Panels OK special ops, cybersecurity funds

Other approved funds included $168 billion for the military's operations and maintenance accounts.

The House Armed Services Terrorism Subcommittee on Thursday approved its share of the fiscal 2011 defense authorization measure, adding funds and program initiatives to bolster the Special Operations Command and cybersecurity.

The subcommittee added $205 million to cover the Special Operations Command's unfunded requirements, bring the total authorization for the command to just over $10 billion. Most of the added funds were placed in programmatic accounts that would allow SOCOM to apply the money to its most urgent needs, which would allow quicker responses, staff members said.

The panel also added more than $20 million to cybersecurity programs, most of which went into research for near-term and far-out solutions to the use of the Internet and other "new media" to spread radical messages and recruit potential terrorists.

Meanwhile, the Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee also approved its portion of the bill, which includes $168 billion for the military's operations and maintenance accounts and $20 billion for military construction, base realignment and closure and family housing.

The Readiness panel approved by voice vote an amendment from Rep. Glenn Nye, D-Va., that would withhold $2 million requested in planning and design work to transfer a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier from Norfolk, Va., to Mayport, Fla., until the Pentagon reviews a recent GAO report that found flaws with the decision.

The panel has three members of the Virginia delegation, all of whom have been fighting the decision to transfer the carrier. But Reps. Jeff Miller and Tom Rooney, both R-Fla., could fight the amendment at the full committee's markup next week.

The subcommittee also approved by voice vote an amendment that would prevent the Air Force from retiring any C-130 aircraft until the Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve formally agree to a plan to transfer C-130s from the reserve component to an active-duty training unit.

The transfer plan, which is tucked in the fiscal 2011 budget request and only came to the attention of lawmakers in March, called for the permanent transfer of 12 Air Guard C-130H planes from nine state units and six C-130Hs from the Air Force Reserve to replace older model C-130s operated by the 314th Airlift Wing at Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas.

Under a compromise proposal being weighed by stakeholders, seven state Air Guard units would loan eight aircraft to the Little Rock base and the Air Force Reserve would provide another 10 aircraft on loan.