Subscribe

WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives on Thursday passed its $512.9 billion budget outline for next fiscal year, adding a provision requiring all tanks and Humvees in combat zones to be outfitted with IED jammers by fall 2007.

Members of the House Armed Services Committee had already added $210 million to the Pentagon’s fiscal 2007 plans to deal with the roadside bombs, through portable radio jammers and additional surveillance flights.

But the full chamber took that “take back the roads” initiative one-step further Thursday.

All vehicles traveling outside of military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan must have the jammers installed by Oct. 1, 2007. Pentagon officials have until the end of this year to report back on the costs of purchasing and installing the equipment.

The House version would spend an extra $1 billion on up-armored Humvee protection and improvements — including $364 million for gunner protection kits and related items — and $930 million more than the administration requested for body armor research and production.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., said the moves will not only help troops complete their missions overseas but also “minimize the risks associated with such challenges.”

The authorization bill, which passed 396-31, is more than $73 billion above what Pentagon officials and the president requested earlier this year. Of that difference, nearly $50 billion would to pay for ongoing operations in Iraq in Afghanistan, in an effort to avoid the semi-annual emergency spending bills Congress has faced in recent years.

The measure would increase all military pay by 2.7 percent next year, above the 2.2 percent recommended by the Pentagon. Civilian defense employees would still see only a 2.2 percent increase.

Other provisions in the House’s 2006 Defense Authorization Bill:

Forbids defense officials from taking more than 20 percent of a single paycheck to recover overpayments resulting from Pentagon pay system mistakes.Requires the Army report on the feasibility of shifting from yearlong deployments overseas to six-month tours.Requires military planes, not commercial flights, be used to transport caskets to their final resting place.Requires the Defense and Health and Human Services departments to re-examine the potential health effects of using depleted uranium in military munitions.Allows families of civilian defense employees killed while working in a combat zone to receive a military death gratuity of $100,000.Renames the Navy to “the Department of the Navy and Marine Corps.”The full Senate is expected to vote on their version of the authorization bill later this month. Both chambers must reach a compromise on their separate measures before sending the bill to the president to become law.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up