After the leaders of the Senate and House Armed Services Committee announced a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released his top successes from this year’s legislation.
“Anyone who knows me knows how important it is to me that we work together to produce a bipartisan agreement that provides for America’s troops,” Inhofe said. “As I near the close of my time here in Congress, ensuring our troops have what they need is my number one priority and I am glad we are one step closer to final passage of the FY23 National Defense Authorization Act. I’m proud to have worked with my colleagues to produce a bipartisan, bicameral defense bill for the 62nd year and I am especially thankful for Sen. Reed’s leadership throughout this process.
“One thing remains clear: we are in the most threatened position of my lifetime. Conservatives in Oklahoma and across the United States can be proud of what we secured in this year’s bill to protect our country from threats like China and Russia and give our troops what they need to complete their mission. I also fought to ensure for a second year that the ‘women in the draft’ provision was left out of the final agreement—we should not force our daughters and granddaughters to register for the Selective Service.”
INHOFE’S TOP 10 WINS IN THE FY23 NDAA
1. Takes care of our troops.
· The NDAA rescinds DOD’s COVID vaccine mandate amid massive recruiting crisis.
· The NDAA authorizes funding to support a 4.6 percent pay raise for both military service members and the Department of Defense civilian workforce.
· This legislation bans Uighur slave labor-made items in military commissaries and exchanges.
· The NDAA increases maximum special and incentive payments and bonuses by over 30 percent.
· The NDAA authorizes DOD to pay relocation and quarantine costs for pets during military moves.
· The NDAA authorizes a Survivor Benefit Plan open season for the first time since 2005.
· Limits frequency of adjustments to overseas cost of living allowances to every 6-months.
· The NDAA permanently authorizes the DOD Skillbridge program.
· The NDAA authorizes a pilot program on hiring special education inclusion coordinators in Child Development Centers to ensure quality services are provided to children with special needs.
· The NDAA extends the reimbursement authority for spouse relicensing costs after a permanent change of station (PCS) for an 5 additional years.
· The NDAA authorizes the reimbursement of spouse business costs arising from a PCS.
· The NDAA authorizes $50 million for Impact Aid and $20 million for Impact Aid for military dependents with severe disabilities.
· The NDAA requires DOD to establish a comprehensive initiative for brain health, the Warfighter Brain Health Initiative, to improve cognitive performance and brain health of servicemembers.
· The NDAA makes improvements to the TRICARE Dental Program, including improving specialty care referrals under TRICARE Prime during permanent changes of station.
· The NDAA makes certain improvements relating to behavioral health care in the military health system.
· The NDAA authorizes transitional health care benefits to National Guard members who are separated from full-time duty in response to a national emergency declaration and supported by federal funds
2. Boosts defense funding by $45 billion.
· The NDAA increases authorized defense funding by $45 billion above President Biden’s woefully inadequate budget request.
o Adds $7 billion in military construction projects
o Adds $5 billion to maintain and expand the U.S. Navy fleet:
§ Authorizes funding for a 3rd destroyer and 2 extra Expeditionary Fast Transports
§ Establishes 31-ship floor for amphibious ship fleet
§ Prevents retirement of 12 vessels with service life remaining
o Adds nearly $5 billion to purchase additional Air Force and Navy aircraft
o Adds nearly $1.5 billion to key Space Force programs to regain warfighting edge in space
o Includes billions of dollars for advanced technology research in critical areas such as 5G, quantum computing, biotechnology, and more
o Contains $19 billion to counteract devastating effects of Biden’s inflation on military:
§ Mandates clear reporting to Congress for next 5 years of inflation effects after Biden administration downplayed effects in 2022
· The NDAA requires a public version of the National Defense Strategy after the Biden administration failed to release one.
· The NDAA puts the U.S. on a path to becoming the Arsenal of Democracy again.
· The NDAA includes extensive reporting requirements to understand how to revitalize munitions industrial base.
· The NDAA gives DOD authority to enter into multi-year contracts for nearly all important munitions.
· The NDAA includes more than $2 billion in expansion of production capacity for key munitions for Ukraine, Taiwan, and U.S. forces, such as:
o LRASM, JASSM, and the Standard Missile series
o Precision 155mm artillery shells
o PAC-3 MSE air defense missiles
o Naval Strike Missiles
o Naval mines
3. Prioritizes nuclear modernization amid Chinese nuclear breakout.
Recently, the annual China Military Power Report confirmed that Beijing is on a path to triple its nuclear arsenal by 2035 – undermining decades of U.S. nuclear planning.
· The NDAA continues development of the nuclear Sea-Launched Cruise Missile, which is necessary to enhance deterrence against Russian advantages in tactical nuclear weapons and China’s massive nuclear expansion, a program the Biden administration tried to kill despite unified opposition from military leadership.
· The NDAA prevents the Biden administration from pursuing unilateral nuclear disarmament by prohibiting the retirement of the B83 nuclear gravity bomb until a replacement program is in place.
· The NDAA fully funds all U.S. nuclear modernization programs, and increases support for restoring critical National Nuclear Security Administration infrastructure.
· This legislation prevents a House progressive attempt to undercut plans to restore United States’ plutonium pit production capabilities, necessary to maintain a safe and effective nuclear arsenal.
· This bill prevents House progressive effort to fund foreign lobbying for an anti-nuclear weapons treaty (CTBT) the Senate rejected over two decades ago.
· The NDAA enhances funding for ballistic and hypersonic glide missile defense system development and procurements, including requiring the administration to develop a plan for expanding U.S. homeland defense capabilities.
· This legislation permanently blocks Russian and Chinese access to U.S. missile defense system information and technologies.
4. Accelerates U.S. pushback on China.
- The NDAA adds $1 billion in INDOPACOM commander’s unfunded requirements for island basing, space capabilities, naval mines and more.
- The NDAA prohibits Hollywood from bowing to Chinese censorship for movies that U.S. military participates in, sending a strong signal to the Chinese people that the United States supports their right to watch uncensored movies.
- The NDAA prevents the Biden administration from inviting China to the largest naval exercise (RIMPAC) until China stops committing genocide in Xinjiang and prevents the Department of Defense (DOD) from selling products made by Uighur slave labor at commissaries.
- The NDAA requires the Secretary of Defense to establish a Joint Force Headquarters in the Pacific – an essential part of being ready to “fight tonight” – which will improve deterrence against the People’s Republic of China.
- This legislation requires the DoD to designate a single individual to lead the development and deployment of an integrated missile defense system to protect Guam from Chinese aggression.
5. Keeps DOD focused on warfighting.
· For the second year in a row, thanks to Senator Inhofe’s leadership, the final NDAA agreement does not include a provision that would have forced America’s daughters and granddaughters to register for the Selective Service.
· The NDAA re-establishes gender-neutral fitness standards for Army soldiers after the Army released dangerously low standards.
· The final NDAA does not contain multiple progressive provisions from the House that continue to paint all servicemembers as extremists, despite the Biden administration’s own December 2021 report that stated less than .005 percent of servicemembers had been connected to extremist incidents.
o One provision would have mandated training on extremism for every separating or retiring servicemember – presupposing that all servicemembers are predisposed to extremist activity.
· The NDAA drops a House Democrat-authored requirement for DOD to track and reduce emissions within the Department’s supply chain.
· The NDAA drops a progressive provision from the House that would add climate change as a priority of U.S. security cooperation with allies and partners.
6. Stays tough on Russia.
· The NDAA contains expansive oversight and reporting requirements for the U.S. effort to arm Ukraine against Russia, ensuring that the Ukrainians will continue to receive what they need to fight back against Russian aggression, including by reauthorizing and improving the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.
· Improves U.S./NATO ability to pool resources and expand orders of crucial ammunition and munitions.
· The NDAA includes permanent extension of prohibition on U.S. sharing of ballistic missile defense info with Russia – a longtime progressive attempt to “reset” with Russia.
· The NDAA includes a 5-year extension of prohibition on military-to-military cooperation between U.S. and Russia (maintains waiver that allows for high-level crisis communications and deconfliction talks).
7. Pushes back on progressive provisions added to the NDAA.
· The NDAA includes sense of Congress and report on parental rights at DOD schools.
· The agreement rejects progressives’ attempts to paint service members as extremists, to use the NDAA to further their efforts for DC statehood, and to advance progressives’ social agendas on diversity, equity and inclusion.
· The NDAA removes dozens of House provisions related to identity politics at the expense of readiness.
· The agreement permanently prohibits service members from being dishonorably discharged for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
· The NDAA removes a House Democrat provision that would’ve established a financial assistance fund for alleged victims of numerous crime – the first time U.S. taxpayer dollars would be used to pay for the behavior of criminals.
8. Stands for conservative values.
· The NDAA requires quarterly briefings from the Department of Defense about military support to law enforcement officers deployed to mitigate border crisis.
· The NDAA omits two House Democrat attempts to move toward D.C. statehood by giving D.C. mayor control over D.C. National Guard.
· This legislation maintains the status quo on keeping the worst terrorists at GTMO, despite repeated Democrat attempts to transfer terrorists to U.S. soil.
o Adds a prohibition on transferring terrorists to Afghanistan after disastrous Biden withdrawal put al Qaeda ally Taliban back in charge.
o Omits a House Democrat provision that would’ve required that military commission trials of GTMO terrorists be publicly broadcast – unlike any other federal trial – which would create serious security and classification concerns.
· The NDAA protects the sanctity of life and Second Amendment rights.
o Removes provision requiring TRICARE to provide free emergency contraception to all beneficiaries at retail pharmacies
9. Expands cooperation with allies and partners.
· The NDAA requires the Secretary of Defense to develop a plan for integrated air and missile defense in the Middle East to protect Israel and our Arab partners from Iran.
· The bill drops all House Democrat limitations on U.S. security cooperation with key partners in the Middle East.
· The NDAA establishes authority for CYBERCOM to share cyber capabilities with operational partners.
· The NDAA directs a comprehensive study on the responsibilities of the military services for organizing, training and presenting forces to CYBERCOM. It directs them to submit recommendations on a future force generation model for cyberspace operations forces.
· The bill adds New Zealand to the National Technological Industrial Base.
· The NDAA strips out disastrously written “Buy America” provisions that would’ve alienated allies and partners and raised costs for the DOD and U.S. taxpayers.
· The bill includes hundreds of millions of dollars for additional security cooperation with partners in Africa, South America and the Pacific to expand partner capacity and increase burden sharing.
10. Takes care of Oklahoma.
· Sen. Inhofe ensured that the FY23 NDAA maintains the missions at each of Oklahoma’s five military installations, as well as ensures the bases and the surrounding communities are fully resourced.
· The legislation invests in Oklahoma’s future by promoting partnerships between universities (including OU, OSU and the University of Tulsa), industry partners and the Department of Defense.
· Includes tens of millions of dollars in science & technology projects in key capability areas in Oklahoma
· Ensures the Air Force must keep two E-3 AWACS at Tinker Air Force Base for training instead of retiring the aircraft
· Includes $300 million above the president’s budget request to accelerate the E-7 Wedgetail, which will replace the E-3 AWACS at Tinker Air Force Base
For the Senate Armed Services Committee’s full summary of the NDAA, please click here.