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Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: Setting Defense Policy for 2019

Weekly Update: Setting Defense Policy for 2019
Congressman Rob Wittman
April 28, 2018

Every year, the House Armed Services Committee creates and brings to the floor the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA, which is signed into law every year, directs policy and spending plans for the Defense Department.

This week, the subcommittees of the House Armed Services Committee released our proposals for the next NDAA, which included a broad range of provisions ranging from increasing shipbuilding, troop levels, innovation efforts, and boost military pay and benefits.

As the Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, I presented our bipartisan proposals on Thursday. Within this proposal, we included what is necessary to rebuild our Navy to be the force our nation needs – 355 ships. There were also many Virginia priorities included in this bill. If adopted, this legislation would authorize the Navy to buy another Ford-class aircraft carrier, which will further call on the strong industrial base we have in Virginia and save money for taxpayers. It retains the hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, which is homeported in Newport News. Our proposal also includes authorization for more Virginia-class submarines, many of which are built in Virginia. Additional submarines are essential to reducing the attack submarine shortfall currently slated to occur in the next ten years. These Virginia-specific provisions are critical not only to our Commonwealth's economy and continued role as the national leader in supporting our Armed Forces, but in the national security of our country as well.

Also included in this year’s subcommittee proposal were ways to address our current readiness crisis. In 2017 we lost 17 sailors in the McCain and Fitzgerald collisions in the Pacific, I believe this cannot go unanswered. Over the past six months, I have been working with the Navy through their investigations and as they create a new training curriculum to address these deficiencies. During this year’s NDAA, I will be taking a close look at ways Congress can assist the Navy in those efforts to make sure our sailors are prepared for their time at sea. That includes new certification requirements and allowing sailors to specialize in either navigation or engineering.

As we move through this process, I will continue to be working tirelessly to make sure our men and women in uniform receive the resources they need to be successful. The next step will be considering all of these subcommittee proposals in front of the full House Armed Services Committee, which will take place in just two weeks. To stay updated on all my work related to defense, click here!