Here’s what’s in the $858 billion National Defense Authorization Bill


Congress is poised to pass an $858 billion bipartisan defense bill that would give the military a big pay raise, bolster support for Ukraine and Taiwan and revoke the military’s mandate American regarding the Covid-19 vaccine.

The House last week approved the massive National Defense Authorization Act, known as the NDAA, by a vote of 350 to 80. The Senate is expected to take it up on Thursday and pass it with support from both parties. .

The Defense Bill outlines the political agenda of the Department of Defense and the U.S. military and authorizes spending in accordance with Pentagon priorities. But he does not appropriate the financing himself.

The must-have legislation, which would authorize $817 billion specifically for the Department of Defense, would provide $45 billion more than President Joe Biden’s budget request earlier this year.

The increase for fiscal year 2023 is intended to address the effects of inflation and accelerate the implementation of the national defense strategy, according to the Senate Armed Services Committee. It would allow $12.6 billion for the impact of inflation on purchases, $3.8 billion for the impact on military construction projects and $2.5 billion for the impact on purchases of fuel, according to a summary of the invoice. of the committee.

The legislation also shows Congress’ continued support for helping Ukraine repel the Russian invasion, though several Republican lawmakers have raised questions about ongoing US aid.

“That’s the important thing – that you don’t see any decrease in the bipartisan consensus on support for Ukraine, despite the fact that you’ve heard a lot about growing concerns,” said Mark Cancian, senior adviser at the Center for strategic and international studies, a think tank.

Here are some key provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act:

The bill would provide for a 4.6% increase in military base pay for service members, the largest in 20 years. The Department of Defense civilian workforce would get the same increase.

It would also increase the military housing allowance by 2% and require reporting on a “more transparent, fair and flexible way to calculate the basic housing allowance”, according to a summary by the House Armed Services Committee.

The legislation would also raise the eligibility threshold for the Basic Needs Allowance, a new additional payment for low-income military families, to 150% of the federal poverty level, from 130%.

The NDAA would also increase funding for commissioners to help offset rising prices. And it would create a pilot program to reimburse military families for certain child care costs related to a permanent job change.

It would authorize reimbursement of up to $4,000 for pet relocation expenses arising from permanent station changes to or from locations outside of the continental United States.

To address the problem of suicides among the military, the bill would require the Secretary of Defense to compile a report on suicide rates by military specialty, service, and occupational rank. It would require the secretary of defense to notify congressional armed services committees of the review’s preliminary findings by June 1.

Some 519 US service members died by suicide last year, according to the Pentagon. The overall suicide rate per 100,000 active duty service members has slowly increased from 2011 to 2021.

The NDAA would extend and modify the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, and authorize $800 million in funding in fiscal year 2023, which is $500 million more than what was planned in the NDAA. defense bill last year.

The program provides funds to the federal government to pay industry to produce weapons and security aid to send to Ukraine, rather than drawing directly from current US weapons stockpiles.

The funding authorization in the defense bill is intended to supplement additional funding for the initiative expected in a future federal spending package, according to Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio who signed the program into law in 2015.

In addition, the defense bill would expedite the delivery of ammunition to Ukraine and the replenishment of associated U.S. stockpiles by streamlining acquisition requirements and allowing multi-year purchases of certain ammunition, according to the House Armed Services Committee. . The authorization would also provide ammunition stockpiles to U.S. allies and partners, as well as increase the number of ammunition that would be needed if China takes action against Taiwan.

This would be the largest number of multi-year supply contracts for ammunition the Defense Bill has authorized in recent history, if ever.

One of the main concerns throughout the ongoing conflict in Ukraine has been whether the industrial bases of the The United States and other allied nations can meet the demand required to support Ukraine. This measure is focused on reducing bureaucratic red band to help industry produce these weapons for Ukraine more quickly.

The NDAA would establish a specific defense modernization program for Taiwan to deter aggression from China, according to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey.

It would authorize up to $10 billion in foreign military funding grants over the next five years, improve training and collaboration, and make available up to $2 billion in loans.

It would also give the president the power to give Taiwan up to $1 billion worth of arms and ammunition.

And it would create a regional emergency stockpile, which would allow the Pentagon to put weapons in Taiwan for use if an army a conflict with China arises, Cancian said.

Fearing that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine could prompt China to take similar action against Taiwan, Biden has repeatedly said that the United States has an obligation to defend the self-governing island in the event of an attack. Chinese invasion. Under Biden, as well as his predecessors, the United States sold arms to Taiwan to bolster its defensive capabilities.

The bill would end the requirement for troops to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

The controversial provision was pushed by congressional Republicans. House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy said last week that the end of the term was “a victory for our military and for common sense.”

But military officials and experts have warned that this could have negative ripple effects on military readiness and the ability of service members to deploy around the world.

The White House views the removal of the mandate as “a mistake,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday. But she declined to say whether Biden would sign a bill ending the requirement, noting that the president “will judge the bill in its entirety.”


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