Summary: H.R.1778 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Reported to House amended, Part I (06/17/1997)


Title I: Defense Personnel Reforms

Title II: Defense Business Practices Reforms

Subtitle A: Competitive Procurement Requirements

Subtitle B: Reform of Conversion Process

Subtitle C: Other Reforms

Title III: Defense Environmental Reforms

Subtitle A: Superfund Reforms Generally

Subtitle B: Superfund and Other Environmental Law

Reforms Applicable to Department of Defense or

Department of Energy

Title IV: Miscellaneous Additional Defense Reforms

Title V: Commission on Defense Organization and Streamlining

Defense Reform Act of 1997 - Title I: Defense Personnel Reforms - Amends Federal armed forces provisions to provide a phased reduction in the number of Department of Defense (DOD) personnel assigned to management headquarters and headquarters support activities. Provides that the number of such personnel as of October 1, 1998, may not exceed 90 percent of the number of such personnel on October 1, 1997. Decreases such percentage by an additional 5 percent as of October 1 of each subsequent year through 2001. Authorizes the Secretary of Defense (Secretary) to waive such requirement if he determines and certifies to the Congress that such limitation would adversely affect U.S. national security. Requires an implementation report from the Secretary to the Congress containing a plan to achieve such reductions.

(Sec. 102) Requires a similar phased reduction in the number of DOD acquisition workforce personnel, to achieve a total reduction of 124,000 by October 1, 2001. Requires an implementation report.

(Sec. 103) Decreases the required percentage reduction in monthly retirement annuity amounts under an alternative annuity plan paid to certain DOD acquisition personnel who are separated from service before age 55. Requires an initial and final report from the Secretary to the Congress concerning alternative plan participants.

(Sec. 104) Authorizes the Secretary to offer separation pay to DOD civilian personnel who: (1) are covered by the definition of "defense acquisition personnel"; (2) are separated from service during FY 1998 after meeting Federal age plus years in service requirements; and (3) do not receive any other separation pay. Requires a report.

(Sec. 105) Requires, by October 1, 1998, a reduction in the number of personnel assigned to the United States Transportation Command to no more than 66,238. Provides authorized personnel sources for such reduction.

Title II: Defense Business Practices Reforms - Subtitle A: Competitive Procurement Requirements - Requires the Secretary, no later than October 1, 1998, to use competitive procurement requirements in the purchase of: (1) finance and accounting services; (2) services for the disposal of surplus property; (3) information services currently performed by the Defense Information Systems Agency; and (4) opthalmic services related to the provision of eyeware for current and retired military personnel and their beneficiaries (with an exception). Requires various reports concerning the services provided under (2) and (3), above.

(Sec. 204) Amends the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996 to extend through FY 1998 the required competitive procurement by DOD of printing and duplication services. Prohibits the Defense Automation and Printing Service from imposing a surcharge on any such service for DOD that is procured from outside of DOD.

(Sec. 206) Requires, in each fiscal year beginning after 1999, no less than 33 percent of the commercial and industrial type functions of the defense agencies to be performed by private contractors. Requires an implementation plan from the Secretary to the Congress.

Subtitle B: Reform of Conversion Process - Directs the Secretary, no later than October 1, 1998, to develop standard forms to be used in the consideration for conversion to contractor performance of those commercial services and functions at military installations that have been converted to contractor performance at a rate of 50 percent or more.

(Sec. 212) Requires the Secretary, in the case of a commercial or industrial type DOD function that on October 1, 1980, was being performed by DOD civilian employees, to notify the Congress of any decision to study such function for possible conversion to performance by a private contractor. Requires further notification if a decision is made to convert such function. Makes such notification requirements inapplicable to a function currently being performed by 20 (currently 45) or fewer DOD civilian employees.

(Sec. 213) Directs the Secretary, with respect to each contract converting the performance of a DOD service or function to contractor performance, to collect, during the term of the contract (but not to exceed five years), cost information data regarding performance by private contractor employees.

Subtitle C: Other Reforms - Directs the Secretary to reduce the annual overhead costs of the supply management activities of the Defense Logistics Agency and the military departments so that such costs are not more than eight percent of annual net sales at standard price. Requires such reduction by September 30, 2000. Requires an implementation plan.

(Sec. 222) Amends the DOD procurement technical assistance cooperative agreement program to: (1) authorize the provision of electronic commerce technical assistance; (2) require the Secretary to use competitive procedures in entering into cooperative agreements; and (3) allow the Secretary to expend only funds specifically appropriated for such program.

(Sec. 223) Authorizes the Secretary of a military department to convey a utility system (or part thereof) under his jurisdiction to a municipal, private, regional, district, or cooperative utility company or other entity. Requires notification of any such conveyances to the appropriate congressional committees.

Title III: Defense Environmental Reforms - Subtitle A: Superfund Reforms Generally - Amends the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) to require environmental remedies undertaken at Superfund cleanup sites to be protective of human health and the environment over the long term. Requires the President to identify and select an appropriate remedy that minimizes exposures by comparing alternative remedies and balancing specified factors (effectiveness, reliability, cost, risks) with respect to each remedy. Authorizes the President to defer the selection of a remedial action if he determines that: (1) the hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant can be contained in a manner sufficient to protect human health and the environment; and (2) an innovative technology is expected to be available in the near future that will provide a more cost-effective remedy. Directs the President to determine the appropriate remedy for "hot spots" (areas within a facility that contain hazardous substances in high concentrations, that are highly mobile, and that cannot be contained or areas that would present a significant risk to human health or the environment). Directs the President to establish cost-effective generic remedies for categories of facilities, together with expedited procedures (including community involvement) for selecting generic remedies at an individual facility. Requires the President, whenever he selects a remedial action which relies on land, water, or other resource restrictions, to specify the nature of such restrictions and to ensure that such restrictions are incorporated into a hazardous substance easement.

(Sec. 302) Directs the President, before selecting a remedy, to identify the reasonably anticipated future uses of land at a facility, taking into consideration specified factors, including views expressed by the local community, recommendations of review committees, and the land's use history.

(Sec. 303) Prohibits criminal liability for Federal officers, employees, and agents failing to comply with an environmental action response requirement at a federally owned facility unless: (1) such individual has not fully performed any direct or delegated responsibility to ensure that a request for sufficient funding for such action was included in the President's budget request; or (2) appropriated funds were available for such action.

(Sec. 304) Authorizes a State to apply to the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to exercise vested authorities of the Administrator with respect to remediation actions at Federal facilities, including review and approval of documents prepared in connection with remedial investigations and studies, review and selection of remediation remedies, and entering into appropriate remediation agreements. Provides for the transfer of authority in such cases from the Administrator to the State, with specified conditions. Requires the Administrator to make a determination on an application from a State within 90 days after its receipt. Provides for: (1) withdrawal of authorities for improper use or activities (with a requirement of written notice to such State at least 90 days prior to such withdrawal); (2) the enforcement of interagency agreements and remedy selection; (3) procedures to be undertaken upon failure to concur in a remedy selection; and (4) authority transfer limitations.

Subtitle B: Superfund and Other Environmental Law Reforms Applicable to Department of Defense or Department of Energy - Makes certain CERCLA standards relating to the attainment of a relevant and appropriate environmental standard inapplicable to a remedial action undertaken at a DOD facility if the facility is not listed on the CERCLA national priorities list.

(Sec. 312) Authorizes the Secretary of Defense or Energy, with respect to any site or facility under his or her jurisdiction, to terminate the long-term operation and maintenance of a completed remedial or corrective action in any case in which such Secretary determines, with the concurrence of the Administrator or appropriate State or local authorities, that the release or threatened release of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants at such site or facility is no longer a threat to human health and the environment.

(Sec. 313) Prohibits the Secretary of Energy from entering into or agreeing to a major modification of an environmental compliance agreement until after such Secretary submits to the Congress specified cost and budget information.

(Sec. 314) Provides for the continued effect of any exemptions from Clean Air Act standards which were in effect with respect to ozone or particulate matter at property owned or operated by the armed forces.

(Sec. 315) Amends the Solid Waste Disposal Act to direct the EPA Administrator to exempt unexpended military munitions from being considered hazardous waste under such Act upon a finding that such munitions are subject to management under another Federal law which is sufficiently protective of human health and the environment.

Title IV: Miscellaneous Additional Defense Reforms - Authorizes the Secretary of the Navy, after FY 1998, to enter into contracts for the long-term lease or charter of newly built surface vessels, or for the provision of a service through use by a contractor of such vessels, for: (1) the Navy combat logistics force; (2) the Navy strategic sealift program; or (3) other auxiliary support vessels for DOD. Requires such contracts to be authorized by law. Outlines provisions concerning: (1) funds for contract payments; (2) contract terms (including an option to buy leased or chartered vessels); (3) the required crewing of such vessels by private sector commercial mariners; and (4) contract termination liability.

(Sec. 402) Directs the Secretary, in at least one U.S. metropolitan area containing multiple military installations, to provide for the installation of fiber-optics based telecommunications technology to link as many of the installations in such area as practicable in a privately dedicated telecommunications network. Requires an implementation report.

(Sec. 403) Repeals a Federal provision requiring specified contractor guarantees to the appropriate defense agency head with respect to major weapon systems being produced and delivered by such contractor.

(Sec. 404) Provides contracting officer requirements relating to the purchase of commercial items in an amount less than or equal to the micro-purchase threshold.

(Sec. 406) Terminates the Armed Services Patent Advisory Board. Transfers Board functions to the Defense Technology Security Administration.

(Sec. 407) Establishes in DOD a Board on Criminal Investigations to provide for coordination and cooperation between the military department criminal investigative organizations in order to avoid duplication of effort and maximize available resources. Directs the Board to establish regional working groups to address and resolve issues of jurisdictional responsibility, with final determination of such issues by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence.

(Sec. 408) Terminates on December 31, 1998, any existing DOD advisory committee that was not established or expressly continued by law after January 1, 1995. Requires: (1) a report from the Secretary to the Congress with respect to committees for which continuance is requested; and (2) an annual report from the Secretary to the Congress identifying each committee that the Secretary proposes to support during the next fiscal year.

Title V: Commission on Defense Organization and Streamlining - Establishes the Commission on Defense Organization and Streamlining to: (1) examine the missions, functions, and responsibilities of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the management headquarters and headquarters support activities of the military departments and defense agencies, and the various DOD acquisition organizations; (2) propose alternative organizational structures and alternative allocations of authorities; (3) identify areas of duplication and recommend options to streamline, reduce, and eliminate redundancies; and (4) submit an interim and final report to the Congress.