Before the House and Senate departed for August recess, both chambers passed their respective versions of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The annual legislation updates policy for the Department of Defense and National Nuclear Security Administration and always includes numerous provisions bearing on R&D, the nuclear weapons complex, and other science-related matters.
When lawmakers return to Washington in September, a conference committee will convene to reconcile the bills into a final version. Traditionally, the committee reaches a bipartisan compromise, which has enabled the enactment of an NDAA for 57 years in a row. Congress moved unusually quickly last year, completing its work well in advance of the new fiscal year, which starts on Oct. 1. However, things are unlikely to go so smoothly this time around.