike provisions that would require women between the ages of 18 and 26 to register with the draft. Instead, it would require a report on the current and future need for a centralized registration system for military selective service and whether it should include women.  

Here are what several of the key amendments would do:  


  • Authorize the Army secretary to continue to provide for the production, treatment, management and use of natural gas under Fort Knox, Ky.
  • Each branch of the armed services would be required to monitor prescribing of medications to treat PTSD among servicemembers.
  • Require the Department of Defense to report to the committee on allowing more small businesses to enter the federal defense contracting market by reducing the cost to bid. 
  • Would cap the National Security Council staff at 100. The president could increase the size to more than 100 staff, in which case the national security adviser would become subject to confirmation by the Senate. The NSC currently has a staff of about 400. 
  • Remove the authorization bill’s funding prohibitions on the closure of the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
  • Amend the Freedom of Information Act to include the National Security Council and makes the FOIA requirement effective after Senate confirmation of the national security adviser. 
  • Direct the Defense secretary to give preference to state and federal agencies that conduct border security functions for distribution of surveillance unmanned aerial vehicles including the MQ-9 Reaper, the Aerostat radar system, night-vision goggles and Humvees as part of the department’s Excess Property Program.
  • Would require the U.S. government and the government of a foreign country to enter into a written memorandum of understanding regarding the transfer of an individual from Guantánamo Bay. The memorandum would be required to be transmitted to the Congress.
  • Would require the Defense Department to submit a report at the end of each fiscal year listing each request received from Taiwan and each letter of offer to sell any defense articles or services under the Arms Export Control Act to Taiwan during such fiscal year.
  • Direct Small Business Development Centers to provide, to the extent practicable, cyber assistance to small businesses. The amendment would require the Small Business Administration and the Homeland Security Department to develop a joint “SBDC Cyber Strategy” to provide necessary guidance to SBDCs regarding how they can improve the coordination and provision of federal cyber assistance to small businesses.
  • Would restrict the use of 50 percent of the funds for the office of the Energy secretary until he provides Congress, within 15 days of enactment, the report titled “U.S. Nuclear Deterrence in the Coming Decades,” dated Aug. 15, 2014.
  • Would require the GAO to report on admissions practices and gender composition of the military service academies.
  • Would require the inclusion of information concerning the availability of treatment options and resources available to address substance abuse (including alcohol, prescription drug and opioid abuse) as part of required service members’ pre-separation counseling.
  • Would place specific reporting requirements on the Defense Department when prescribing and distributing the malaria drug mefloquine to service members, and require the Defense secretary to conduct an annual review for each mefloquine prescription. It also would expand the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury’s mission to include the study of the adverse health effects of mefloquine.
  • Would require the Defense and State departments to submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report containing a description of the steps the United States has taken, plans to take and will take to provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act. The 1979 act effectively established as U.S. policy that an attack against Taiwan is inimical to the security interests of the United States and that “the United States will make available to Taiwan such defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability.” 
  • Would prohibit funding from the Syria Train and Equip program to go to recipients that the Defense secretary has reported as having misused provided training and equipment.
  • Would require the Director of National Intelligence to complete a declassification review of intelligence reports related to the past terrorist activities of individuals who were transferred or released from Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and make available to the public any information declassified as a result of the declassification review. 

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