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Wittman Backs National Defense Authorization Act

Virginia Wins Big Following Republican-led Victory to Increase Defense Budget Topline

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01), Vice Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee and Ranking Member of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee backed House Armed Services Committee advancement of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22). The FY 22 NDAA authorizes funding for the United States Department of Defense for the next fiscal year, and serves as the primary vehicle through which defense legislation is passed. The NDAA is historically one of Congress’ most bipartisan bills as it has been passed and signed into law every year for the past six decades. Following his vote to pass the FY22 NDAA out of Committee, Congressman Wittman stated:

“The choices we made today will echo in our nation’s future. We could have, as some would favor, accepted President Biden’s budget request, cutting defense spending to the lowest level - as a percentage of our economy - in 80 years. Down this apathetic path of anemic national security funding lies conflicts for which the United States would be ill-prepared, and suffer terrible casualties with no certainty of victory. Or, down the other path, we could make the strategic investments necessary to secure peace through deterrence and retain the United States’ global primacy.

“Today, my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, and I chose the latter. Through a Republican-led effort, we chose to authorize an additional $23.9 billion for the Department of Defense. We chose to provide the funding necessary to meet the requirements outlined in our National Defense Strategy. 

“As the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, I especially praise the Committee’s decision to fund an additional 6 ships, bringing us to a total of 13, and to retain 3 cruisers. In doing so, the Committee has decided to ensure the United States will continue to overmatch China for the near future. As a result, these additional warships will help contest China’s expansionist ambitions and deter conflict in the Indo-Pacific. 

“While defense is often and rightfully viewed as a national priority, here in Virginia, this additional funding fuels economic growth and the creation of jobs. This growth will further translate to funding for state priorities such as roads, schools, and law enforcement. With many of these ships built, maintained and repaired in Virginia, the Commonwealth’s economy especially stands to benefit from the passage of the FY22 NDAA. 

“The Committee passage of the FY22 NDAA is a tremendous victory for the United States Military, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the United States of America. I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for voting in favor of keeping our military strong enough to secure peace, and to secure the United States’ status in global affairs.”

Passage of this year’s NDAA will include passage of 7 bills previously introduced by Congressman Wittman. These bills are:

H.R.5104, The Just In Case Act: Establishes Special Emergency Reimbursement Authority for the Dept of Defense, similar to that provided by Sec. 3610 of the CARES Act, to allow contractors be reimbursed if they are unable to work on-site due to a pandemic.

H.R.4861, The COBIA Act: Ensures schools educating service-connected children receive the full sum of federal impact aid to which they are currently entitled. A big win for school districts near military installations. 

H.R.4987, The Global Force Management Oversight Act: Requires an annual report on the Global Force Management Allocation Plan (GFMAP) and briefing on major changes to the GFMAP throughout the year. This will provide Congress the ability to make sure our tax-payer dollars are reflecting the prioritizations of the National Defense Strategy.

H.R.4935, SWOLE Act (Amended): Improves the retention of Surface Warfare Officers (SWO) by investigating root causes to female retention shortfalls, while increasing the marketability of post-served SWOs by credentialing them as professional mariners: a win-win for the Navy and the Merchant Marines alike.

H.R. 5147, Prohibiting the Secretary of Defense from procuring personal protective equipment from certain non-allied foreign nations, and for other purposes.

H.R.5108, The 1st Lt. Hugh Conor McDowell Safety in Armed Forces Equipment Act of 2021: Explores the incorporation of blackboxes in tactical vehicles, allowing data collection on prospective safety improvements for our servicemembers.

H.R.2609, The Naval Readiness Act: Provides oversight over U.S. Navy vessels by making permanent the requirement for an annual report on the material condition of Navy ships, expanding this report to make it more meaningful for both the taxpayer and Congress alike.

The FY22 NDAA contains many additional Seapower provisions and Virginia priorities, including:
  • Authorizes funding for two critical military construction projects in Dahlgren: a Cyber Threat & Weapon Systems Complex and a High Powered Electric Weapons Laboratory.
  • Sets the stage to expand procurement to three Virginia-class submarines per year--which are built in Virginia.
    • 3 Virginia-class submarines per year will put America on track to meet our shipbuilding goals.
    • With this certainty in workload, Huntington Ingalls Industry in Norfolk, VA will expand to provide substantial skilled employment opportunities for Virginians.
  • Secures funds to continue aircraft carrier construction, also built in Norfolk.
  • Secures three Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, ensuring thousands of American jobs and offsetting significant lost VLS capacity from cruiser retirements.
  • Saves three cruisers from decommissioning.
  • Procures one Constellation-class frigate, one ocean surveillance ship, one fleet tugboat.
  • Authorizes funding for an additional LHA, consistent with needs highlighted by testimony from top military strategists during this year's posture hearings.
  • Procures two EPFs to increase rapid response mission capabilities in littoral areas.
  • Adds an additional John Lewis-class Oiler, an essential component for naval logistics and the Military Sealift Command.
  •  Procures 13 ships in this NDAA and authorizes one of the highest levels of shipbuilding funding in over 30 years