To Support Our Troops, Counter China And Russia, And Strengthen Cybersecurity, The Senate Must Approve The NDAA

SEN. INHOFE: ‘The NDAA Has Become Law Every Year For 59 Years Straight Because It’s Absolutely Vital To Our National Security And Our Troops. This Year Must Not Be An Exception’

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Congress has returned to work this week to enact the 60th annual National Defense Authorization Act into law. Yesterday, a bipartisan supermajority in the House voted to reapprove the conference report of this must-pass legislation. Today, the Senate will set up a final vote … for this chamber to follow suit. Soon this important legislation will be passed into law…. [F]or 59 consecutive years and counting, Washington has put our differences aside, found common ground, and passed the annual defense bill. Not once in six decades has a Congress let its differences prevent it from completing this work for our national security and our men and women who wear the uniform…. [F]or the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces, failure is not an option. So when it is our turn in Congress to have their backs, failure is not an option here either.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 12/29/2020)

  • LEADER McCONNELL: “This year’s NDAA will continue our momentum in rebuilding and modernizing our armed forces. It will authorize the personnel, equipment, tools, and training we need to reinforce the National Defense Strategy and deter great-power rivals like China and Russia. It will cement our advantage on the seas, on land, in the air, in cyberspace, and in space. And the bill will help us continue to recruit, retain, and support the men and women who keep us safe. It provides a pay raise for the troops, improvements for military housing, childcare, and more…. I urge my colleagues to support this legislation one more time when we vote tomorrow.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 12/29/2020)

SEN. JIM INHOFE (R-OK), Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman: “The NDAA has become law every year for 59 years straight because it’s absolutely vital to our national security and our troops. This year must not be an exception. Our men and women who volunteer to wear the uniform shouldn’t be denied what they need— ever.  This NDAA cements all the remarkable gains our military has made thanks to President Trump’s leadership and sends a strong message of support to our service members and their families. I hope all of my colleagues in Congress will join me in making sure our troops have the resources and equipment they need to defend this nation.” (Sen. Inhofe, Press Release, 12/23/2020)


Senate Armed Services Committee Members: ‘This Year’s NDAA Is A Huge Win For Our Nation And For The Security Of Americans And Our Allies,’ ‘It Tells Our Service Members That Congress Continues To Have Their Back,’ ‘The Annual Defense Bill … Is Vitally Important To Our Warfighters Around The Globe Who Are Sacrificing For Our Freedoms And Defending Our Nation’

SEN. DEB FISCHER (R-NE), Senate Armed Services Committee Member: “Congress has united in a bipartisan manner to provide for our national security and give our service members a well-deserved pay raise. This bill will continue rebuilding and modernizing our military through strategic investments while also supporting both service members and their families.” (Sen. Fischer, Press Release, 12/11/2020)

SEN. ROGER WICKER (R-MS), Senate Armed Services Committee Member: “Passage of the National Defense Authorization Act for the 60th year in a row is a huge win for America’s military men and women… This legislation guarantees a well-deserved pay raise for our troops, while also making the investments in military manufacturing and research that will be critical to defending America’s interests and ensuring our military might remains unrivaled. This proposal will also support the livelihoods of thousands of Mississippi residents who build and support the ships, aircraft, vehicles, munitions, and other equipment our troops use every day.” (Sen. Wicker, Press Release, 12/11/2020)

SEN. JONI ERNST (R-IA), Senate Armed Services Committee Member: “As a former battalion commander and company commander, I understand just how critical it is for our military men and women to be equipped for the battlefield of today and well into the future… With my efforts, this bipartisan package helps protect our troops, promote emerging technologies, preserve tax dollars, and prolong Iowa’s role in helping maintain our national defense. We’re also taking the much-needed step to better secure America’s national security supply chain from adversaries like Communist China, and provide military families with additional well-deserved resources. The annual defense bill – one Congress has passed on a bipartisan basis for more than 60 years—is vitally important to our warfighters around the globe who are sacrificing for our freedoms and defending our nation.” (Sen. Ernst, Press Release, 12/11/2020)

SEN. THOM TILLIS (R-NC), Senate Armed Services Committee Member: “I am proud to have worked hard on behalf of every North Carolina servicemember to secure provisions that will greatly improve the quality of life for the brave men and women in uniform, including securing the second consecutive pay raise of over 3 percent, continuing improvements to military housing, and providing resources to support DoD research into a COVID-19 vaccine… North Carolina continues to play an important role in defending our nation against foreign threats, and as long as I’m a U.S. Senator, I will always prioritize supporting servicemembers and veterans to ensure they have the resources they need.” (Sen. Tillis, Press Release, 12/11/2020)

SEN. DAN SULLIVAN (R-AK), Senate Armed Services Committee Member: “This year’s NDAA marks the sixtieth year in a row that Congress has passed this vital defense authorization bill… This amazing achievement clearly demonstrates to the American people that bipartisanship does, in fact, exist in the halls of the U.S. Capitol and it tells our service members that Congress continues to have their back. … As our country recovers from the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, we must continue to provide our men and women in uniform with the resources they need to defend America. This strong, bipartisan legislation builds on the robust military investments we’ve made over the last four years with meaningful investments in the health and well-being of our service members—including another pay raise—as well as investments in advanced weapons systems, missile defense, domestic supply chains, and much-needed development of the Arctic.” (Sen. Sullivan, Press Release, 12/11/2020)

SEN. KEVIN CRAMER (R-ND), Senate Armed Services Committee Member: “As it has every year for the last 60 years, Congress passed legislation today to fulfill our most foundational obligation of providing for the defense of our nation. This year’s National Defense Authorization Act strengthens our military, supports our troops, enhances national security, and contains several North Dakota priorities. I am honored to have helped write this legislation and grateful we were able to pass it with overwhelming support. President Trump should expand his incredible success in rebuilding our military and sign it without reservation.” (Sen. Cramer, Press Release, 12/11/2020)

SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL), Senate Armed Services Committee Member: “This year’s NDAA is a huge win for our nation and for the security of Americans and our allies. It strengthens President Trump’s efforts to rebuild our military after Obama decimated it with budget cuts and cements his legacy as a leader and defender of the American military. President Trump’s efforts to bring American troops home from endless wars, while building the most lethal military in the world helps ensure the overwhelming military might that America expects and deserves. The provisions in the NDAA to combat the threat of Communist China are more important than ever as General Secretary Xi continues his quest for world domination. I will never forget my most important job as U.S. Senator is to protect and serve the families of our nation, and we must continue to invest in America’s greatest asset — the men and women of our armed forces.” (Sen. Rick Scott, Press Release, 12/11/2020)

SEN. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R-TN), Senate Armed Services Committee Member: “We must ensure that our troops have what they need to defend our nation and prepare for the future of warfare… Thousands of servicemen and women call Tennessee home and I have the special responsibility to look after each and every one of them.” (Sen. Blackburn, Press Release, 12/11/2020)


House Armed Services Committee Members: ‘This Year’s National Defense Bill Contains Over Two Dozen Provisions That Would Make Critical Progress In Cybersecurity’

HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE RANKING MEMBER REP. MAC THORNBERRY (R-TX) AND COMMITTEE MEMBERS REPS. MIKE ROGERS (R-AL), LIZ CHENEY (R-WY), MIKE TURNER (R-OH), ELISE STEFANIK (R-NY), AND MIKE GALLAGHER (R-WI): “Our nation must respond to the reported cyber espionage operation targeting America’s nuclear infrastructure and federal government and hold the perpetrator accountable. This attack serves as a stark warning that our nation must bolster its cybersecurity posture and capabilities, and it must do so without delay. This year’s national defense bill contains over two dozen provisions that would make critical progress in cybersecurity, including provisions that would help ensure the resiliency of our nation’s nuclear command and control systems. The NDAA also fully funds long overdue modernization of our nuclear infrastructure, including $375 million to bolster cyber security of our nuclear weapons production facilities. There is no doubt that our adversaries will take advantage of any opportunity to attack vulnerabilities in our cyber infrastructure. The measures in this year’s bill will provide critical safeguards to protect the information and capabilities most foundational to our nation’s security.” (U.S House of Representatives Armed Services Committee Republicans, Press Release, 12/28/2020)


The FY2021 NDAA Contains Multiple Provisions ‘To Deter China’s Malign Behavior’ And ‘To Strengthen The United States’ Posture And Alliances In The Indo-Pacific Region’

“The annual defense bill, which lawmakers are expected to vote on starting Tuesday, establishes a program to strengthen the United States’ posture and alliances in the Indo-Pacific region and funding for additional attack submarines that senior Pentagon officials have said are vital for countering China’s powerful maritime forces. The legislation also creates a new director of cybersecurity position to coordinate such activities government-wide, and establishes a plan to make the Defense Department less dependent on Chinese manufacturing, from microelectronics to face masks.” (The Washington Post, 12/06/2020)

‘The Flagship China-Focused Program In The Defense Bill Is The New Pacific Deterrence Initiative, Which Aims To Establish A Regionwide Approach To Countering China In Its Immediate Area Of Influence’

“The flagship China-focused program in the defense bill is the new Pacific Deterrence Initiative, which aims to establish a regionwide approach to countering China in its immediate area of influence. The program’s inspiration comes from the European Deterrence Initiative, launched in 2014 to bolster the presence of U.S. forces to help defend NATO allies against Russian aggression. The new initiative is funded at $2.2 billion for the first… and charged, generally, with enhancing the United States’ defensive posture, capabilities and alliances in the region. (The Washington Post, 12/06/2020)

  • “For Congress, however, the new initiatives are driven not only by the pressure to bolster the country’s posture against China, but also the desire to give lawmakers more control over how the coordinated competition with Beijing is staged. The bill orders the defense secretary to tell Congress by February exactly what resources the Pentagon will need to achieve the goals of the deterrence initiative, and to follow up with periodic status reports. The bill also orders the Pentagon to give Congress at least 90 days’ notice before attempting to reduce U.S. troop levels in South Korea below 28,500. Compliance with the reporting requirements is expected to influence not only the debate on Capitol Hill, where there is proven bipartisan interest in measures to constrain China’s influence, but also the way that defense funds to address the region are apportioned in the future.” (The Washington Post, 12/06/2020)

“[T]he FY21 NDAA Conference Report establishes the Pacific Deterrence Initiative (PDI). The PDI will send a strong signal to China and any potential adversaries, as well as to our allies and partners, that America is deeply committed to defending our interests in the region. The PDI will focus on the following activities: 1. Enhancing the United States’ deterrence and defense posture; 2. Increasing readiness and capability in the Indo-Pacific region; and 3. Deepening cooperation with allies and partners. In total, the provision authorizes $2.2 billion to be invested for these purposes, the bulk of which was identified through budget reviews of existing programs and captured in a new budget display created by the Armed Services Committees.” (“William M. ‘Mac’ Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021,” U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, 12/03/2020)

‘In Addition To Establishing The PDI, The Conference Report Also Includes Numerous Provisions To Deter China’s Malign Behavior, Position The United States For Strategic Competition, And Protect Our Assets From Infiltration’

“In addition to establishing the PDI, the Conference Report also includes numerous provisions to deter China’s malign behavior, position the United States for strategic competition, and protect our assets from infiltration, including: Protecting federal investments in defense-sensitive intellectual property, technology, and data from acquisition by China, including by: [c]reating mechanisms to restrict employees or former employees of the defense industrial base from working directly for companies wholly owned by, or under the direction of, the Government of the People's Republic of China (PRC), [r]equiring universities to share information on defense-funded research, [l]imiting funding for universities with Confucius Institutes, and [r]equiring the disclosure of external funding for federal grant recipients; [d]irecting the President to create a whole-of-government strategy to impose costs on the PRC to deter industrial espionage and the large-scale theft of personal information by the PRC; [e]stablishing a continuous assessment activity for industrial bases of foreign adversaries, beginning with China; [r]equiring the public reporting in the Federal Register of Chinese military companies operating in the United States; [p]rohibiting the commercial exports of covered defense articles and services and covered munitions items to the Hong Kong Police…”  (“William M. ‘Mac’ Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021,” U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, 12/03/2020)

The FY 2021 Defense authorization bill also reaffirms U.S. commitments to and support for Indo-Pacific region allies and partners including India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam. (“William M. ‘Mac’ Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021,” U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, 12/03/2020)


This Year’s Defense Authorization Bill Also Has A Number Of Key Provisions To Counter Aggression And Malign Influence From Russia

This year’s defense authorization bill reaffirms U.S. commitments to and support for various Eastern European allies and partners including Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania and others. (“William M. ‘Mac’ Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021,” U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, 12/03/2020)

The FY 2021 NDAA Conference Report also “[e]xtends restrictions on funds for military-to-military cooperation with Russia and any activities that would recognize Russian sovereignty over Crimea, [a]uthorizes $250 million for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, including $75 million for lethal assistance, and extends the authority to support Ukraine in deterring Russia … [e]xtends the authority for training of Eastern European national security forces in multilateral exercises … [a]uthorizes full funding for the European Deterrence Initiative, [e]xpands sanctions related to the construction of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline projects … [r]equires the establishment of a coordinated and integrated program to train DOD personnel regarding the threat of foreign malign influence campaigns targeting them on social media; and [a]uthorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to take special measures to combat Russian money laundering.” (“William M. ‘Mac’ Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021,” U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, 12/03/2020)

In addition, the NDAA “[e]xpresses support for the continued presence of U.S. forces in Germany and limits DOD’s ability to reduce the number active-duty service members in Germany below 34,500 until an assessment on its impact has been completed … Provides new authorities for training and assistance to foreign partners to build capabilities for cyberspace security, defensive cyberspace operations, and air domain awareness operations, and expands eligibility for training at the Inter-European Air Forces Academy …” (“William M. ‘Mac’ Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021,” U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, 12/03/2020)


This Year’s NDAA Strengthens American Cybersecurity And Enhances Cyber Warfare Capabilities

“The FY21 NDAA Conference Report ensures that the United States protects its dominance in cyber space. To this end, the Report adopts 23 recommendations from the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, which was established in the FY19 NDAA. These include provisions to: [e]stablish the National Cyber Director position within the Executive Office of the President; [s]trengthen the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) at the Department of Homeland Security; [c]odify the importance of critical infrastructure to domestic cybersecurity; [e]mpower the government to better protect against cyber attacks; [a]ssess the establishment of a defense industrial base threat information sharing program and defense industrial base threat hunting program; [a]dd a force structure assessment in the quadrennial cyber position review; and [c]onduct a review of existing statutes, rules, and regulations that govern the use of the National Guard in response to significant cyber incidents.” (“William M. ‘Mac’ Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021,” U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, 12/03/2020)

  • “Other provisions related to enhancing our nation’s cybersecurity strategy and cyber warfare capabilities include: [u]pdating the responsibilities of the Principal Cyber Advisor to lead coordination of all policies and programs related to defense industrial base cybersecurity; [e]valuating options for establishing a cyber reserve force; [r]equiring the Secretary of Defense to develop a framework for cyber hunt forward operations that will improve effectiveness and consistency in efforts coordinated with foreign partners; and [s]etting up a pilot program on the use of speed-based metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of cybersecurity providers, products and technologies.” (“William M. ‘Mac’ Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021,” U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, 12/03/2020)


The FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act Puts American Servicemembers First, Authorizing A Pay Raise, Increasing Support For Their Families, And Assistance For COVID Challenges 

The Bill Features A 3% Pay Raise For Servicemembers And A 10% Increase In Hazardous Duty Pay

“The FY21 NDAA Conference Report prioritizes the nation’s 2.15 million uniformed service members who, along with their families and the civilian workforce, serve as the backbone of America’s national security. It supports the requested 3 percent pay raise for the military, increases hazardous duty pay by 10 percent, and reauthorizes more than 30 other types of bonuses and special pay. The Conference Report also adds pay incentives to recruit and retain critically needed military personnel, including pilots, submariners, health care professionals, and those with other critical skills.” (“William M. ‘Mac’ Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021,” U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, 12/03/2020)

It Also Provides Critical Support To Military Families With Measures To Help Spouses Find Good Jobs, Provide Affordable Childcare, And Oversee And Improve The Military Housing System

“The FY21 NDAA continues efforts to help military spouses find and keep good jobs, including expanding the My Career Advancement Account Program, improving the Military Spouse Employment Partnership Program, and allowing for the reimbursement of costs incurred to maintain professional licenses and credentials when permanently changing station, including an additional $2.5 million for re-licensing.” (“William M. ‘Mac’ Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021,” U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, 12/03/2020)

“The FY21 NDAA continues efforts to provide military families with flexible, affordable child care and access to quality education. The agreement authorizes a family discount for families with two or more children attending a Child Development Center and improves the availability of child care on military installations. In addition, the Conference Report authorizes additional funding to maintain the student-teacher ratios at DOD schools and increases funding for Impact Aid by a total of $70 million to support school districts educating military children, which includes $20 million for Impact Aid for children with severe disabilities. The Conference Agreement includes numerous other reforms to support military families with children with special needs, including standardizing and improving the Exceptional Family Member Program and establishing requirements for the Office of Special Needs to develop and update individualized service plans.” (“William M. ‘Mac’ Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021,” U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, 12/03/2020)

“The FY 2020 NDAA initiated the most comprehensive overhaul of the privatized military housing system since its creation over two decades ago. To follow up on its implementation and ensure our service members and their families are living in high-quality, healthy, and safe housing during their service, the FY21 NDAA Conference Report contains numerous oversight and assessment measures, including: [s]triking section 2830 of title 10, United States Code, which allows the Secretaries of the military departments to maintain substandard military family housing; [r]equiring DOD to implement the recommendations of the DOD Inspector General Report ‘Evaluation of the DOD's Management of Health and Safety Hazards in Government-Owned and Government-Controlled Military Family Housing’ within 90 days of enactment; [r]equiring the DOD Inspector General to audit the medical conditions of service members and their families who have resided in unsafe or unhealthy military housing; [i]mproving the identification and remediation of severe environmental hazards; [p]roviding support for families who have been displaced from their privatized military housing and establishing best practices for mold mitigation in emergency situations; [h]olding housing companies accountable, including by requiring the inclusion of assessment of performance metrics in the annual publication on use of incentive fees for privatized military housing projects; [a]pplying the uniform code of basic housing standards for safety, comfort, and habitability for privatized military housing to all government-owned and government-controlled military family housing; and [p]roviding authorities to ensure timely hiring of military housing office officials responsible for supervising privatized military housing projects.” (“William M. ‘Mac’ Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021,” U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, 12/03/2020)

Further, This Year’s NDAA Provides Crucial Resources For Military And National Guard Personnel To Address Coronavirus Challenges

“This year’s NDAA has been crafted in the midst of an unprecedented national pandemic. Over the past nine months, the U.S. military has assisted in numerous ways to support communities across the nation, while at the same time facing the dual challenges of protecting the health of service members and maintaining military preparedness. The Conference Report responds to these challenges by ensuring service members have adequate diagnostic equipment, testing capabilities, and personal protective equipment, along with resources and authorities to support overall readiness.” (“William M. ‘Mac’ Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021,” U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, 12/03/2020)



Related Issues: NDAA, Veterans, China, Russia, Cybersecurity, National Security, America's Military, War on Terror