Sunday, July 3, 2011

S 1254 Introduced – Another DOD Authorization Bill

Back on June 22nd the day that Sen. Levin (D, MI) introduced S 1253, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, he also introduced S 1254, the Department of Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. The two bills are very similar; actually they are identical through §1534 which is the final section of S 1254. This second bill does not contain the following divisions found in the other bill:
● Division B – Military Construction Authorizations;

● Division C – Department of Energy National Security Authorizations and Other Authorizations; and

● Division D – Funding Tables.
Those other divisions are included separately in S 1255 and S 1256. No cyber security provisions there, so I’ll ignore them.

Intra-House Politics

I would assume that the reason for these nearly identical bills has to deal with the way that the Senate handles legislation. Typically if both the Senate and the House craft bills on the same topic and the House bill is passed before the Senate bill completes its consideration process, the appropriate Committee Chair will offer the language of the Senate bill as an ‘amendment in the form of a substitute’. S 1253 covers the same topics as HR 1540; so if the Senate takes up HR 1540 it will substitute the language found in S 1253.

This bill, along with S 1255 and S 1256 would, allow the leadership of the Senate to take up each of the different components of S 1253 separately. I’m not sure what the impetus would be to handle the authorization process this way. One thing is certain though; it didn’t take much extra work to introduce the three additional pieces of legislation once S 1253 was written; just cut and paste.

Cyber Security Provisions

All of the cyber security provisions that I discussed in my blog on the introduction of S 1253 are found in this bill, so their discussion is applicable here. The issues raised in the Committee Report for S 1253 should also apply to this bill as well. Technically this bill was reported ‘without written report’ but the portion of the S 1253 Committee report that deals with ‘Division A’ found in this bill would apply if this bill is passed. That means the issues I discussed about that report apply to this bill as well.

The Way Forward

Since I don’t completely understand why Sen. Levin introduced these bills (this one and S 1255 and S 1256) I can’t tell for sure how likely it will be that these three bills will reach the Senate floor instead of S 1253. I suspect that the Senate will take the easy way out and take up HR 1540 in the traditional manner and substitute the language of S 1253. If they took this alternative they would then have to pass the other two bills and deal with the inevitable conference committee haggling after the bills were modified in the House.

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