WASHINGTON, DC – Today, led by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed (D-RI), leaders of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees came together on a bipartisan, bicameral agreement for the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23).  The $847 billion legislation specifies budgets and policies for the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and the national security programs of the U.S. Department of Energy.  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.

The FY23 defense bill provides U.S. troops and DOD civilians with a 4.6 percent pay raise, the largest increase in twenty years.  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.

Chairman Reed 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.

“This bill is an example of bipartisanship and it is critical for our troops, national security, and the economy.  It wisely matches resources with strategic objectives and invests in providing our forces with an enduring advantage.  Passing the NDAA is critical to ensuring we have a strong national defense.  I will work with my colleagues to get it across the finish line to help keep America safe, secure, and prosperous,” said Senator Reed. 

The FY23 NDAA advances U.S. military capabilities in response to China and Russia.  It helps build the force structure the U.S. needs for a crisis or conflict; targets research and development investments in emerging technologies; and prioritizes programs and policies to strengthen U.S. 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,” continued Reed.  “I thank Ranking Member Inhofe for his leadership and unwavering commitment to supporting our servicemembers and their families and I am proud that this legislation is named in his honor.  Congress must continue to 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.  This agreement 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 bipartisan NDAA includes a number of key provisions that were championed by Senator Reed to enhance national security, support our servicemembers, and strengthen our nation’s maritime capacity and capabilities.  A summary 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;
  • $65 million for Navy applied research on undersea warfare technologies, led by the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC);
  • $35 million in military construction funding for a consolidated headquarters medical and dining facility for the Air National Guard at Quonset State Airport;
  • Nearly $1.4 billion for university research activities, including $20 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;
  • $50 million in supplemental Impact Aid and $20 million in Impact Aid for schools with military dependent children with severe disabilities.

The NDAA also includes Reed’s Vet Center Improvement Act language to help improve staffing and hiring practices at Vet Centers and ensure counselors at these critical institutions can effectively treat veterans for mental health issues like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  It requires the periodic review and reform of counselors’ productivity expectations at Vet Centers and creates a working group to implement changes to improve quality of care for veterans and recruitment and retention of staff. 

The NDAA contains a provision that makes administrative updates to the Procurement Technical Assistance Program and increases the funding limit set aside for individual Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (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 families to ensure they take home a minimum of 150 percent of the federal poverty line, strengthen the military health care system, and address childcare shortfalls.

Both Congressional chambers produced separate versions of the NDAA earlier this year.  The final text of the bipartisan agreement was released today and the bill will proceed through the House of Representatives first and must then be approved by the full U.S. Senate.

Reed, who worked with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to hammer out an agreement on the defense policy bill, says he hopes that the House will vote on the NDAA this week, setting up a vote in the Senate soon thereafter.

If the NDAA agreement is passed by Congress, it would mark the 62nd consecutive year that both chambers have come together on a bipartisan basis to approve a defense policy bill.