This Year’s NDAA Includes Essential Boosts To Munitions, Modernization, And Deterrence Against Hostile Powers

The Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act ‘Tees Up A Significant And Badly-Needed Increase In Defense Funding’ While Working ‘To Protect Our Country From Threats Like China And Russia And Give Our Troops What They Need To Complete Their Mission’


SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “[T]he Senate and House Armed Services Committees released a strong, bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act. ... We have got to take our national defense, military modernization, and defense-industrial base as seriously as our rivals take theirs. Fortunately, this strong, bipartisan NDAA is a huge step in that direction. The bill tees up a significant and badly-needed increase in defense funding — $45 billion above President Biden’s insufficient request and roughly $75 billion over last year’s level. … This NDAA authorizes crucial projects like nuclear modernization. It directs critical investments in our defense industrial base so America can both defend ourselves and remain the arsenal of democracy for the world. It delivers for our servicemembers, their families, and our military installations and communities around the country. … And just as Republicans insisted, just as our servicemembers deserve, this NDAA is not getting dragged down by unrelated liberal nonsense. Good, smart policies were kept in, and unrelated nonsense like easier financing for illegal drugs were kept out.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 12/07/2022)

SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE RANKING MEMBER JIM INHOFE (R-OK): “Anyone who knows me knows how important it is to me that we work together to produce a bipartisan agreement that provides for America’s troops. As I near the close of my time here in Congress, ensuring our troops have what they need is my number one priority and I am glad we are one step closer to final passage of the FY23 National Defense Authorization Act. I’m proud to have worked with my colleagues to produce a bipartisan, bicameral defense bill for the 62nd year … One thing remains clear: we are in the most threatened position of my lifetime. Conservatives in Oklahoma and across the United States can be proud of what we secured in this year’s bill to protect our country from threats like China and Russia and give our troops what they need to complete their mission.” (Sen. Inhofe, Press Release, 12/06/2022)


Republicans Kept Unrelated Partisan Democrat Policies Out Of This Year’s NDAA

“Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) on Tuesday poured cold water on Democratic efforts to add language allowing banks to do business with state-approved marijuana businesses and permitting reform, a priority of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), to the annual defense authorization bill. McConnell called on Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to strip the pot-related language and Manchin’s permitting reform proposal, which he dismissed as reform ‘in name only,’ from the defense bill.” (“McConnell Pans Proposals To Add Marijuana, Permitting Provisions To Defense Bill,” The Hill, 12/06/2022)

“The fiscal 2023 defense reauthorization bill text released Tuesday excluded cannabis banking provisions after lawmakers were unable to reach a compromise that would satisfy progressive Democrats or overcome objections from prominent Republicans…. ‘I think McConnell’s been pretty much an obstacle on getting it in,’ Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., said in an interview, referring to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky…. Senate Armed Services ranking member James M. Inhofe, R-Okla., sponsor of the Senate version of the defense reauthorization, said he would do everything he could to block cannabis banking from ending up in the bill. ’If that's in there, I am going to vote against my own bill,’ he said in an interview.” (“Lawmakers Exclude Cannabis Language From Defense Authorization Text,” Roll Call, 12/06/2022)

“The text of the annual defense policy bill … dropped energy project permitting reform backed by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), according to a draft of the legislation released by the House Rules Committee on Tuesday…. In a blow to Manchin, his push for policies intended to speed up the construction of energy infrastructure was not included in the text that was released. Manchin had been pushing for the inclusion of his permitting reforms, which Democratic leadership had agreed to pass in exchange for his vote on their major climate, tax and health care bill…. He has been working in recent weeks to get Republicans on board but still faced some resistance, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday calling the effort reform ‘in name only.’” (“Defense Bill Text Includes Vaccine Mandate Repeal, Nixes Permitting Reform,” The Hill, 12/06/2022)


Critically, The Legislation Authorizes Defense Funding Beyond The Biden Administration’s Inadequate Request

“Congress on Tuesday night unveiled plans for a compromise defense authorization bill that would boost the military budget by 8% over fiscal 2022 levels … The $858 billion plan — which includes roughly $817 billion in Defense Department spending — also includes billions of dollars in additional funding to help the Pentagon cope with inflation and continue certain programs that the Biden administration had sought to cancel…. The bill comes in about $45 billion above what the White House requested in its proposal last spring.” (“Congress Reveals Plan To Increase Defense Budget By 8%,” DefenseNews, 11/07/2022)


It Also Authorizes Additional Funding For Programs Critical To Confronting And Deterring Russia And China

“The bill also authorizes $800 million in fiscal 2023 for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which procures armaments to help Kyiv withstand Russia’s invasion.” (“New NDAA Advocates Bulkier National Defense Budget,” Roll Call, 12/06/2022)

“The bill would extend through fiscal 2023 the Pacific Deterrence Initiative — a $6.1 billion fund to counter China, and the measure would authorize roughly $1 billion in additional funding to address unfunded requirements identified by the commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. It would also authorize the Taiwan Enhanced Resilience Act of 2022, which includes provisions that aim to increase U.S.-Taiwan security cooperation, including through Foreign Military Financing grants that would be made available to Taiwan to use to purchase American weapons systems.” (“New NDAA Advocates Bulkier National Defense Budget,” Roll Call, 12/06/2022)

“The US is set to pass legislation revamping US policy toward Taiwan and restricting government use of Chinese semiconductors … Language in the must-pass annual defense legislation reflects how lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have shown a growing willingness to confront China, despite White House concerns. The bill … authorizes up to $10 billion in weapons sales to Taiwan and would boost ties …” (“US Congress Pokes China With Taiwan Defense Support, Chips Ban,” Bloomberg News, 12/07/2022)


U.S. Weapons Stockpiles Are Running Low And The NDAA Authorizes Badly Needed Replenishment

The US Is Running Low On Some High-End Weapons Systems And Ammunition’

“As the first full winter of Russia’s war with Ukraine sets in, the US is running low on some high-end weapons systems and ammunition available to transfer to Kyiv, three US officials with direct knowledge tell CNN. The strain on weapons stockpiles – and the ability of the US industrial base to keep up with demand – is one of the key challenges facing the Biden administration as the US continues to send billions of dollars of weapons to Ukraine to support its fight against Russia. One of the officials said the stockpiles of certain systems are ‘dwindling’ after nearly nine months of sending supplies to Kyiv during the high-intensity war, as there’s ‘finite amount’ of excess stocks which the US has available to send. … The degree to which weapons stockpiles are running low varies system by system, as the US defense industrial base is better equipped to ramp up production of some weapons, while others are more difficult – or the production line has been shut down altogether and can’t be easily resumed.” (“US Is Running Low On Some Weapons And Ammunition To Transfer To Ukraine,” CNN, 11/17/2022)

“[T]he mighty United States has only limited stocks of the weapons the Ukrainians want and need, and Washington is unwilling to divert key weapons from delicate regions like Taiwan and Korea, where China and North Korea are constantly testing the limits. Now, nine months into the war, the West’s fundamental unpreparedness has set off a mad scramble to supply Ukraine with what it needs while also replenishing NATO stockpiles. As both sides burn through weaponry and ammunition at a pace not seen since World War II, the competition to keep arsenals flush has become a critical front that could prove decisive to Ukraine’s effort.” (“U.S. And NATO Scramble To Arm Ukraine And Refill Their Own Arsenals,” The New York Times, 11/26/2022)

MIKE McCORD, Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/Chief Financial Officer: “High-end conflict consumes a lot of munitions and a lot of weaponry.” (“‘We Haven’t Got This Figured Out Just Yet’: Pentagon, Industry Struggle To Arm Ukraine,” Politico, 12/04/2022)

The NDAA Begins To Address This Issue With $2.7 Billion For New Munitions

“It also allocates $2.7 billion to procure new munitions; this is in part to backfill equipment sent to Ukraine but also designed to generally expand production capacity.” (“Congress Reveals Plan To Increase Defense Budget By 8%,” DefenseNews, 11/07/2022)


This Year’s Defense Authorization Also Includes The Largest Pay Raise For Our Troops In 20 Years And Continues Essential Modernization Programs For American Forces

“The bill also contains a host of personnel and equipment priorities that lawmakers say are needed to ensure force readiness. It plans for a 4.6% pay raise for troops starting next month and nearly $19 billion in extra funding to deal with extra inflation costs on construction, fuel prices and other military purchases. The 4.6% pay raise included in the authorization bill will be the largest troops have received in 20 years.” (“Congress Reveals Plan To Increase Defense Budget By 8%,” DefenseNews, 11/07/2022)

“The bill also pushes back against the Biden administration’s efforts to cancel the sea-launched cruise missile nuclear development program, also known as SLCM-N, by authorizing $25 million for its continuation.” (“Congress Reveals Plan To Increase Defense Budget By 8%,” DefenseNews, 11/07/2022)

“For the Army, it authorizes funding increases for the CH-47 heavy-lift helicopter, the UH-60 Blackhawk medium-lift helicopter and the MQ-1 Gray Eagle drone.” (“Congress Reveals Plan To Increase Defense Budget By 8%,” DefenseNews, 11/07/2022)

“It would authorize increased funding for M-SHORAD and Patriot missile systems, and a number of tanks and combat vehicles, including Abrams tanks, infantry squad vehicles and tactical vehicles.” (“New NDAA Advocates Bulkier National Defense Budget,” Roll Call, 12/06/2022)

“[T]he bill would authorize funding for combat aircraft and munitions, including 55 F-35 fighter jets … It would prohibit the retirement of the F-22 Raptor fighter jet, and prevent or modify the retirement plans for various aircraft, including B-1, F-15, E-3 AWACS and C-40 aircraft.” (“New NDAA Advocates Bulkier National Defense Budget,” Roll Call, 12/06/2022)

“The measure would authorize $32.6 billion for Navy shipbuilding, including for the procurement of 11 battle force ships in fiscal 2023: three Arleigh Burke-class destroyers; two Virginia-class submarines; two expeditionary fast transports; one Constellation-class frigate; one San Antonio-class amphibious ship; one John Lewis-class oiler; and one Navajo-class towing, salvage and rescue ship.” (“New NDAA Advocates Bulkier National Defense Budget,” Roll Call, 12/06/2022)

“It authorizes increased funding for the development of the hypersonic glide-phase interceptor — technology designed to destroy incoming hypersonic missiles, and requires a strategy for the protection of DOD satellites.” (“New NDAA Advocates Bulkier National Defense Budget,” Roll Call, 12/06/2022)


Meanwhile, Hostile Countries Are Building Their Own Forces And Stepping Up Their Aggression

Iran And North Korea Are Supplying The Kremlin With Deadly Weapons To Use Against Ukraine

“Russia has deployed Shahed and Mohajer combat drones imported from Iran in greater numbers across Ukraine, with devastating results. Some hit combat positions, smashing tanks and armored vehicles, while others struck civilian infrastructure, including in the port city of Odesa.” (“‘Huge Problem’: Iranian Drones Pose New Threat To Ukraine,” Politico, 9/26/2022)

“North Korea is covertly supplying a ‘significant number’ of artillery shells to Russia for use in Ukraine, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Wednesday. Kirby said North Korea is trying to obscure the destination of the shipments by funneling them through countries in the Middle East and North Africa…. In September, North Korea denied U.S. intelligence reports that it supplied weapons to Russia and said it had no plans to do so. The New York Times reported at the time that Russia was buying millions of artillery shells and rockets from North Korea.” (“North Korea Is Secretly Supplying Weapons To Russia, White House Says,” NBC News, 11/02/2022)

Russian Military Leaders Have Discussed ‘When And How’ Russia Could Use A Nuclear Weapon In Ukraine

“Senior Russian military leaders recently had conversations to discuss when and how Moscow might use a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine, contributing to heightened concern in Washington and allied capitals, according to multiple senior American officials. President Vladimir V. Putin was not a part of the conversations, which were held against the backdrop of Russia’s intensifying nuclear rhetoric and battlefield setbacks. But the fact that senior Russian military leaders were even having the discussions alarmed the Biden administration because it showed how frustrated Russian generals were about their failures on the ground, and suggests that Mr. Putin’s veiled threats to use nuclear weapons might not just be words.” (“Russian Military Leaders Discussed Use of Nuclear Weapons, U.S. Officials Say,” The New York Times, 11/02/2022)

China Is On Pace To Triple Its Nuclear Arsenal By 2035

“China is continuing to steadily expand its nuclear arsenal and could have 1,500 warheads by 2035, according to a new Defense Department study released on Tuesday. Beijing’s current nuclear stockpile has surpassed 400 warheads, the Pentagon warned in its annual report to Congress on China’s military might. By 2035, officials expect the People’s Liberation Army to complete the modernization of its military forces.” (“Pentagon: China To More Than Triple Its Nuclear Arsenal By 2035,” Politico, 11/29/2022)

North Korea Has Fired At Least 88 Ballistic Missiles In 2022, More Than In Any Previous Year

“North Korea on Friday launched its second intercontinental ballistic missile this month and one of its most powerful yet, South Korean and Japanese officials said, pressing ahead with its recent barrage of weapons tests in defiance of admonitions from the United States and its allies. The missile landed in waters west of Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island. … The missile covered a distance of 620 miles and reached an altitude of more than 3,700 miles, according to South Korean and Japanese officials.  An ICBM that North Korea fired on March 24, apparently its most powerful to date, flew only slightly farther and higher before falling into waters west of Japan, according to the South Korean military’s analysis. The missile launched on Friday appeared to be a Hwasong-17, the North’s newest and most powerful ICBM, South Korean defense officials said. Although North Korea unveiled the Hwasong-17 in 2020, it has since had trouble launching it.” (“North Korea Launches Another ICBM, One of Its Most Powerful Yet,” The New York Times, 11/17/2022)

“North Korea has launched at least 88 ballistic and other missiles this year, more than in any previous year, flouting United Nations Security Council resolutions that forbid it from testing ballistic missiles as well as nuclear devices. In recent weeks, the tests have been increasingly provocative.” (“North Korea Launches Another ICBM, One of Its Most Powerful Yet,” The New York Times, 11/17/2022)

Iran Continues To Launch Reckless Attacks Throughout The Middle East To Distract From Domestic Protests Against Its Regime

“Iran attacked Kurdish groups in northern Iraq with drones and missiles on Monday after weeks of warnings from Tehran that it would target foreign actors it accuses of orchestrating a two-month-long antigovernment protest movement at home. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, targeted bases of Kurdish groups near the cities of Erbil and Sulaimaniyah, leaving at least two people dead and nine injured, according to Iraqi Kurdistan’s regional government. It was the second major attack in the region since the protests began, though the IRGC has fired artillery at less populated areas on multiple occasions.” (“Iran Attacks Northern Iraq, Targeting Kurdish Groups for Unrest at Home,” The Wall Street Journal, 11/14/2022)

“The U.S. military on [November 22nd] said debris analysis has concluded that the same type of Iranian drone that Tehran has supplied to Russia for its invasion of Ukraine was used to attack a commercial tanker off the coast of Oman a week [earlier]. The U.S. Navy's Bahrain-based 5th Fleet published photos and details of its investigation into the attack on the Liberian-flagged Pacific Zircon tanker, including debris from the Shahed-136 drone itself…. ‘The Iranian attack on a commercial tanker transiting international waters was deliberate, flagrant and dangerous, endangering the lives of the ship's crew and destabilizing maritime security in the Middle East,’ Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, the top U.S. Navy commander in the Middle East, said in a statement.” (“Debris Analysis Shows Iran-Made Drone Attacked Tanker -U.S. Navy,” Reuters, 11/22/2022)

“Saudi officials said Iran is poised to carry out attacks on both the kingdom and Erbil, Iraq, in an effort to distract attention from domestic protests that have roiled the country since September…. The U.S. and Saudi Arabia accused Iran of carrying out a drone and missile attack on the kingdom in 2019 that targeted the country’s oil industry.” (“Saudi Arabia, U.S. on High Alert After Warning of Imminent Iranian Attack,” The Wall Street Journal, 11/01/2022)



Related Issues: Iran, China, National Security, Russia, North Korea, America's Military, NDAA