SASC Completes Markup of National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020

U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today announced details of the committee’s markup of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020. During the subcommittee and full committee markups of the legislation, the Committee considered 433 amendments and adopted 298 amendments. The Senate Armed Services Committee voted overwhelmingly, 25-2, to advance this important legislation to the Senate floor.

“In an increasingly dangerous world, Congress must show strong, decisive leadership to preserve peace through strength and protect freedom-loving Americans. This year’s National Defense Authorization Act keeps us on the course started last year—continuing implementation of the National Defense Strategy, restoring our combat advantage and supporting our warfighters,” Sen. Inhofe said. “Our NDAA provides for $750 billion for national security, providing the resources our military needs to maintain our superiority. It ensures our service members—all volunteers—and their families have the training, resources and equipment they need to complete the mission. Each and every provision addresses some of the most pressing challenges facing our military: curtailing threats from great power competitors and rogue regimes, securing new warfighting frontiers of space and cyberspace and addressing management issues within the Department of Defense, in particular, privatized housing. I thank the Committee for their hard work, and I look forward to strong support of this bill on the Senate floor.”

“This agreement bolsters national defense, invests in advanced technologies and cutting-edge capabilities, and includes needed reforms to support our forces in a dynamic and changing environment. I commend Chairman Inhofe for his leadership and bipartisanship throughout this process and for his commitment to supporting the men and women of the United States Armed Forces and their families,” said Sen. Reed. “The Committee’s bill enhances America’s security and advances our national interests. It will help provide our troops with the tools and training they need today, while also looking forward and addressing the challenges of tomorrow. Congress must work together to keep our military strong, efficient, innovative, and capable of safeguarding our nation and deterring conflict. This bill is a positive step forward.”

Highlights:

Authorized Funding

The NDAA supports a total of $750 billion in fiscal year 2020 funding for national defense, in line with the budget request and the NDS Commission report. Within this total, the legislation authorizes a base defense budget of $642.5 for the Department of Defense and $23.2 billion for national security programs within the Department of Energy. The NDAA also authorizes $75.9 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations. These totals reflect a transfer of $97.9 billion from the administration’s budget proposal for Overseas Contingency Operations “base” funding back to the base discretionary account.

Supporting our All-Volunteer Force

The committee takes seriously its obligation to our men and women in uniform and their families. The NDAA authorizes funding and includes provisions that will improve quality of life for our troops and military families, and thereby build a stronger, more capable force.

The legislation includes numerous provisions that improve the quality of life for our military families—including extensive reforms to the Military Housing Privatization Initiative to address recent, egregious problems with the health and safety of private, on-base housing across the country. These policies and programs will reengage the chain of command, increase oversight on military installations, and hold housing companies accountable to military families. The NDAA also includes provisions to correct the serious problem of sexual misconduct, and retaliation against those who report it, in our military.

The legislation provides for a 3.1 percent pay raise for our troops—the largest in a decade—and authorizes Active-Duty end strength at the administration-requested level. For military construction, the legislation authorizes $18.07 billion in base and OCO funding, including $3.6 billion to replenish funds for military construction projects repurposed for the national emergency declared on the southern border, and $2.63 billion for disaster recovery on military installations.

Advancing an International Order that Supports U.S. Security and Prosperity

The National Defense Strategy asserts that the reemergence of great power competitors—namely China and Russia—is the central challenge to our long-term prosperity and security. As China becomes increasingly aggressive in the region and Russia continues to extend its destabilizing reach around the world, the NDAA includes key provisions that will strengthen our democratic institutions against foreign interference, reinforce our alliances and partnerships around the world, and address critical capabilities in our arsenal, including investing in 5G networks, maximizing munition production lines, and maintaining our nuclear deterrent. Specifically, the NDAA protects against Russian attempts to compromise the capabilities of the F-35 by prohibiting the F-35 or related equipment from going to Turkey unless it is certified that Turkey has not accepted delivery of Russia’s S-400 system.

The NDAA addresses the whole of our national defense strategy, including provisions that will address more immediate rogue actors that threaten our safety, including Iran, North Korea, and terrorist organizations. This includes authorizing robust investments in missile defense, reinforcing our alliances, including NATO, Israel and South Korea, and continuing efforts to assist our partners in Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq in countering terrorist and promoting stability.

Restoring our Combat Advantage

The NDAA includes numerous provisions and investments to rebuild readiness, modernize our force, and preserve our status as the world’s preeminent military power. The bill authorizes funding for new battle-force ships, aircraft, combat vehicles and weapons, as well as for investments in our future fighting force. This funding will ensure we are not fighting the wars of tomorrow with the equipment and platforms of wars past.

The legislation further regains our technological advantage by investing in critical research, development, test and evaluation programs, including hypersonic weapons and missile defense, and prioritizes our cybersecurity strategy and capabilities.

Importantly, the NDAA recognizes that space is a warfighting domain where our nation lacks a cohesive strategy, and so establishes a United States Space Force under the Air Force. The Space Force addresses space acquisition needs and space warfighting ethos, while minimizing bureaucracy and costs.

Building a More Efficient, Effective Pentagon

The NDAA continues to reform the Pentagon’s business operations, ensuring leaner, more effective administration that provides strong support to our Armed Forces. Building on reforms enacted in years past, the legislation improves contracting processes, expands the capacity and integrity of the defense industrial base, and adopts modern software development and information technology acquisition practices. In addition, the NDAA makes reforms to increase oversight and improve procurement processes, which will ensure our military gets the equipment it needs faster and at a lower cost to the American taxpayer. 

Click here to read the text of the bill.

Click here to read the report.

Click here for an executive summary of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020.