SASC votes 23-3 to advance National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)

WASHINGTON, DC – Last night, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted 23-3 to approve the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022.  This legislation authorizes funding levels and sets policies to equip, supply, and train our troops and provide for military families.

The FY22 NDAA supports a total of $777.9 billion for national defense programs, including a base budget of $740.3 billion for the Department of Defense (DOD) and $27.7 billion for the national security programs of the Department of Energy.

U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), the Chairman of the Committee, said the FY22 NDAA will strengthen military readiness, protect the health of our forces and their families, and support the defense industrial base.

“The FY22 National Defense Authorization Act will help safeguard the nation, counter a range of evolving threats, and support our troops both on and off the battlefield.  This forward-looking legislation invests in people, platforms, and infrastructure.  It authorizes funding levels and sets policies to equip, supply, and train U.S. forces now and in the future.  It provides for military families while strengthening America’s industrial base and the workers who contribute to our national security,” said Senator Reed.  “This year’s markup provides our troops and Defense Department civilians with a well-deserved pay raise, as well as new tools and reforms to protect the health and well-being of our servicemen and women and their families.  It prioritizes programs and policies to strengthen our cyber defenses, improve readiness, and accelerate research and development of advanced technologies that will give our forces strategic advantages.

“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 ensures we have the proper support, force structure, and systems in place to meet their most pressing needs,” 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 we have the policies and resources to deter America’s adversaries, reassure our allies, and ensure our forces have the right tools and capabilities to combat threats around the globe.  Advancing this bill is a significant step toward achieving that objective.”

Committee approval is the first step in a months-long process to establish defense funding levels and set policies for the Defense Department and the Energy Department’s national security programs.  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.

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:

  • $6.4 billion to fully support construction of two Virginia-class submarines;
  • $4.8 billion to fully support the Columbia-class (Ohio-class Replacement) Program, including an additional $130 million to support stability in the submarine industrial base;
  • $79.5 million for Navy applied research on undersea warfare technologies, led by the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC), including $10 million to support lab research activities and $12 million to support Navy and academia submarine partnerships.  The University of Rhode Island has been a leader in these types of academic partnerships.
  • Nearly $2.5 billion for university research activities, including $10 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;
  • $3 million for high-performance computation and data equipment to support the University of Rhode Island’s defense research activities;
  • $2.5 million for research on humanoid robots to support naval missions – Brown University is a leader in this research field;
  • $10 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;
  • $150 million in additional funding for planning and design of lab modernization construction projects, to include $8.3 million for four projects at NUWC;
  • $75 million to support the Rapid Innovation Program to transition successful research projects, including SBIR projects, into procurement;
  • $50 million in supplemental Impact Aid, and $20 million in Impact Aid for schools with military dependent children with severe disabilities.

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 make historic reforms to combat military sexual assault; expand parental leave benefits for all service members to 12 weeks; authorize the active and reserve component end strengths necessary to meet national defense objections; provide a 2.7 percent pay raise for the troops and the DOD civilian workforce; restore $15 million to the STARBASE program; and require the Department to restart the Troops-to-Teachers program, which was terminated under President Trump.  Additionally, the bill establishes a working group on training to enhance servicemember and DOD employee awareness of and defenses against foreign malign influence campaigns and boost information literacy.

Finally, the bill includes a provision sponsored by Senator Reed that would reform the Military Selective Service Act to require the registration of women to the same extent as men.  The bill also includes a provision that would prohibit DOD from procuring personnel protective equipment from China, North Korea, Iran, and Russia. 

This marks the 61st consecutive year that the Committee has come together on a bipartisan basis to advance a defense policy bill.