Controversy Over the National Defense Authorization Act

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Controversy over NDAA 2012 Passage Controversy over NDAA 2012 Passage Introduction The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012 (H.R. 1540) was introduced into the 112th Congress on April 14, 2011 by Representative Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA), chairman of the Armed Services Committee (Library of Congress, 2012). The NDAA 2012 was cosponsored by Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), a ranking member of the Armed Services Committee. This bill essentially authorizes annually federal funding for all Department of Defense operations, including the military, and defense operations within the Department of Energy (OpenCongress, 2012). The amount budgeted for the 2012 fiscal year was $662 billion (Mariner, 2011, para. 14), which represents about 73 percent of the total defense budget and just over 18% of the entire federal budget (Chantrill, 2012). The reauthorization of Defense Department funding was expected, in part because it has happened every year for the past 50 years (Fox-Rouch, 2012); however, the most recent version generated considerable controversy among civil and human rights advocates due to a provision that allows indefinite detention of American citizens (Fox-Rouch, 2012; Kuipers, 2012). NDAA's Route to Passage When first introduced into committee, the NDAA had a mere 29,542 words, but by the time it made it out of committee for consideration in the House, it had grown to 190,720 words (OpenCongress, 2012). During debate in the House, the bill had
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