The Democrats’ problem with the National Defense Authorization Act is simply that they don’t agree with using the Overseas Contingency Operations fund to bypass budget caps, said Rep. Adam Smith, (R-Wash.), ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee, on Friday at the Military Reporters and Editors conference in Washington, D.C. “It all comes down to the OCO,” Smith said, adding that he believes an NDAA will eventually pass. Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, said the debate about whether the money is in the OCO fund or the base budget should happen during the appropriations process, not now. “I think it’s critical that we get that bill passed,” he said. The NDAA has been approved by both houses of Congress, but President Obama has promised to veto it. Smith also said the only way to get a budget passed is if there is a Republican speaker of the house who is willing to get Democratic votes for a majority. Wittman said any speaker should have a majority of their party, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t reach out to the other side.
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self Defense Force recently, as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S., as the bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.