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Fiscal Year 2019 NDAA Clears Congress

Moon over U.S. Capitol on Nov. 13, 2016. NASA Photo

The Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act passed the Senate and now set for the president’s signature. 

The NDAA authorizes a $717 billion national defense budget and several major policy changes for the military.

“I’m deeply proud that the Senate voted overwhelmingly today to pass the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019,” said a statement from Sen. John McCain, (R-Ariz.), chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “This marks the earliest that Congress has completed the bill in over 40 years – a testament to the leadership of Senators Jack Reed and Jim Inhofe, along with Representatives Mac Thornberry and Adam Smith, who tirelessly worked through committee markups, floor consideration, and conference negotiations in a matter of months. I am proud that the Senate has once again moved the NDAA through regular order, and that bipartisanship and collaboration have become defining hallmarks of National Defense Authorization Act.”

Among the Department of Defense programs included in the NDAA, the bill authorizes several Navy and Marine Corps programs and policies, including:

  • $24.1 billion for shipbuilding, fully funding construction of 13 new battle force ships and accelerates funding for several future ship classes.
  • $2.3 billion to purchase 20 short takeoff and vertical landing F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters — the variant used by the Marine Corps.
  • $1.1 billion to purchase nine F-35C fighters, the arrested landing variants used by the Navy.
  • Authorizes multi-year contract authority for F/A-18 Super Hornets, EA-18G Growler aircraft and E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft.
  • Mandates several reforms to the surface warfare community, which are designed to correct some of the factors believed to have contributed to the death of 17 sailors in two separate collisions involving guided-missile destroyers and merchant ships in 2017.
  • A revamp of the way the Navy and other service branches can recruit and promote officers.
  • Production of several munition lines, including Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile Extended Range (JASSM-ER), the MK-48 torpedo, and the Harpoon missiles.
  • Prohibits China’s navy is from participating in future Rim of the Pacific naval exercises unless a waiver is granted by the Secretary of Defense. China’s invitation to the 2018 RIMPAC was revoked earlier this year because of the nation’s aggressive actions in the South China Sea.