Senate Armed Services Committee Advances Annual Defense Budget Blueprint

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Senate Armed Services Committee announced details of the
committee’s markup of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year
2018. The committee voted 27-0 to report the bill, which authorizes up to $632
billion in base funding for the U.S. Department of Defense and the national security
programs of the U.S. Department of Energy, as well as an additional $60 billion for
the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account.

The NDAA includes a number of key provisions and reforms that were backed by U.S.
Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), the Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee,
to enhance national security, support our service members, increase military
readiness, and reform the defense acquisition process. Reed also led efforts to
include language in the bill to strengthen cyber operations, naval readiness, and
submarine production, which is a vital part of Rhode Island’s defense industry.
Reed helped ensure the bill continues the construction of two Virginia-class
submarines per year, which is critical given the cost savings achieved, the
efficiencies gained in the production schedule, and the projected shortfall in
attack submarines over the next decade.

«This markup is an important step toward providing our troops the resources they
need to meet a variety of pressing security challenges. It authorizes needed
investments in enhancing cyber operations, undersea capabilities, and submarine
production. It will help support our servicemembers and their families while
ensuring Rhode Island’s talented defense workers can continue contributing to our
national security,» said Senator Reed. «Ultimately, a strong national defense and a
strong economy both depend on Congress equitably resolving the Budget Control Act
spending caps and sequestration, which is outside this Committee’s jurisdiction.
Leaders from both parties must work together to take a balanced approach to
improving the management and stewardship of U.S. taxpayer dollars that will help
make our nation more secure.»

The committee Chairman, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), noted: «I want to thank Senator
Jack Reed, the Committee’s outstanding Ranking Member. Throughout this process, it
was a pleasure to work with Jack and all of my colleagues on what was a truly
bipartisan process-one that can make this Congress proud and, more importantly, that
is worthy of the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform.»

Notably, the committee’s markup of the FY18 NDAA contains a 2.1 percent pay raise
for troops. It also provides support to ongoing operations overseas and makes
significant force structure investments. The markup also reauthorizes a number of
expiring bonus and special pay authorities to encourage enlistment, reenlistment,
and continued service by active-duty and reserve component military personnel.

A number of Rhode Island-related projects and priorities are included in this
bipartisan legislation, including:

* $6.4 billion for the Virginia-class submarine program, including
additional economic order quantity funding and advance procurement for the next
block of ships. The bill supports the ten boat, multi-year contract that the Navy
and Electric Boat signed in April 2014;
* $1.6 billion to fully support the Ohio-class Replacement Program;
* $264.47 million for the DDG-1000 Zumwalt destroyer program;
* $81.09 million to accelerate undersea warfare applied research;
* $10 million for the procurement of an additional surveillance towed
array sensor system that detects stealth submarines, a priority for the Navy;
* $10 million in Impact Aid for schools with military dependent children
with severe disabilities.

In recognition of the important work of the Defense Institute of the International
Legal Studies in Newport, Rhode Island, the bill requires the Secretary of Defense
to review the Institute’s mission, workforce, funding, and support to determine
whether they are appropriately aligned to enable the Institute to carry out its
activities to strengthen the rule of law in partner nations’ militaries and build
defense legal institutions.

The NDAA also reflects other priorities backed by Senator Reed to sustain and
improve the quality of life for our men and women in uniform and their families.
The bill authorizes $141.5 billion for military personnel and $33.7 billion for the
Defense Health Program; permanently extends the Special Survivor Indemnity
Allowance; provides $25 million in supplemental impact aid; and enhances military
family readiness by addressing the shortage of qualified-child care workers and by
increasing flexibility for military families undergoing permanent changes of
station.

The NDAA must now be considered by the full U.S. Senate. A similar measure is
working its way through the U.S. House of Representatives.