Today, Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, voted in favor of H.R.6395, the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21 NDAA).
“I am glad that I was able to support such a bipartisan piece of legislation,” Congressman Wittman said. “Several measures that I championed for our warfighters and those who support them passed in this bill.
“Our area is home to one of the largest populations of military members, their families, and the hardworking Americans who develop and support the platforms, systems, and programs that our warfighters use to execute their critical missions around the globe. These measures support our military community throughout our nation and the Commonwealth. Advocating for these individuals is one of my top priorities, and I am proud of the provisions in the FY21 NDAA that put our military community first.
“After more than 600 amendments and more than 12 hours of debate, we arrived at a good, bipartisan markup that was brought to the Floor. At the end of our process, I believe the Mac Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act is a solid bill that will do good by our service members. I look forward to working with my colleagues through the Conference Committee process where I will be working to advance the aspects of the bill that bring lethality and capability to the force and stripping any unnecessary partisan riders that found its way into the bill on the floor.”
Areas of note that Congressman Wittman was pivotal in crafting to accelerate national security from the Seapower Subcommittee in the FY21 NDAA include:
- Provides funding for the restoration of a second Virginia Class submarine and the required advanced procurement to maintain the two per year build rate;
- Provides funding for the Navy to procure eight battle force ships including one Columbia class fleet ballistic missile submarine; two Virginia-class submarines; two DDG 51 Arleigh Burke destroyers; one guided missile Frigate (FFG); and two T-ATS towing, salvage, and rescue ships;
- Continues investment in our surge sealift with the authorization of 4 additional sealift vessels and a new tanker security program are essential elements to getting the Army and Marine Corps to distant shores;
- Continues strong oversight of existing resources in limiting funds for a deficient KC-46A tanker and an unmanned surface vessel fleet.
Additional vital measures in the FY21 NDAA:
- Continues to improve the quality of life for our service men and women in uniform, supporting the authorization for a 3.0 percent pay increase, and makes key investments to military infrastructure and provides crucial support to training and sustainment activities that continue to enhance military operations;
- Authorizes funding that will strengthen DOD and the country’s ability to respond to potential COVID-19 resurgence and other infectious diseases in the future;
- Authorizes $3.58 billion as the basis for the Indo-Pacific Reassurance Initiative to optimize the presence of U.S. forces in the region;
- Establishes an acquisition authority for the Director of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center to procure systems and technologies related to Artificial Intelligence for up to $150 million per year over the Future Year Defense Program;
- Strengthens Oversight of Special Operations Forces Activities, Readiness, and Alignment to the National Defense Strategy;
- Strengthens the DOD’s ability to counter weapons of mass destruction, with a focus on chemical and biological threat reduction;
- Creates a pilot program to establish or expand job placement programs for unemployed guardsmen or reservists;
- Mandates and supports a space sensor layer that is capable of tracking both advanced ballistic and hypersonic missile threats;
- Creates a Pandemic Preparedness and Resilience National Security Fund, directing $1 billion to efforts to proactively increase the country’s ability to prepare for and respond to future pandemics.
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 serves as the ranking member of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.