Last Friday, the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) released its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year (FY) 2021 and sent it to the Senate floor for a future vote.
Here are a few of the highlights:
- The bill authorizes $1.4 billion for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative (PDI) in FY21, including $188.6 million above the budget request for Indo-Pacific requirements, such as missile defense, enhancing forward posture, and improving interoperability with allies and partners. The bill also authorizes a PDI topline of $5.5 billion for FY22 and directs the Secretary of Defense to create a spending plan for these resources.
- Requires the Secretary of the Army to submit a plan to operationally deploy or forward station in an operational theater or theaters the two batteries of interim cruise missile defense capability,
- Encourages DOD to allocate sufficient resources and prioritize the protection of airbases that might be under attack from current or emerging cruise missiles and advanced hypersonic missiles, specifically from China,
- Extends the limitation on providing sensitive missile defense information to Russia and on the integration of U.S. missile defense systems into those of China and Russia,
- Fully funds the European Deterrence Initiative and increases funding to support rotational forces in Europe,
- Expresses a sense of the Senate that long-term strategic competition with Russia is a top defense priority that requires sustained investment and enhanced deterrence due to the level of threat posed,
- Encourages the development of our hypersonic weapons, as well as defenses against the hypersonic weapons of our competitors – an area of intense technological competition between the United States, China, and Russia — a key element of the NDS
- Provides additional funding for missile defense priorities, including the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor, components for an eight Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery, Homeland Defense Radar-Hawaii, and additional SM-3IIA interceptors,
- Requires a joint approach and plan to protect air bases and prepositioned sites in the contested environments outlined in the NDS,
- Assesses our integrated air and missile defense capabilities and capacity to address existing and emerging air, missile, and other indirect fire threats to combat increasingly sophisticated and widely used threats, especially those emerging from China and Russia,
- Provides an additional $83 million to accelerate Ground Air Task-Oriented Radar integration with the Cooperative Engagement Capability and Standard Missile 6,
- Requires the Secretary of the Air Force to develop an analysis on the applicability of the Advanced Battle Management System to the broader Joint All-Domain Command and Control efforts
- Provides leadership and alignment across the services by requiring the Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC) to produce Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) requirements and for the Chief of Staff of the Air Force to certify that JADC2 efforts currently being led by the Air Force will meet these requirements,
- Directs the Secretary of Defense to provide a classified report on the integrated air and missile defense; counter-rocket, artillery, and mortar (C-RAM); and Counter-Unmanned Aircraft posture in the CENTCOM area of responsibility,
- Authorizes $260 million for long lead time material for Arleigh Burke-class destroyers
- Authorizes funding for the Missile Defense Agency’s cooperative programs with Israel in line with both the budget request and the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding
In due legislation process, these Senate legislative statements are not the final say as the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) will markup their own version of the NDAA and have a House floor vote. After the NDAA is passed in both Chambers, the Senate and House authorizers hold a conference committee to resolve differences between the two versions to then get repassed in both Chambers and sent to the President to be signed into law. Simultaneously to this authorization process, the Senate and House appropriators follow a similar process to create defense appropriations bills and law to provide the actual money for these authorizations.
We are a long way away, and are not limited to what is above, but we have begun the process with core fundamental concepts highlighted above that have a reasonable chance of making it into law.