White House officials on Monday warned they’d recommend that President Obama veto a defense policy bill for Fiscal 2015 that resembles H.R. 4435, the House’s current version, unless Congress addresses the President’s concerns by the time such legislation reaches his desk for signature. “The bill does not include meaningful compensation reforms and other cost saving measures, rejects many of the [Defense] Department’s proposed force structure changes, and restricts DOD’s ability to manage its weapon systems and infrastructure,” reads the May 19 statement of Administration policy. Among the multiple provisions that concern the Administration are ones that block the President’s proposals to slow the growth of basic military pay and modernize military healthcare, restrict the Pentagon’s ability to retire weapons systems like the Air Force’s A-10s; retain Minuteman III ICBM silos that the Pentagon wants to eliminate; prohibit the Air Force from reducing force structure at Lajes Field, Azores; and bar a new BRAC round. The House Armed Services Committee approved H.R. 4435 on May 8; the full House is expected to take up the legislation this week. The Senate Armed Services Committee is scheduled to start marking up its bill on May 20.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.