Reed Leads Key Panel in Advancing 2023 Defense Bill
SASC votes 23-3 to advance National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that includes largest pay increase for U.S. servicemembers in 20 years
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted 23-3 to approve the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23). This legislation, which represents the early stages of drafting the defense policy package, authorizes $847 billion for the Department of Defense and the national security programs of the Department of Energy and sets policies to equip, supply, and train our troops and provide for military families.
The FY23 NDAA provides U.S. troops and Defense Department civilians with a 4.6 percent pay raise, the largest increase in twenty years. And it bolsters U.S. alliances and partnerships to operate successfully in competition with rival powers, particularly in the Indo-Pacific and Europe. Notably, the bill authorizes $800 million for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative to continue support for Ukraine’s fight to defend its freedom and territorial integrity.
U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the FY23 NDAA will strengthen military readiness, protect the health of our servicemembers and their families, and ensure the strength and resiliency of the defense industrial base.
Reed, who also serves on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, acknowledged that the defense budget debate is still in the early stages and bipartisan, bicameral discussions will continue as the process moves forward.
“Advancing the FY23 National Defense Authorization Act is critical to ensuring we have the right policies, posture, and platforms in place to deter our adversaries and safeguard our nation. Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine is a stark reminder of the complex security and economic challenges we face and reinforces the need to strengthen our national security. And the Department of Defense is not immune to the worldwide inflation we are seeing, so this bill takes steps to protect its purchasing power,” said Senator Reed. “This year’s markup advances U.S. military capabilities in response to China and Russia. It targets research and development investments that will give our forces major advantages. It also includes an historic pay raise for our troops and Defense Department civilians, as well as new tools and reforms to protect the health and well-being of our servicemembers and their families. It prioritizes programs and policies to strengthen our cyber defenses.
“This bill makes critical investments in the readiness and well-being of our total force —including active duty, reserve, National Guard, civilians, and their families. It also helps address threats to critical infrastructure from climate change and hostile foreign actors,” continued Reed. “I commend Ranking Member Inhofe for his leadership and unwavering commitment to supporting our service members and their families. Congress must work on a bipartisan basis to ensure our forces have the right tools and capabilities to combat threats across the globe and keep Americans safe at home. Advancing this bill is a significant step toward achieving that objective, and I stand ready to fight for the same kinds of smart investments for education, the environment, and our children. As we invest in our shared defense, we must make commensurate investments here at home.”
The bill must now be debated and voted on by the full U.S. Senate. A separate measure will make its way through the U.S. House of Representatives. Once both the Senate and House pass their versions of the bill, they must then be reconciled in a bicameral conference committee, and then approved by each chamber before a final version may be sent to the President to be signed into law.
The NDAA includes a number of key provisions that were championed by Senator Reed to enhance national security, support our service members, and strengthen our nation’s maritime capacity and capabilities. A summary and highlight of the bill is available here.
Senator Reed also helped include key funding for the Navy’s modernization efforts – including submarine construction – and policies designed to strengthen our cybersecurity defenses, improve readiness, and prepare for evolving and emerging threats around the globe. The NDAA also helps provide certainty and stability for the nation’s supply chain and industrial base workforce to move forward with critical programs and acquisitions and keep employees on the job.
A number of Rhode Island-related projects and priorities are included in this bipartisan defense legislation now set to be considered by the Senate, such as:
• $6.6 billion to fully support construction of two Virginia-class submarines;
• $5.9 billion to fully support the Columbia-class (Ohio-class Replacement) Program, including $543 million to support stability in the submarine industrial base;
• $207 million for workforce and training initiatives to support the production of the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine and the continued construction of the Virginia-class submarine;
• $35 million in military construction funding for a consolidated headquarters medical and dining facility for the Air National Guard at Quonset State Airport.
• $65 million for Navy applied research on undersea warfare technologies, led by the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC);
• Nearly $1.4 billion for university research activities, including $25 million for the Defense Established Programs to Stimulate Competitive Research (DEPSCoR), which ensures Rhode Island universities may compete to perform cutting-edge basic research and partner with defense labs;
• $1 million for efforts to build institutional capacity on issues of civilian harm mitigation, including the development of assessment tools and training by the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies, at Naval Station Newport.
• $140.8 million for additional cold weather gear and female/small stature body armor; and a provision that directs the Secretary of the Army to develop a strategy for an enduring fielding initiative, including proposed funding levels, for critical organizational clothing and individual equipment;
• $50 million in supplemental Impact Aid, $20 million in Impact Aid for schools with military dependent children with severe disabilities, and $15 million in Impact Aid for schools affected by base closures, force structure changes, or force relocations.
In addition, the bill includes a provision that requires the Director of the Office of Small Business Programs to report on the role of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) in facilitating cybersecurity and foreign oversight control or influence (FOCI) training, market research, and data sharing within the small business community. The bill also increases the funding limit set aside for individual PTACs.
The NDAA also reflects other priorities backed by Senator Reed to sustain and improve the quality of life for our men and women in uniform and their families. The bill includes provisions that would increase the Basic Needs Allowance to raise the compensation of all military households to a minimum of 150 percent of the federal poverty line, strengthen the military health care system, and address childcare shortfalls.
Finally, the bill includes a provision long championed by Senator Reed that would reform the Military Selective Service Act to require the registration of women under the same conditions as men.
This marks the 62nd consecutive year that the Committee has come together on a bipartisan basis to advance a defense policy bill.