Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Thursday sent a letter to leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services committees again threatening to recommend a veto of the Fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act unless several changes are made. Carter has repeatedly expressed concern about taking funding out of the overseas contingency operations fund to spend on readiness, a move that lessens the amount of money available to fight ISIS in order to fund programs DOD didn’t request, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said during a Thursday briefing. The House and Senate bills, in their current form, also include provisions that “micromanage” the Pentagon on issues such as acquisition and logistics, and impose excessive limitations on how the department can spend money. Cook said both bills “include provisions that will impose excessive costs and reduce benefits for our military families,” and he called on Congress to “join the department in making the tough budget choices that are necessary in this environment.” The House and Senate committees began conference meetings to remedy differences in the proposed bills earlier this week. (See also: Another Veto Threat.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.