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Clinton Signs Authorization Act, Pay Raise Approved

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 24, 1997 – Service members will get a 2.8 percent pay raise beginning Jan. 1 as part of the fiscal 1998 Defense Authorization Act President Clinton signed Nov. 18.

In addition, the legislation creates a single basic allowance for housing, revising the basic allowance for quarters, the variable housing allowance and the overseas housing allowance. DoD is working on details of the effects on service members.

End strength for active duty personnel is set at 1,431,379 for fiscal 1998. This is a drop of 26,039 service members from the fiscal 1997 figure. Reserve components will see a 15,471-member drop to 895,259 at the end of fiscal 1998.

The act establishes the Commission on Military Training and Gender-related Issues. This commission will review requirements and restrictions regarding relationships among members of the armed forces and review service basic training programs.

The authorization act kills the Ready Reserve Mobilization Income Insurance Program. Under the program, reservists bought insurance to cover income losses if they were involuntarily mobilized. The act ensures those enrolled reservists currently mobilized or on orders for mobilization continue to receive insurance benefits.

The act established two Joint Staff positions: assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for National Guard matters and assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for Reserve matters. Both will be two-star positions.

The basic allowance for subsistance will change. The act ties it to the Agriculture Department's food plan indexes. The allowance will be adjusted to the new levels over a period of time beginning Jan. 1.

A total of 25,000 positions in the defense acquisition work force will be eliminated during fiscal 1998, according to the act.

Included in the act is a sense of Congress resolution that U.S. ground forces not participate in a follow-on force in Bosnia after June 1998, when the NATO Stabilization Force mission is scheduled to end. For U.S. troops to stay, the president must certify their continued presence is in U.S. national security interests.

The act authorizes more money to the National Missile Defense program and other missile defense programs. These include the Army's Theater High-Altitude Area Defense program and the Navy's Upper Tier Theater Missile Defense program.

The act provides $600 million to destroy the U.S. unitary chemical agents munitions stockpile. This is in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Another portion of the act directs the president to report to Congress on counterterrorism and anti-terrorism programs. Further, the act calls for the defense secretary to report that U.S. forces participating in peacekeeping operations have the necessary equipment to protect against terrorist attack.

The act also:

  • Authorizes $331.2 million for procurement of additional B-2 aircraft or for modification and repair of the existing fleet;
  • Authorizes $382 million for the Cooperative Threat Reduction program;
  • Approves multiyear procurements for medium tactical vehicles and Apache Longbow fire control radars;
  • Authorizes procurement of 20 F/A-18E/F aircraft;
  • Authorizes seven V-22 tilt-rotor aircraft;
  • Accelerates NATO Joint STARS alliance ground surveillance system;
  • Provides $2.6 billion for the procurement of the lead ship of a new class of nuclear attack submarines;
  • Approves $1.6 billion for refueling overhauls of Nimitz-class carriers.
  • Sets $2.8 billion for four Arleigh Burke-class destroyers;
  • Approves $50 million to accelerate advance procurement and construction of components for the next nuclear aircraft carrier, CVN-77.
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