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HASC Chairman Marks Up Fiscal 2013 Defense Bill: Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), House Armed Services Committee chairman, on May 7 released his mark-up of the Pentagon's Fiscal 2013 defense budget proposal. The chairman's mark (caution, large-sized file) provides $554 billion for national defense base activities next fiscal year—$29 billion more than the Pentagon requested—and matches its $88 billion request for overseas contingency operations. McKeon said in a release his mark "ensures that even in an era of declining resources, our military can sustain the combat power needed to defend vital national interests and maintain America's leadership role in the face of rising threats." Among the Air Force-related changes, his mark authorizes the manpower requirements to retain 21 C-27Js in the Air National Guard, and 39 C-130Hs that the Air Force wants to retire; it also retains 18 aerospace control alert defense locations. This equates to keeping nearly 2,000 of the 5,100 Air National Guardsmen and some 900 Reservists that the Air Force leadership proposed cutting from Total Force end strength. The full HASC will convene on May 9 for a mark-up hearing. (See also HASC Tacair Panel Blocks Global Hawk Retirements and HASC Starts Mark-ups.)