The bill authorizes spending for military personnel, weapons systems, national security programs in the Energy Department, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for the fiscal year that began on Oct. 1. The spending level is $27 billion less than the President requested and $43 billion less than Congress gave the Pentagon for fiscal 2011.
Some of the major parts of the bill affecting defense employees:
Pay and benefits
Increases military pay across-the-board by 1.6 percent.
Allows for increases to TRICARE premiums but caps increases to the cost-of-living adjustment beginning Oct. 1, 2012.
Does not prohibit pharmacy copayment changes.
Extends time limit for submitting TRICARE claims from one year to five years for care provided outside of the United States.
Extends a cap on government-contracting salaries to all contractor employees (not just the top five most highly paid executives in each company). The provision offers an exemption for scientists and engineers. However, the final bill does not limit all salaries to $400,000 as a Senate amendment would have done. The current cap of $698,951 — which follows a set formula — will be extended to all contracting employees.
Freezes spending on contract services at fiscal 2010 levels.
Strengthens protections against counterfeit electronic parts.
Requires contractors to pay for the replacement of suspect counterfeit parts.
Requires DoD officials and contractors to purchase electronic parts from trusted suppliers.
Requires DoD to set up procedures to detect counterfeit parts.
Includes the chief of the National Guard Bureau as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The position of the Director of the Joint Staff of the bureau wil be renamed “Vice Chief of the National Guard Bureau.”
(Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that a $400,000 cap on contracting employees’ salary was included in the final bill. In fact, that pay cap was not included in the final version of the bill.)