FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC—Today, President Obama followed through on his pledge to veto the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
The bill authorizes $496.4 billion in base Pentagon spending and an additional $89.2 billion in the Pentagon’s slush fund, the Overseas Contingency Operations account (OCO) – a $38 billion plus up from the administration’s request.
The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and its affiliated advocacy organization, Council for a Livable World, applaud the President for objecting to this piece of legislation and its wasteful provisions, detailed here: http://nukesofhazardblog.com/top-10-reasons-obama-should-veto-the-defense-authorization-bill/.
The defense authorization bill has been vetoed four times throughout history – most recently by President George W. Bush in 2008 over an Iraq policy issue. This will be President Obama’s third time exercising his veto power: fewer than any president since 1881.
Congress must now work to come up with a compromise bill that makes better use of taxpayer dollars.
Here’s what our experts had to say on a few of the more objectionable provisions contained in the bill:
On the Overseas Contingency Operations Account, Executive Director Angela Canterbury said:
“This abuse of OCO allows the Pentagon to circumvent the budget caps created by Congress in the first place; caps that apply to all other federal agencies. President Obama is right to prevent Congress from breaking their own rules of so-called fiscal discipline.”
In addition to the outrageous boost in OCO funding, the NDAA includes objectionable provisions such as an expansion of unnecessary missile defense programs as well as the National Sea-Based Deterrence fund, which gives the Navy its own special account outside of its own budget to pay for new ballistic missile submarines.
On the Sea-Based Deterrence Fund, Center Board Member Lt. Gen. Robert Gard said:
“Budgeting gimmicks like OCO and the Sea-Based Deterrence fund allow the Pentagon to avoid making choices based on strategy and encourages an ‘all of the above’ approach to defense. The Sea-Based Deterrence fund in particular sets a poor precedent for other branches of the military to ask and receive from Congress off-budget funding for programs they cannot afford within their standard budget.”
The NDAA also authorizes $30 million for design and construction of an East Coast missile defense site.
On missile defense, the Center’s Senior Fellow John Isaacs said:
“Pentagon officials have repeatedly argued that the Department of Defense cannot afford and does not need an East Coast missile defense system to defend against a potential attack from North Korea or Iran. The Pentagon has yet to prove that the current missile defense system works effectively and consistently in real-world conditions.”
The NDAA also sets up an unaffordable and unnecessary of programs to modernize all three legs of the U.S. nuclear triad.
Angela Canterbury said:
“Spending taxpayer dollars to not only upgrade these Cold War relics is like investing in 8-track cassettes,” said Angela Canterbury. “Plans include creating essentially new weapons–which will do little to help us address today’s most pressing threats. In fact, re-investing in these dangerous weapons makes us less safe.”
For more on the National Defense Authorization Act, please contact Amanda Waldron at firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch with our experts.
The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)3 non-profit, non-partisan research organization dedicated to enhancing international peace and security in the 21st century.
Council for a Livable World is a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization dedicated to reducing the danger of nuclear weapons and increasing national security. Our mission is to advocate for sensible national security policies and to help elect congressional candidates who support them.