Text: H.R.4434 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (04/09/2014)


113th CONGRESS
2d Session
H. R. 4434


To require the Secretary of Defense to develop a plan to move United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) back to the continental United States, and for other purposes.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

April 9, 2014

Mr. Nunes (for himself, Mr. Keating, Mr. LoBiondo, Mr. Gerlach, Mr. Boustany, Mr. Calvert, Mr. Cook, Mr. Jones, Mr. Stivers, Mrs. Black, Mr. Wilson of South Carolina, Mr. Brady of Texas, Mr. Shuster, Mr. Coffman, Mr. Diaz-Balart, Mr. Tiberi, Mr. Valadao, Mr. Marchant, Mr. Latham, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen, Mr. Kinzinger of Illinois, Mr. Costa, Mr. Young of Indiana, Mr. Denham, Mr. Rohrabacher, Mr. Cole, Mr. LaMalfa, Mr. Duncan of South Carolina, Mr. Sessions, Mr. Westmoreland, Mr. Rodney Davis of Illinois, Mr. Thompson of California, Mr. Issa, Mr. Franks of Arizona, Mr. Chaffetz, Mr. Lamborn, Ms. Sewell of Alabama, Mr. Camp, Mr. Crawford, Mr. Terry, and Mr. Holding) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Armed Services


A BILL

To require the Secretary of Defense to develop a plan to move United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) back to the continental United States, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Africa Counter Terrorism Initiative Act”.

SEC. 2. Findings.

Congress finds the following:

(1) The proliferation of terrorist groups is rampant in unstable countries in West and sub-Saharan Africa. The biggest regional threats include al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which has known ties to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Boko Haram, and al-Shabab. The opportunity to expand the strategic reach and force projection of the United States into the theater of operations of the United States Africa Command (in this Act referred to as “AFRICOM”) is now. With the United States strategic pivot to the Pacific now underway, the need to ensure retention of a strong Atlantic presence is a vital and delicate aspect of strategic re-positioning.

(2) The United States Central Command operates from its headquarters in Tampa, Florida, with a forward operating location in Qatar. The United States Southern Command operates from its headquarters in Miami, Florida, with forward operating locations in Honduras and El Salvador. It is not unusual for United States military units and their combatant command headquarters to operate in different time zones.

(3) Analyses conducted by the Government Accountability Office found that the annual recurring cost of maintaining a United States-based headquarters for AFRICOM would be $60 million to $70 million less than the cost of operating the AFRICOM headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. The annual cost of providing AFRICOM personnel with overseas housing and cost-of-living pay was $81 million per year, compared with the $19 million to $25 million these would cost if the personnel were located in the United States. The break-even point to recover one-time relocation costs to the United States would be reached between 2 and 6 years after relocation, depending on the costs to establish facilities in the United States. Relocating AFRICOM to the continental United States could create up to 4,300 additional jobs, with an annual impact on the local economy ranging from $350 million to $450 million.

(4) After an internal cost assessment, the Department of Defense decided to keep AFRICOM headquarters in Stuttgart, without fully explaining why the operational benefits of keeping the headquarters in Germany outweigh the benefit of potentially saving millions of dollars per year and creating thousands of jobs in the United States.

(5) A review by the Government Accountability Office in 2013 of the Department’s decision to keep AFRICOM headquarters in Germany found that the decision was not supported by comprehensive and well-documented analysis that balanced the operational and cost benefits of the options available to the Department.

(6) In April 2013, after the decision had been made to maintain AFRICOM headquarters in Germany, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel called on the Department to challenge all past assumptions in order to seek cost savings and efficiencies in “a time of unprecedented shifts in the world order, new global challenges, and deep global fiscal uncertainty”, to explore the full range of options for implementing United States national security strategy, and to “put everything on the table”. The Secretary stated that the size and shape of the military forces should constantly be reassessed. He stated that this reassessment should include determining the most appropriate balance between forward-stationed, ro­ta­tion­al­ly deployed, and home-based forces.

(7) It is within the strategic and fiscal responsibility of Congress to fully analyze and provide for the implementation of any consolidation of military installations. There are more than 110,000 troops and civilians stationed and employed at 29 military installations in Europe. Priority should be given to consolidating bases that are in close proximity to each other and that can achieve cost savings without detriment to operational readiness, such as Royal Air Force Station Mildenhall and Royal Air Force Station Lakenheath, as well as Moron Air Base, Spain, and Naval Station Rota, Spain.

(8) Of particular concern is the decision to deploy assets to Moron Air Base, where the readiness and effectiveness of deployed troops is hindered by the lack of infrastructure to house, train, and equip them. Specifically, Moron lacks the facilities to properly perform ground and naval training operations, and only has limited ability to accomplish air training operations. By contrast, Lajes Field has implemented more than $150 million of major infrastructure upgrades over the past 12 years to improve the quality of life, upgrade communication capabilities, bolster security, and enhance military operations. With a nearby port, sprawling fields, and unrestricted airspace, Lajes Field has the unique ability to host extensive air, ground, and naval training operations. Lajes’ strategic location, infrastructure improvements, unrestricted air space, and outstanding training environment for all forces make this an indispensable asset and an ideal forward operating base for AFRICOM, as opposed to spending hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade aging sites such as Moron Air Base, Spain.

(9) It is in the national interest of the United States to save millions of dollars per year and bring thousands of jobs to the United States by moving AFRICOM headquarters from Stuttgart, Germany, to the continental United States.

SEC. 3. Requirement for plan to move AFRICOM headquarters to continental United States.

(a) Plan required.—The Secretary of Defense shall develop a plan in accordance with subsection (b) to transfer the headquarters of AFRICOM from Stuttgart, Germany, to a location in the continental United States.

(b) Matters covered.—

(1) ASSETS OF AFRICOM.—The plan required under this section shall provide for—

(A) the 65th Air Base Wing to be an AFRICOM asset;

(B) AFRICOM permanent assets (including assets related to air, ground, special operations, and logistics) to be located at Lajes Field, Azores, Portugal; and

(C) the transfer of United States assets at Lajes Field from United States European Command to AFRICOM, for purposes of being the forward operating location, logistical hub, and location of assets of AFRICOM.

(2) RELOCATIONS TO LAJES FIELD.—The plan required under this section shall also provide for the relocation of the Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response (SP–MAGTF CR) from Moron Air Base, Spain, to Lajes Field.

(c) Submission to Congress.—The plan required under this section shall be submitted to Congress not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(d) Implementation of plan.—The Secretary of Defense shall implement the plan required by this section within 6 months after submission of the plan to Congress under subsection (c), and in no event later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 4. Requirement for review of Agreement on Cooperation and Defense Between the United States and Portugal.

The Secretary of Defense shall conduct a review of the Agreement on Cooperation and Defense Between the United States and Portugal, signed at Lisbon June 1, 1995, to ensure that such Agreement accurately reflects and accounts for the plan required under section 3.

SEC. 5. Continued operation of Lajes Field.

Effective until at least the date of completion of the 2018 quadrennial defense review, Lajes Field shall continue operating 24 hours a day, at or above its 2012 levels of readiness.