By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, November 14, 2017, Congress passed the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA sets policy and authorizes spending for the entire U.S. military, and the bill must be passed each year. The bill passed by a vote of 356 to 70.
Following negotiations between the House and the Senate, this year’s NDAA includes authorization for three Littoral Combat Ships (LCS), which are built in-part by Austal USA in Mobile.
Congressman Bradley Byrne, R-Montrose, said: “Today I voted to grow our military, boost military readiness, and help keep the American people safe and secure. This year’s NDAA includes numerous provisions to support our servicemembers and ensure they have the resources necessary to do their job.”
Congressman Mo Brook, R-Huntsville, voted for the conference report to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018.
Rep. Brooks said, “The sequestration provisions of the Budget Control Act of 2011 (which I voted against) wrongly targeted national defense spending with disproportionate spending cuts that have hamstrung America’s warfighters for more than six years. In sum, and although national defense is only about 16 percent of total federal government spending, the Budget Control Act disproportionately burdened national defense with almost two-thirds of all budget cuts. A major reason why I voted for the FY18 NDAA conference report is that it reverses the damage done to national defense by the Budget Control Act caps and sequestration constraints, thereby restoring the support America’s warfighters need to successfully perform their missions – in an increasingly dangerous world.
The NDAA authorizes America’s national defense programs. This conference report resolves differences between the two different NDAA versions that passed the House and Senate earlier this year. Once both the House and Senate both pass the conference report, it will go to the White House for the President’s signature.
The FY18 NDAA conference report authorizes a $88.7 billion increase over FY 2017 national defense funding. It authorizes $634.2 billion for base budget requirements and $65.7 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations funding, for a record-high total of $699.9 billion.
Congressman Brooks said, “Of particular interest to Redstone Arsenal and the Tennessee Valley, the NDAA: Authorizes a significant $4.4 billion increase for missile defense; Authorizes an additional 28 Ground-Based interceptor missiles; Requires the Secretary of Defense to develop a plan for increasing the overall number of Ground-Based interceptor missiles from 44 to 104; and allows Decatur’s United Launch Alliance to continue investing to replace the Russian RD-180 engine.”
Brooks concluded, “Although it does not directly impact the Tennessee Valley economy, the NDAA continues funding for three Littoral Combat Ships, which is welcome news for the Navy and Mobile Bay, where the Littoral Combat Ships are constructed. Moreover, I’m pleased that five amendments I offered to the House NDAA were included in the final NDAA conference report. Overall, the FY18 NDAA takes a step toward restoring vital funding, modernizing equipment, and providing our warfighters with the personnel and weaponry needed to protect America.”
Congressman Brooks is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, sitting on the Strategic Forces and Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittees. He is the founder and co-chair of the Army Aviation Caucus.
Congressman Bradley Byrne, R-AL, Vice-Chairman of the House Seapower Subcommittee.
The Senate is expected to pass the NDAA.