Reed, Top Lawmakers Reach Bipartisan Agreement on Key Defense Bill

Leaders of the Senate and House Armed Services Committee on Thursday released a bipartisan, bicameral conference agreement for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24). The $883.7 billion legislation authorizes policies and funding levels for the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and the national security programs of the U.S. Department of Energy. The legislation provides resources to equip and train U.S. forces; provide for military families; and strengthen oversight of the Pentagon and military programs.

The FY24 defense bill provides U.S. troops and DOD civilians with a historic 5.2 percent pay raise. It bolsters U.S. alliances and partnerships to succeed in competition with global threats, particularly in the Indo-Pacific and Europe. Notably, the bill extends the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative and supports Ukraine in its fight to defend its freedom and territorial integrity. The NDAA also equips the Defense Department to deter and counter America’s adversaries, including by reducing dependence on China for raw materials used in defense technologies.

Chairman Reed said the FY24 NDAA will strengthen military readiness, protect the health of our servicemembers and their families, and ensure the strength and resiliency of the defense industrial base.

“The United States faces a complex set of national security challenges. The world is growing more dangerous by the day, and our national security is on the line,” said Senator Reed. “Congress has a Constitutional duty to provide for the common defense and this critical legislation will ensure our servicemembers and defense civilians have the resources, training, equipment and capabilities they need to keep our nation safe.” 

The FY24 NDAA advances U.S. military capabilities in response to a dangerous and growing set of national security challenges. It helps build the force structure the U.S. needs for a crisis or conflict; targets research and development investments in emerging technologies; and prioritizes programs and policies to strengthen U.S. cyber defenses.

“This bill makes vital investments in the readiness and well-being of our forces. I commend all of my colleagues for working across the aisle to help produce a bipartisan and bicameral agreement that strengthens our national security and supports our servicemembers,” continued Reed. “This NDAA is good news for Rhode Island and a major win for America’s defense. This forward-looking legislation provides a historic level of support for our troops and their families and authorizes record-level investments in the people, platforms, and programs that our forces need to safeguard the nation and advance U.S. interests across the globe.”

The bipartisan NDAA includes a number of key provisions that were championed by Senator Reed to enhance national security, support our servicemembers, and strengthen our nation’s maritime capacity and capabilities.

Hundreds of small businesses across Rhode Island supply the U.S. Department of Defense, and hardworking Rhode Islanders contribute to the creation of a wide range of military products, equipment, and services.  Additionally, Rhode Island is home to the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport; Naval Station (NAVSTA) Newport; and the Naval War College.  These facilities, along with leading academic research institutions and a network of suppliers and small businesses, are contributing to a booming defense industry that is boosting Rhode Island’s economy and leading to advancements in technology and innovation.

A recent report by SENEDIA shows that the total direct and indirect economic impact from defense spending in Rhode Island accounted for $7.6 billion in 2022. The report found that Rhode Island’s defense industry is growing and supported a total of 34,068 direct and indirect jobs across the Ocean State with an annual payroll of $3 billion.

Reed highlighted several key provisions of the bill that will benefit Rhode Island’s defense workers and industry, including:

  • More than $10 billion to fully support construction of 2 Virginia-class submarines;
  • More than $240 million for workforce and training initiatives to support the production of the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine and the continued construction of Virginia-class submarines;
  • $74 million for Navy applied research on undersea warfare technologies, led by the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC);
  • $20 million for the Defense Established Programs to Stimulate Competitive Research (DEPSCoR), which ensures Rhode Island universities may compete to perform cutting-edge basic research and partner with defense labs;
  • $50 million in supplemental Impact Aid and $20 million in Impact Aid for schools with military dependent children with severe disabilities; and
  • $32 million in military construction funding for the RI Army National Guard.

Additionally, the bill includes several provisions to support small businesses, including language that improves the functioning of the Procurement Technical Assistance Program (PTAP), now known as the APEX Accelerators program; language to improve the timeliness of payments made to DOD small businesses; and updates to the Defense Rapid Innovation Program to support the transition of technologies from small businesses into fielding and use.

Both Congressional chambers produced separate versions of the NDAA earlier this year.  The final text of the bipartisan agreement was released last night and the bill will proceed through both chambers for approval.

Reed, who worked with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to negotiate an agreement on the defense policy bill, says he hopes that Congress will vote to approve the NDAA within the next week, sending the bill to President Biden for his signature.

If the NDAA agreement is passed by Congress, it would mark the 63rd consecutive year that both chambers have come together on a bipartisan basis to approve the defense policy bill.




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