Senate Works Toward Passage of the National Defense Authorization Act
‘This is the legislation that authorizes the resources, the capabilities, and the pay and benefits that our men and women in uniform need to perform their missions. This bill is always important, but it’s especially important in light of the many security threats we face around our globe.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA):
“This week, we’ll work toward passing one of the most important bills we consider each year: the National Defense Authorization Act. This is the legislation that authorizes the resources, the capabilities, and the pay and benefits that our men and women in uniform need to perform their missions. This bill is always important, but it’s especially important in light of the many security threats we face around our globe.
“Consider Iran: we’ve seen the regime work aggressively to dominate its neighbors and expand a sphere of influence across the Persian Gulf and the broader Middle East. Consider North Korea: we’ve watched Pyongyang become ever-more determined to develop its nuclear-weapons capabilities and the means to deliver them. Consider Russia: we’ve witnessed the Kremlin continue its efforts to undermine NATO and the Western nations it views as threats to its own power. Consider China: we’ve looked on as the nation has grown in regional and economic strength, making clear its intent to displace U.S. influence so that it can dominate the Asia-Pacific on its own.
“These are state actors, and the challenges they pose include the employment of asymmetric means — like propaganda, coercion, cyberattacks, and espionage — but these are not the only threats to our nation. Just consider how groups like ISIL, al-Qaeda, and other affiliated terror organizations have continued to threaten the United States and other nations — consider how they’ve continued to plot to strike our homeland and those of our allies.
“Unfortunately, the Obama Administration too often failed to mitigate these kinds of threats, instead pursuing a foreign policy marked by a draw-down of our conventional military posture, a heavy reliance on international organizations, and overreliance on special operations forces to train and equip partner units in other nations.
“This drawdown and the harmful consequences of sequestration have inflicted upon our forces a genuine readiness crisis. Our force structure simply is not sufficient to address the challenges I mentioned in either a comprehensive or responsible way. We have to correct this. That means equipping our servicemembers with the resources and training necessary to sufficiently address these myriad threats. I was pleased that this spring’s government funding bill made an important down-payment toward rebuilding our forces. But more work remains.
“Fortunately we can add to that progress with this year’s defense authorization legislation. This bill before us will allow our nation to start rebuilding the military and restoring combat readiness. It will aid in rooting out waste and in bringing reform to the Pentagon. It will help improve our missile defense and help us better-prepare for cyber threats. And it will go a long way toward reviving troop morale, authorizing a well-deserved pay raise for our men and women in uniform — along with continued reform of the benefits that they and their families rely upon.
“As Senator McCain, the Chairman of the Armed Service Committee, put it, not only does this legislation ’[build] upon the sweeping reforms that Congress has passed in recent years’ but ’[b]y continuing important efforts to reorganize the Department of Defense, spur innovation in defense technology, and improve defense acquisition and business operations, the NDAA seeks to strengthen accountability and streamline the process of getting our warfighters the equipment, training, and resources they need to succeed.’
“Senator Reed, the top Democrat on that Committee, said that the NDAA ’invests in much needed readiness to allow our fighting men and women to be properly trained and equipped for a wide range of threats.’
“‘I salute Chairman McCain’s leadership,’ Senator Reed added, ’in maintaining the Committee’s tradition of bipartisan cooperation in support of our Armed Forces.’ So, let me echo that sentiment. This good bill has already earned the bipartisan support of every member of the Armed Services Committee. Every single member. Democrat and Republican. They reported it out unanimously. I appreciate the committee’s work on this year’s defense authorization bill, as well as the ceaseless efforts of Chairman McCain and Ranking Member Reed. With their continued leadership and a little hard work from both sides, we can pass the defense authorization bill this week.”
Related Issues: NDAA