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Committee Reports

110th Congress (2007-2008)

House Report 110-146

Partial Report: House Report 110-146 2 of 2

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{link: 'http://www.congress.gov:80/cgi-bin/cpquery?%26r_n=hr146.110%26sel=TOC_514445hd_count=2',title: 'THOMAS - Committee Report - House Report 110-146' }

House Report 110-146 - NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2008


SECTION 367--PROHIBITION ON DEACTIVATION OF 36TH RESCUE FLIGHT

This section would prohibit any action by the U.S. Air Force to deactivate the 36th Rescue Flight (RQF) assigned to Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington. The committee strongly supports the 36th RQF and is very concerned that the Air Force intends to deactivate the unit without certifying to Congress that equivalent search and rescue capabilities are available for the region in support of the National Response Plan. Section 1085 of the Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005 (Public Law 108-375) required certification that `equivalent search and rescue capabilities will be provided, without interruption' before search and rescue capabilities at a military installation may be eliminated or reduced.

The committee notes that the 36th RQF is part of the National Search and Rescue Plan and provides search and rescue support to parts of Washington, Idaho, Montana and Oregon and has been credited with saving over 600 lives since its inception in 1971. The committee also notes that the 36th RQF is the only search and rescue unit in the region with helicopters equipped with night vision goggles, on-board flight medics, a hoist, forward looking infrared, and crews trained for operations in inclement weather and rugged terrain.

SECTION 368--LIMITATION ON EXPENDITURE OF FUNDS FOR INITIAL FLIGHT SCREENING AT PUEBLO MEMORIAL AIRPORT

This section would prohibit the expenditure of funds for initial flight screening at Pueblo Memorial Airport in Pueblo, Colorado, until the Air Force and the City of Pueblo have developed a plan to meet the Air Force crash, fire and rescue requirements to support Air Force flight training operations at Pueblo Memorial Airport. The committee notes that the report required by section 346 of the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 (Public Law 109-364) has not been delivered to the congressional defense committees.

TITLE IV--MILITARY PERSONNEL AUTHORIZATIONS

OVERVIEW

The committee commends the Secretary of Defense for proposing to permanently increase the authorized end strength for the active Army to 547,000, and to 202,000 for the active Marine Corps by fiscal year 2012. However, the President's request only contained funding for an increase of 7,000 for the Army and an increase of 5,000 for the Marine Corps in fiscal year 2008. The committee remains concerned that the budget request for the active components of the Army and the Marine Corps is too low for the current requirements placed on those services by the national security strategy. The committee continues to recommend active end strength levels greater than those requested. The committee's recommendation for fiscal year 2008 would increase the active Army end strength by 36,000 and the Marine Corps end strength by 9,000 above the budget request.

The committee is concerned that continued military-to-civilian conversions, particularly within the military medical community, are having an adverse impact on access and quality-of-care being provided to service members and their families. The committee heard directly from military families facing difficulties in accessing care at military treatment facilities during a hearing on total force readiness. In addition, the treatment of wounded warriors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and at other military medical treatment facilities requires a review of the assumptions and evaluations that were previously made in support of these conversions. Therefore, the committee proposes to prohibit further military-to-civilian conversions in the military medical community in section 703 of this Act, and proposes to restore the end strength and associated funding for the conversions, as well as restore the proposed manpower reductions as directed in program decision memorandum four for Navy medicine for fiscal year 2008.

LEGISLATIVE PROVISIONS

SUBTITLE A--ACTIVE FORCES

SECTION 401--END STRENGTHS FOR ACTIVE FORCES

This section would authorize the following end strengths for active duty personnel of the armed forces as of September 30, 2008:


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Service   FY 2007 authorized   FY 2008                             Change from                   
                               Request Committee recommendation FY 2008request FY 2007authorized 
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Army                 512,400   489,400                  525,400         36,000            13,000 
Navy                 340,700   328,400                  329,098            698           -11,602 
USMC                 180,000   180,000                  189,000          9,000             9,000 
Air Force            334,200   328,600                  329,651          1,051            -4,549 
DOD Total          1,367,300 1,326,400                1,373,149         46,749             5,849 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The authorizations contained in this section for the Army and Marine Corps exceed the end strengths for those services requested in the fiscal year 2008 budget by 36,000 and 9,000, respectively, because the budget request did not provide adequate manning levels for the Army and Marine Corps to meet current operational requirements. Additional funding for this end strength increase is recommended in Title XV of this Act.

The authorizations contained in this section for the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force end strengths include 489 for the Navy to restore the reduction in end strength in Navy Medicine, and it would also restore the military end strength for the Navy by 209 and the Air Force by 963, which was reduced to accommodate the military-to-civilian conversions programmed for fiscal year 2008 as directed by Program Budget Decision 712. The proposed increase in Army end strength would accommodate the restoration of 723 military positions within the Army.

In addition, the committee understands that the Air Force plans to modernize and upgrade only 56 of the total 76 B-52 aircraft in the inventory. The committee strongly opposes a strategy to reduce capability in present day conventional long-range strike capability without a replacement platform and recommends an authorization increase of 88 enlisted manpower personnel for the B-52 bomber fleet and provides $5.3 million for the additional end strength.

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