Congress Must Pass This Year’s NDAA So America Can Confront Worldwide Security Challenges

LEADER McCONNELL: ‘The NDAA Is Our Most Significant Opportunity To Set Priorities For Competition With Adversaries Like China And Russia … It’s Our Time To Lay The Groundwork For Robust Investments In Hard Power’

SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “The NDAA is our most significant opportunity to set priorities for competition with adversaries like China and Russia. It’s our chance to keep the Biden Administration focused on critical missions like rebuilding America’s defense industrial base instead of the woke partisan agenda of political appointees. It’s our time to lay the groundwork for robust investments in hard power. For 62 straight years – from the thick of the Cold War through the global war on terror – the Senate has used the NDAA to match tailored solutions to evolving national security challenges.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 7/18/2023)

  • LEADER McCONNELL: “The United States, for our part, needs no convincing that China poses a singular strategic threat. In fact, clear majorities of Americans support expanding our deterrence in the Indo-Pacific. But if we want to succeed at the big things like out-competing China, we need to get our ducks in a row on our most basic governing responsibility – providing for the common defense. Hard power is essential – more so than any number of pet rocks politicians hold up as helpful to compete with China. Hard power is the currency of geopolitics. The National Defense Authorization Act – our annual, must-pass opportunity to assert national security priorities – is finally before us. And when it comes to actually delivering the robust funding our armed forces need, the Biden Administration has left our work cut out for us. His defense budget was plainly insufficient to meet the growing security challenges we face. We need to invest in the cutting-edge capabilities that will make our adversaries think twice. And we need to rebuild the industrial base that keeps America’s arsenal – and the arsenal of democracy, our allies’ arsenals – stocked. There is no time to rest on our laurels.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 7/13/2023)

A Recent Bipartisan Congressional Commission Found That The United States Needs To Begin Investing In, Expanding, And Modernizing American Conventional And Nuclear Capabilities In Order To Meet Challenges From China And Russia

SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE RANKING MEMBER ROGER WICKER (R-MS): “Two years ago, Congress created the bipartisan Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States. We gave the job of: examining the strengths and weaknesses of our national security position. The Commission’s report, was released just last month. The report comments on an array of military issues, but its findings can be distilled to a single, alarming fact. China and Russia are increasingly able to match our military might, and if we do not act now, the consequences will be seismic. Not only could we fail to deter a war; we might actually lose the next war. The report finds that we are not prepared for what is coming. And here’s what’s coming: for the first time, we must stand up to the ambitions of two nuclear-armed peer adversaries, in multiple regions of the world, at the same time.” (Sen. Wicker, Remarks, 12/01/2023)

  • SEN. WICKER: “The consequences of our negligence together with Chinese and Russian investment are most acute when it comes to our nuclear position, which has been the foundation of our deterrence capability. Russian submarines are becoming much more advanced, and China is rapidly bringing missile silos online. Meanwhile, our Air Force personnel are still using floppy discs to operate missiles that are older than their parents, and they are flying bombers older than their grandparents. Our nuclear submarines – the crown jewels of U.S. military power – are having to remain at sea longer as our fleet shrinks. Workforce problems and maintenance delays hold the fleet back from its potential. The AUKUS agreement is a tremendous diplomatic achievement that can be a game changer, but it must be implemented correctly. And right now, we are short of the attack submarines that are clearly needed.” (Sen. Wicker, Remarks, 12/01/2023)
  • SEN. WICKER: “China and Russia now clearly realize that joining forces can help each reach their goals. China wants to occupy Taiwan, and their leader has said they need to be ready to do that as soon as 2027. Russia wants to puncture NATO’s iron wall. They want to help each other do both. Their sinister intent and increasing capabilities make this the most dangerous national security moment we have faced in 75 years.” (Sen. Wicker, Remarks, 12/01/2023)

BIPARTISAN CONGRESSIONAL COMMISSION ON THE STRATEGIC POSTURE OF THE UNITED STATES: “The Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States was established by the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and concludes that America’s defense strategy and strategic posture must change in order to properly defend its vital interests and improve strategic stability with China and Russia. Decisions need to be made now in order for the nation to be prepared to address the threats from these two nuclear-armed adversaries arising during the 2027-2035 timeframe. Moreover, these threats are such that the United States and its Allies and partners must be ready to deter and defeat both adversaries simultaneously. We arrive at these conclusions following a comprehensive year-long review of the threats America faces and its strategy and planned capabilities to address those threats. The evidence demonstrates that the U.S.-led international order and the values it upholds are at risk from the Chinese and Russian authoritarian regimes. The risk of military conflict with those major powers has grown and carries the potential for nuclear war.” (“America’s Strategic Posture,” The Final Report of the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States, 10/2023)

BIPARTISAN CONGRESSIONAL COMMISSION ON THE STRATEGIC POSTURE OF THE UNITED STATES: “Allies perceive that the risk of Russian and Chinese aggression and potential nuclear employment has increased; and thus, U.S. nuclear and conventional capabilities are increasingly important for credible extended deterrence.” (“America’s Strategic Posture,” The Final Report of the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States, 10/2023)

FORMER OBAMA NNSA AND PENTAGON OFFICIAL MADELYN CREEDON & FORMER SEN. JON KYL (R-AZ): “The investments the Commission recommends in both nuclear and conventional capabilities will provide a safe, secure, reliable, effective, and credible deterrent, which is essential to reduce the risk of conflict, most importantly nuclear conflict.” (“America’s Strategic Posture,” The Final Report of the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States, 10/2023)

The Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act Is Congress’ Opportunity To Begin Preparing America’s National Security Agencies, Personnel, And Equipment To Deter These Adversaries

“House and Senate negotiators on [December 6th] released a compromise version of the fiscal 2024 National Defense Authorization Act, a sprawling piece of must-pass legislation that would authorize $886.3 billion in national security spending, mostly within the Department of Defense. The report addresses issues across the entire spectrum of U.S. national security matters, and includes authorizations for the nation’s spy agencies [and] the State Department …” (“Compromise NDAA Conference Report Readied For Final Action,” CQ News, 12/07/2023)

This Year’s NDAA Also Features Many Key Provisions To Benefit Our Servicemembers, Including The Largest Pay Raise In Over 20 Years

“Service members will get a 5.2% pay raise come January under the compromise annual defense bill unveiled Wednesday night. The pay bump endorsed by the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, will mark the biggest raise for service members in more than two decades. A 5.2% raise in basic pay means anywhere from about $1,100 more per year for the most junior service members to more than $10,000 more per year for senior officers…. The 5.2% increase is the highest since service members got a 6.9% increase in 2002. (“Biggest Military Pay Raise in 2 Decades Finalized in Newly Released Defense Bill,” Military.com, 12/07/2023)

The Bill Also Offers More Flexibility For Guardsmen And Reservists With Kids And A Parent's Bill Of Rights For Families With Children In Schools On Base

“The compromise bill also includes a ‘parent's bill of rights’ to allow Department of Defense Education Activity parents to review their school's curriculum, instructional materials and all books in the school library.” (Military.com, 12/07/2023)

“Guardsmen and reservists who are non-birthing parents, adoptive parents and foster parents would be granted parental leave, giving reserve components the same benefit as their active-duty counterparts.” (Military.com, 12/07/2023)

Once Again, Congress Has Stepped In With The NDAA To Boost Inadequate Defense Requests From The Biden Administration

“The compromise defense policy measure just completed by a House-Senate conference committee would authorize billions of dollars in spending on weapons beyond those President Joe Biden requested…. [T]he bill would add $1.2 billion more than the White House requested for defense procurement and nearly $1 billion more for research …” (“NDAA Proposes Billions For Weapons Pentagon Didn't Seek,” CQ News, 12/07/2023)

  • “The additions proposed for weapons include $1 billion to continue funding an amphibious transport dock ship that Biden didn’t seek but that the Marine Corps wants. Also in the bill is authority to spend $190 million to continue to develop a sea-launched nuclear cruise missile…. In addition to the amphibious transport dock ship and the nuclear cruise missile, the NDAA would give the Navy and Marine Corps the authority to buy most of the arms they wanted — and then some. For example, the bill would authorize procuring two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers for $4.2 billion and parts for a future ship in the class for $784 million — about a half-billion dollars of which was unrequested funds just for the so-called advance procurement of the parts. The bill would authorize more than $10 billion for a pair of Virginia-class subs and parts for future ones. The measure would also authorize the Navy to sign a so-called multiyear contract to buy 13 Virginia-class subs.” (“NDAA Proposes Billions For Weapons Pentagon Didn't Seek,” CQ News, 12/07/2023)
  • “Separately, the bill ensures the Virginia-class submarines remaining in the U.S. inventory will now have a nuclear mission because it institutionalizes the sea-launched cruise missile nuclear program despite the objections of the Biden administration. The bill allocates $196 million for the Pentagon to continue research on the program and another $70 million for the National Nuclear Security Administration to modernize its warhead stockpile in preparation for the submarines’ new mission.” (“Final Defense Policy Bill Advances AUKUS, Taiwan Training,” DefenseNews, 12/07/2023)
  • “The Army, meanwhile, would receive authorization to buy a number of additional vehicles that were not requested. Included in this category are $532 million in additional funds for Abrams tanks, $205 million for Paladin howitzers, $140 million for Stryker armored vehicles and $65 million for Bradley Fighting Vehicles. The Army also netted approval to buy four CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters that were not part of the formal budget request, at an additional cost of $178 million, plus two more UH-72B Lakota light utility helicopters for $20 million extra.” (“NDAA Proposes Billions For Weapons Pentagon Didn't Seek,” CQ News, 12/07/2023)

The ‘Fiscal 2024 Defense Authorization Bill Includes A Slate Of Provisions Aimed At Strengthening The U.S. Defense Industrial Base’

“The compromise fiscal 2024 defense authorization bill includes a slate of provisions aimed at strengthening the U.S. defense industrial base as lawmakers worry about whether the U.S. has enough capacity to help arm Ukraine and Israel while also deterring China. The conference report (HR 2670) would expand the list of platforms eligible for multiyear procurement, an effort by Congress to signal to suppliers that the Pentagon is interested in committing to various platforms for the long term and encourage higher production rates. Specifically, it would authorize multiyear procurement for several munitions, including weapons that lawmakers say would be critical in a conflict with China: Tomahawk cruise missiles, Precision Strike Missiles, Mk-48 torpedoes, Seasparrow Missiles, RIM–116 Rolling Airframe Missiles and Small Diameter Bomb IIs. It also would authorize multiyear procurement for Virginia-class submarines and domestically processed critical minerals.” (“Compromise NDAA Aims To Bolster Defense Industrial Base,” CQ News, 12/07/2023)

“The compromise bill also contains a provision to provide emergency acquisition authority for replenishing U.S. defense stockpiles if a U.S. ally or partner is subject to armed attack and receives U.S. supplies. And it would extend temporary authority, provided in the fiscal 2023 defense authorization (PL 117-263) to acquire new defense stocks to replace weapons and supplies sent to Ukraine. The fiscal 2024 legislation would make weapons sent to Taiwan and Israel, alongside Ukraine, eligible for that temporary authority.” (“Compromise NDAA Aims To Bolster Defense Industrial Base,” CQ News, 12/07/2023)

This Year’s Defense Authorization Bill Is Essential For Supporting Our Allies and Partners In Asia And Europe While Deterring China And Russia

The Bill ‘Includes Several Measures Aimed At Strengthening The U.S. Military’s Ability To Counter China’

The proposed NDAA report includes several measures aimed at strengthening the U.S. military’s ability to counter China, funding initiatives to keep relationships with allies in the Pacific region close while carrying out military exercises as a show of U.S. strength. Lawmakers have proposed to fund new technologies to better position the U.S. military to counter potential Chinese aggression, including high-energy lasers, mobile micronuclear reactors and radar sophisticated enough to track high-altitude balloons capable of spying on U.S. communications.” (“Congress Moves Forward on Roughly $900 Billion Defense Bill,” The Wall Street Journal, 12/07/2023)

Included Are Provisions To Implement The AUKUS Agreement And Training For Taiwanese Troops

“The $874.2 billion fiscal 2024 National Defense Authorization Act, finalized in conference [last week], would fully authorize the trilateral AUKUS agreement with Australia and Britain and codify into law a new nuclear mission for Virginia-class submarines…. [T]he bill includes all four authorizations needed to implement the AUKUS agreement, through which the U.S. and Britain will help Australia develop its own nuclear-powered submarine fleet in the decades ahead, starting with the transfer of at least three Virginia-class submarines in the 2030s.” (“Final Defense Policy Bill Advances AUKUS, Taiwan Training,” DefenseNews, 12/07/2023)

“As with AUKUS, the bill looks to counter China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific with a provision that would require the Defense Department to ‘establish a comprehensive training, advising and institutional capacity building program for the military forces of Taiwan.’ Taiwanese officials have said they plan to send up to two battalions of troops to the U.S. to train on new weapons systems and military operations. Another provision in the bill requires the Defense Department to help Taiwan enhance its cybersecurity.” (“Final Defense Policy Bill Advances AUKUS, Taiwan Training,” DefenseNews, 12/07/2023)

SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE RANKING MEMBER JIM RISCH (R-ID): “I welcome the inclusion of AUKUS legislation in the NDAA, including the authorization to transfer submarines to Australia and the creation of a fund that allows for investment in the U.S. submarine industrial base. Accelerating trilateral cooperation on advanced defense technology can deliver advanced capabilities in the near-term and is a necessary first step in preventing China from dominating the Indo-Pacific. I encourage the Biden Administration to move with haste in certifying that both the United Kingdom and Australia have legal and regulatory frameworks comparable to ours so that we can rapidly implement AUKUS.” (U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member, Press Release, 12/07/2023)

The Conference Report Would Authorize More Security Assistance For Ukraine And Creates A Special Inspector General To Track And Oversee American Aid For Kyiv

“The proposal would send $300 million for security assistance to help fortify Ukraine’s military after nearly two years of fighting against the Russian invasion. That is separate from the tens of billions of dollars in aid requested by Biden …” (“Congress Moves Forward on Roughly $900 Billion Defense Bill,” The Wall Street Journal, 12/07/2023)

“Additionally, the bill authorizes $8 million to establish the lead inspector general for Operation Atlantic Resolve — the Pentagon’s mission established in 2014 after Russia’s first invasion of Ukraine — as a special inspector general overseeing aid to Kyiv.” (“Final Defense Policy Bill Advances AUKUS, Taiwan Training,” DefenseNews, 12/07/2023)

SEN. RISCH: “As part of our effort to support Ukraine, we must enhance the oversight of our assistance to ensure it gets to where it needs to go and no taxpayer dollars are wasted. I am glad the Senate came together to include my provision with Senator Wicker in this year’s NDAA that will build on the current oversight structure, establish a special inspector general for Ukraine oversight, and provide that office with a clear mandate and enhanced hiring authorities and resources.” (U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member, Press Release, 12/07/2023)

Thanks To The Efforts Of Republicans In Congress, The FY 2024 NDAA Begins To Rein In Wasteful Political DEI Initiatives At The Pentagon

“The bill also curbs diversity initiatives in several ways…. it would freeze any new DEI jobs until the Government Accountability Office delivers a report on the DEI workforce. The bill would also cap pay for civilian DEI employees. The bill would also ban teaching ‘critical race theory’ at military academies and during military training.” (Military.com, 12/07/2023)

SEN. ERIC SCHMITT (R-MO), Senate Armed Services Committee Member: “Driving wedges between soldiers with DEI initiatives undermines the military’s main purpose: ensuring the United States remain ready to confront adversaries with overwhelming force wherever they may arise… I will continue to fight against the politicization of traditionally non-partisan American institutions like the military and am encouraged my two amendments aimed to halt Joe Biden’s DEI agenda have made it into the National Defense Authorization Act…” (Washington Examiner, 12/07/2023)


Related Issues: NATO, Russia, National Security, Cybersecurity, Ukraine, China, NDAA, America's Military