WASHINGTON – Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01), chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, today backed House passage of H.R. 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18 NDAA).
The bill is the main mechanism through which Congress "provides for the common defense" of our nation. This bill equips, supplies, and trains our troops; cares for them and their families; and sets national security policy in a dangerous world. The authorization calls for base budget requirements of $631.5 billion, increases the size of Army, Navy, Air Force, Guard, and Reserve commensurate with the threats we face, and fully funds a 2.4% pay raise for our troops.
"We face a wide array of threats around the globe and this bill provides the authorities and resources for our men and women of the Armed Forces to do the job we've asked them to do," Rep. Wittman said. "Most critically, this defense authorization makes clear our intention to build the Navy's Fleet to 355 ships, which will allow us to deter our adversaries, support our allies, and respond to threats and humanitarian challenges around the globe. Finally, the bill contains local priorities addressing the Coleman Bridge, Langley Air Force Base, and establishing domestic maritime centers of excellence that are of critical importance to Virginia."
The FY18 NDAA contains numerous Seapower provisions and local priorities critical to Virginia.
Specific Seapower provisions included in the NDAA for FY18:
- Establishes the policy of the United States to have available not fewer than 355 battle force ships;
- Builds on the eight ships requested by the administration and adds an additional five ships;
- Authorizes multiyear procurement authority for 15 Arleigh Burke-class Destroyers for the next five years at a rate of three destroyers a year;
- Authorizes multiyear procurement authority for 13 Virginia-class Attack Submarines for the next five years at a minimum rate of two submarines per year and provides the Navy advanced procurement authority to support a third submarine in 2020, 2022 and 2023;
- Prohibits the retirement of additional Ticonderoga-class cruisers;
- Directs the Department of Defense to obtain 12 aircraft carriers by the end of fiscal year 2023;
- Provides expanded authority to more efficiently procure new Ford-class aircraft carriers and overhaul existing Nimitz-class aircraft carriers;
- Expands the authority of the National Sea-Based Deterrence Fund that would authorize a more efficient procurement of common components associated with the nuclear enterprise;
- Restricts major overhauls and repairs of U.S. naval vessels in foreign shipyards;
- Prohibits the retirement of mine countermeasure ships until Navy is able to deploy the Littoral Combat Ship mine warfare capability;
- Fully authorizes the Maritime Security Program.
Local Priorities in NDAA for FY18 include:
* Improvement of the U.S. Navy’s public shipyards, like Norfolk Naval Shipyard, in the following areas:
a. Personnel- Requests an employment development plan to estimate resources needed, workforce hiring targets, training necessary, and overtime support.
b. Infrastructure- Identify deficiencies and develop a plan with proposed infrastructure projects associated with returning our Navy to a 355 ship Fleet, specifically as it relates to nuclear work.
* Langley Air Force Base: Encourages the Chief of Staff of the Air Force to ensure that CAOC-X and other regional CAOCs (like Langley) are resourced, manned, and fully utilized to serve as a training venue for the planning, execution, and command and control of joint forces taking part in major regional joint exercises.
* George P. Coleman Memorial Bridge, Yorktown, VA- Requests a briefing from the DoD on the military value of the Coleman Bridge’s swingspan, to include a discussion with local and State stakeholders that have financial responsibility for the management of the bridge.
* The Domestic Maritime Centers of Excellence Act, legislation introduced by Rep. Wittman, was added as an amendment to the NDAA. The bill advances the capabilities of two-year community and technical colleges to assist the federal government and industry in securing the talent pipeline for domestic maritime industry jobs, which willmean more shipbuilders and repairmen to sustain and expand trade and grow our Navy's Fleet.
Congressman Rob Wittman represents the 1st District of Virginia. He serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Armed Services Committee, where he is Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.