Washington D.C. - The U.S. Senate has passed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act [NDAA] by a vote of 86-13.
Thursday's vote in Washington follows House approval on Wednesday of the NDAA conference committee report which freeze further funding for the Guam buildup for at least a year.
The 2012 NDAA now heads to the White House where President Barack Obama has already said he would sign it now that his objections to provisions concerning the arrest of terrorist suspects on U.S. soil have been revised.
During the Thursday debate on the Senate floor, Arizona Republican Senator John McCain said "the conference committee report directs the Secretary of Defense to pause further spending on Guam."
HEAR Senator McCain's Senate floor remarks on the 2012 NDAA HERE>>>12-16 mccainndaafinaldebate.mp3
In an effort to cut costs, Senators McCain, Carl Levin and Jim Webb pushed for revisions to the NDAA, forcing DoD to re-think and revise its realignment plans for U.S. forces in the Pacific, and that includes freezing further funding for the Guam Buildup.
READ Senator McCain's comments on the Senator floor below:
"The conference report directs the Secretary of Defense to pause further spending on Guam in support of the relocation of 8,500 United States Marines from Okinawa until Congress has had an ability to examine.":
"This pause will allow congress to ensure that the taxpayers' funds invested in our overseas military force posture and base will afford us the best opportunity to continue our strong alliances in the region while pursuing new arrangements with emerging partners that support security and economic development. The final agreed-upon provision requires a study to offer views and suggestions from a range of regional experts on current and emerging U.S. national security interests in the Pacific and options for the alignment of realignment of U.S. military forces in the region."
"The conference report would also restrict the use of $33 million in operation and maintenance funds for items on Guam that do not directly affect military items. This provision should not be interpreted as a lack of United States commitment to realignment. As the president of the United States has stated, we are shifting a lot of our attention to the pacific region and we understand the importance of the pacific region in the 21st century. Finally, the conference report includes a provision to require that the contract for the sixth slot of the low-grade joint strike fighter. The pentagon has failed to incentivize the prime contractor with control costs."
"So a tougher measure is embodied in this report as warranted. I would have preferred the original Senate position that would have made the fixed price requirement apply to the fifth. I strongly support this provision."