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Wilson Opening Statement for Subcommittee Markup of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010

June 11, 2009

CONTACT: Ryan Murphy

(202) 225-2452 (Office)

(202) 689-4825 (Cell)

Wilson Opening Statement for Subcommittee Markup of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010

WASHINGTON – Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel, today released the following prepared remarks for the subcommittee’s markup of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010.

“Thank you, Chairwoman Davis. Madame Chairwoman, the recommendations contained in the subcommittee report to the full committee are the product of an open, bi-partisan process. It has been a pleasure to work with you in developing them.

“You have already provided the major highlights, but I would also like to highlight some of the more important recommendations in the mark.

“I want to thank you for not only including in your mark my bill, H.R. 1864, to provide for a 3.4 percent basic pay raise for the military, but also for adopting a change to the matching fund requirements between the Department of Defense and the states for the National Guard Youth Challenge Program.

“I would also note the discretionary authority to increase the size of the Army by 30,000 in 2011 or 2012. Such growth would significantly improve the Army’s ability to deploy fully manned units – something that is now challenged by the large numbers of non-deployable personnel on the Army’s rolls.

“Our effort to oversee the process to account for our prisoners of war and missing in action is reflected in your mark. For the first time ever, the Department of Defense (DOD) will have the statutory mandate to account for all the missing from World War II, Korea, the Cold War, the Vietnam era, the Persian Gulf War and other conflicts designated by the Secretary of Defense. Furthermore, the DOD will be tasked to significantly increase the number of identifications from the current 70 per year to 200 by 2015 and subsequently to 350 per year by 2020.

“Other initiatives I will mention are:

* “Expanding chiropractic health care to all active duty military members;

* “Extending TRICARE Reserve Select to members of the Retired Reserve who are qualified for a non-regular retirement but are not yet age 60 otherwise known as “gray area retirees;” and,

* “Requiring a medical examination prior to the involuntarily separation of service members with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury.

“With all of the good things in this mark, I must communicate my disappointment that we were unable to adopt any provision containing mandatory spending. I know the lack of offsets forced you to take at least three provisions out of your mark. I am also very disappointed that the Budget Committee failed to provide the mandatory headroom for President Obama’s proposal that would have allowed military personnel retired with disabilities, the so-called Chapter 61 retirees, to receive both their full military disability retired pay and VA disability pay. The Budget Committee’s failure to favorably respond to both of the President’s requests, as well as that of the Committee, sends the wrong message to our disabled military retirees.

“Despite my reservations and concerns, this is an excellent mark and I intend to support it.”

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Gary Zaetz permalink
    February 21, 2011 12:41 am

    Congressman Wilson, I am glad that you noted with approval the statutory mandate in the FY 2010 NDAA to increase the number of MIA remains identifications to 200 by the year 2015. However, this statutory mandate is a hollow promise without a commensurate increase in appropriations needed to allow the expansion in the number of MIA recovery field teams needed to make this commendable target a reality. And this badly needed increase in appropriations has not been made – despite the 2010 NDAA’s tripling of the target number of annual identifications, every defense appropriations bill passed since 2010 has kept the funding for JPAC totally flat. Without a tripling in funds, a tripling in the annual identifications target is turning out to be a cruel hoax perpetrated on the families of American MIAs.

    Gary Zaetz
    Project Homecoming
    http://www.projecthomecoming.org

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