Below is a brief senate update of the thousands of pages of draft defense authorization language working its way through the legislative process. Of note, the defense appropriations bills are not yet public and continue to undergo review at the committee level. Remember, authorizations are policy; appropriations are actual funding. Gene will remain in contact on your specific issue(s). Any questions, just ask!

Last week, the Senate continued consideration of the “National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021“ (S.4049) as the House Armed Services Committee marked up and reported out its version of the same bill, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021” (H.R.6395). The full House may consider its version of the NDAA in July, and the Senate will likely finish its version of the bill as early as this week.

The two packages authorize very similar top-line funding for the Department of Defense (DOD) and non-DOD defense programs (most of which are the Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons programs) that largely meets the Administration’s overall funding request of roughly $731 billion, including $69 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). Also, the two FY 2021 NDAAs would authorize appropriations at or below the FY 2021 cap for defense funding of $671.5 billion.  Since the Senate version has already come to the Senate floor, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has scored the package as reported out of committee and found it would boost defense funding by $2.6 billion or less than 1% when compared to the current year’s non-emergency defense funding. Recall a previous Quick Hit describing flat as the new up. 1% growth is actually a net decline.

Highlights from the House Armed Services Committee

·       3% pay raise

·       Creation of a $1 billion Pandemic Preparedness and Resilience National Security Fund

·       Establishment of a Small Business Industrial Base Resiliency Program

·       Creates the Pacific Deterrence Initiative (PDI)

·       $22 billion for shipbuilding

·       Adds a second Virginia-class submarine

·       Multi-ship award authority for the Columbia-class submarine (up to two), as well as three San Antonio-class, and one America-class amphibious ship

·       Adds one Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF)

·       $11.4 billion for the F-35 program  (95 aircraft)

·       Prohibits divestment of the A-10 aircraft

·       Delays divestment of KC-10, KC-35 and KC-46 aircraft

·       Establishes a reserve component of Space Force

·       Substantial policy directives in cyber

Highlights from the Senate Armed Services Committee

·       Creates the Pacific Deterrence Initiative (PDI), authorizing $1.4 billion

·       $21.3 billion for shipbuilding

·       Closely mirrors HASC shipbuilding decisions

·       Similar delay and prohibition of USAF divestment decisions

·       $9.1 billion to buy 95 Joint Strike Fighters

·       $3.7 billion for cruise missile and stand-off missile inventories

·       Policy directives to enhance the industrial base to an innovation base

·       Policy actions designed to slow Ligado Network’s encroachment on GPS spectrum

 

Comparing House and Senate FY 2021 NDAAs by major categories of funding:

 

Procurement:

HASC: $132.6 billion

SASC: $134 billion

 

Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E):

HASC: $106.7 billion

SASC: $106.7 billion

 

Operations & Maintenance:

HASC: $193.8 billion

SASC: $195.6 billion

 

Military Personnel:

HASC: $157.8 billion

SASC: $156.3 billion

 

Other Authorizations:

HASC: $36.7 billion

SASC: $35.9 billion

Military Construction:

HASC: $7.8 billion

SASC: $7.8 billion

It is likely Congress will pass the FY 2021 NDAA before the end of the year. In the near term, President Trump has vowed to veto the bill if it comes to him with House language requiring the renaming of bases named for Confederate luminaries. If a veto came to pass, Congress would likely overrule it.