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Inhofe, Reed Praise Senate Passage of National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021

The United States Senate today passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, 86-14.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) released the following statements praising Senate passage of the legislation:

“For 60 years, Congress has fulfilled a sacred responsibility to all Americans – especially to our troops and their families – through the National Defense Authorization Act,” Senator Inhofe said. “Right now, the main challenge to our security comes from authoritarian regimes that stand against our values — namely, China and Russia — and this bill stands up for our people and our democratic values.

“The NDAA gives our military the personnel, equipment, training and organization needed to implement the National Defense Strategy and thwart any adversary who would try to do us harm. By fully investing in our military growth and modernization, we're restoring deterrence so no country wants to challenge us.  I don't want a fair fight out there, I want to be superior — and this bill does that. 

“Furthermore, it sends a message of support to our troops by providing them with a pay raise, giving them the necessary equipment and resources, and caring for their families. I’m pleased the vast majority of my colleagues joined Senator Reed and me in voting for this bill, and now, I look forward to working with the House to get an NDAA enacted for the 60th straight year in a row.”   

Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-R.I.) also commented on the bill:

“I salute Chairman Inhofe for his bipartisan leadership. The FY 2021 NDAA strengthens our military and bolsters our capacity to effectively defend America from evolving security challenges. Notably, this bipartisan bill will improve our strategic advantages by investing in integrated technologies and platforms that improve deterrence,” said Senator Reed. “Mindful of new risks, as well as unfolding and unprecedented unemployment and budget challenges, Congress must wisely invest every defense dollar in a cost-effective and forward-looking manner. This bipartisan NDAA is an important step toward that goal. Now we must meet in conference with the House to iron out some differences and develop a unified defense bill that enhances national security and provides our troops with decisive, lasting advantages and powerful, force-multiplying assets.”

The Senate-passed National Defense Authorization Act for  Fiscal Year 2021 provides for a total of $740.5 billion for national defense programs, including $636.4 billion for the Department of Defense, $25.9 billion for national security programs within the Department of Energy, and $69 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations. Highlights include:

  • Providing for a 3 percent pay raise for our 2.15 million uniformed service members;
  • Authorizing critical investments in submarines and battle force ships, aircraft, and other equipment to maintain our combat advantage;
  • Establishing the Pacific Deterrence Initiative to focus resources on credibility gaps, support our allies and partners, and enhance transparency and oversight in the region;
  • Supporting our allies and partners to counter strategic competition;
  • Strengthening and securing the supply chain and supporting the defense industrial base;
  • Modernizing our military technology and capabilities, including hypersonic weapons, next-generation equipment, and biotechnologies;
  • Maintaining a secure, credible nuclear deterrent; and
  • Advancing the Department of Defense’s cybersecurity strategy, including implementing recommendations from the Cyberspace Solarium Commission.

Through various actions on the Senate floor, a total of 145 amendments were adopted, including:

  • Improving the 1033 Law Enforcement Support program, which transfers excess military property to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, by ensuring that law enforcement have the right equipment and training;
  • The Intelligence Authorization Act;
  • Providing for $2 million for the Department of Defense to implement Sec. 903 of the Senate Armed Services Committee-passed bill, which requires the Department to work with Congress to modernize the process used for managing congressionally required reports;
  • Setting up an annual process to provide suggestions on potential changes to the budget justification to all four congressional defense committees;
  • Requiring the Department of Defense to conduct a study and also to contract with a federally funded research and development center for another study to establish baselines and increase transparency on the Chinese and Russian defense budgets to better understand the defense spending of our adversaries;
  • Increasing federal incentives for semiconductor manufacturing to enable advanced research and development, secure the supply chain, and ensure long-term national security and economic competitiveness;
  • Improving small business programs, mitigating risks of foreign ownership of defense contractors, and strengthening manufacturing capabilities, to support increasing domestic innovation and industrial production in areas that contribute to national security and economic growth;
  • Establishing conditions for permanently basing U.S. equipment in host countries with at-risk 5G and 6G vendors;
  • Improving the availability of legal assistance for veterans and surviving spouses and dependents;
  • Expanding sanctions related to the Nord Stream 2 and Turkstream pipeline projects;
  • Enhancing congressional oversight and increasing transparency on Taliban compliance with the security commitments made in the February 29, 2020, agreement with the United States;
  • Adding $5 million for a Centers for Disease Control study on PFAS; and
  • Expanding the list of diseases associated with the use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.

The text of the bill as introduced can be viewed here.

The bill report can be viewed here.

An executive summary of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 can be found here.