WASHINGTON - The House Armed Services Committee passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018, which authorizes spending for military personnel, weapons systems, national security programs, and foreign military operations by a vote of 60 to 1.
“The threats our country faces today are more varied and widespread than ever before. While our enemies have been quickly advancing, our military has gotten smaller,” Thornberry said. “Our servicemembers work to protect us every day, and we owe them the best training, the best equipment, and other support our nation can provide.”
The bill authorizes $631.5 billion in spending for defense needs, including a $28.5 billion increase for essential readiness recovery above the President’s budget request.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) also combats global terrorism by fully resourcing and authorizing counterterrorism efforts and U.S. Special Operations Forces, programs, and activities around the world.
- Sheppard Air Force Base: The NDAA authorizes funding for an increase in end strength of the Air Force and programs such as the training missions at Sheppard Air Force Base near Wichita Falls. It also includes language to tighten evaluation process of energy projects close to military installations to help ensure that bases and training ranges are not adversely impacted.
- Pantex: The bill provides $10.4 billion in funding for nuclear weapons activities including the work done at Pantex, which is $184 million more than the Administration’s budget request. All life extension programs, including the W76-1 program currently underway at Pantex, are fully funded. The bill includes $5.2 million to begin design and construction of the Pantex Material Staging Facility, which will dramatically improve operations and security at the plant. To help with aging infrastructure, the bill establishes the Facilities and Infrastructure Recapitalization and Repair Program (FIRRP) with a goal of reducing the nuclear security enterprise’s backlog of deferred maintenance and repair needs by 50 percent within five years. An additional $150 million is included to help with this effort at Pantex and other facilities across the enterprise. Finally, the bill provides an increase of $33 million for defense nuclear security to ensure Pantex and other facilities maintain the highest level of security.
- Bell: Close to $2.6 billion is authorized for Bell’s V-22 Osprey and helicopter programs, including the procurement of 10 new Ospreys and 27 new H-1 helicopters. Much of the work for those aircraft will be performed in Amarillo.
- Military Personnel and Pay: The bill supports the full 2.4 percent pay raise for the military.
- Military Families: Prohibits the reduction of inpatient care for military Medical Treatment facilities located outside of the United States. The bill also provides resources to help families with relocation and relicensing.
- Rebuilding Readiness: Makes key investments not provided for in the President’s Budget Request. The NDAA will begin to recover lost readiness and begin rebuilding the force.
- Maintenance: Increases Navy Ship and Aircraft depot maintenance and afloat readiness, while also including additional funds for the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force operation and maintenance.
- Facilities: Increases funding to support military facilities.
- Missile Defense: Increases the authorization of funds to procure additional interceptor missiles, increase investments in the Ground-based Midcourse Defense System, and boost phase missile defense.