Reed Leads Congressional Passage of National Defense Bill
WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, can cross one more item off his to-do list after the U.S. Senate voted 83-11 to approve the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2023. The bill now goes to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
The NDAA is one of the biggest, most important, and bipartisan pieces of legislation to pass this Congress. It is integral to America’s national defense and helps shape the military’s future. A detailed summary of the bill is available here.
The $857.9 billion NDAA specifies budgets and policies for the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and the national security programs of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The legislation offers a blueprint to equip, supply, and train U.S. forces; provide for military families; and strengthen oversight of the Pentagon and military programs. It also bolsters support for Ukraine and Taiwan.
After the bill passed, Chairman Reed stated: “This bipartisan bill strengthens our national security by ensuring our military has the resources it needs to defend our nation, deter conflict, and meet a range of evolving security challenges. It takes good care of our men and women in uniform, providing them with a well-earned pay raise and other quality-of-life enhancements. In addition to supporting our warfighters, it invests in America’s workforce, defense manufacturing base, and securing supply chains to ensure America can independently out-compete and out-produce global rivals. The NDAA also strengthens key alliances and partnerships to bolster U.S. security.
“This year’s NDAA includes targeted investments, needed reforms, and enhanced oversight. It addresses a broad range of pressing issues, from strategic competition with China and Russia, to disruptive technologies like hypersonics, AI, and quantum computing, to modernizing our ships, aircraft, and other equipment.
“The United States of America is the leader of the free world and this bill ensures we have the capacity and capabilities to live up to that responsibility and keep the American people safe.”
As a key architect of the NDAA, Senator Reed led efforts to invest in our nation’s servicemembers; support advancements and breakthroughs in innovation and technology; and strengthen America’s critical alliances.
Improving the Lives of Service Members and Their Families
The FY23 NDAA includes a well-deserved 4.6 percent pay raise for U.S. military personnel and civilians who contribute to national defense. It offers an additional 2.4 percent bonus for those earning less than $45,000 a year to help with rising costs and a 2 percent increase in housing allowances for military personnel. And it invests heavily in key quality-of-life improvements for military service members and their families.
Building Next Generation Submarines
The bill authorizes $14.7 billion for submarines, which will help modernize the Navy’s submarine fleet and fuel a hiring boom for Rhode Island workers in good-paying manufacturing jobs.
In 2022, Electric Boat hired about 3,000 new workers, a 20 percent increase over 2021 hiring levels, with almost half of the new jobs based in Rhode Island.
Overall, the bill sets manpower levels for the Army at 452,000, the Navy at 354,000, the Air Force at 325,344, the Marines at 177,000 and the Space Force at 8,600.
And to support the work of the U.S. Coast Guard, the NDAA authorizes over $28 billion in funding.
Strengthening Suicide Prevention, Mental Health, and Military Justice
To improve how the military responds to suicide prevention, mental health crisis, and sexual assault in the military, the bill directs DOD to undertake several reforms. This includes more research and transparency when it comes to mental health and suicide. The legislation also builds on historic reforms enacted to the Uniform Code of Military Justice last year, including placing sexual harassment and other offenses under the jurisdiction of the Special Trial Counsel and requiring independently-trained investigators outside the immediate chain of command to investigate claims of sexual harassment.
Responding to the Cyber Threat Environment
The NDAA makes key investments and changes in cyber operations and cyber forces, as well as Department of Defense cybersecurity. The bill also includes research funding and recommendations from the National Security Commission on AI (NSCAI).
Retiring Outdated Systems
To help save taxpayer money and allow the military to more effectively allocate limited funds, the NDAA retires several unneeded military projects and systems.
The FY23 NDAA also includes negotiated agreements by several outside committees that address key issues, including:
• The Water Resources Development Act of 2022, legislation that authorizes water resources infrastructure projects to address flooding, waterway transportation, and ecosystem restoration.
• The Natural Resources Committee Provisions supporting ocean conservation and the Blue Economy.
• The Federal Firefighters Fairness Act, which improves firefighters’ access to injury and illness benefits through an automatic presumption that an illness on a science-based list, such as mesothelioma, was work related.
• The 21st Century Assistive Technology Act, which expands work opportunities for people with disabilities through increased access to technology, equipment, and services.
• Important global health provisions to bolster pandemic preparedness and create new interagency processes for responding to international health threats from Global Health Security and International Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response Act of 2022.
• Reauthorization of the Global Food Security Act for five years, which authorizes the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiatives.
• Authorization of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2022.
• Authorization of the Maritime Administration Reauthorization Act of 2022.
While the NDAA authorizes defense spending for a given year, Congress must still pass an appropriations bill to fund the programs. Senator Reed is a senior member of the Appropriations Committee and is working with his colleagues to hammer out a bipartisan 2023 omnibus appropriations package.
Senator Reed concluded by noting this year’s NDAA law is named in honor of retiring U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), who served in the U.S. Army during the 1950s and in the U.S. Senate for over three decades.
“Naming this bill in honor of Ranking Member Inhofe is a fitting testament to his leadership and partnership on the Armed Services Committee, and his many decades of dedicated service to the people of Oklahoma, our servicemembers, and the nation,” said Reed.