Byrne: Defense Bill Ensures Safety and Security of the American People
The House of Representatives today passed the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorizes funding and sets policy for the entire United States military. The bill passed by a vote of 344 to 81.
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, proudly supported the national security legislation and worked hard to secure important victories for Southwest Alabama and our nation’s shipbuilding industry.
Byrne said: “This bill is about ensuring the safety and security of the American people. The bipartisan defense authorization bill reforms, repairs, and rebuilds the United States military. The bill addresses the realities of the dangerous threat environment facing our nation and ensures our troops and their families have the necessary resources and benefits.
“I want to thank Chairman Mac Thornberry for his hard work and leadership on this legislation, and I look forward to working with our Senate colleagues in the near future to pass a final bill.”
The bill authorizes funding for three additional Littoral Combat Ships (LCS), which are built by Austal USA in Mobile. Three ships will allow the Austal shipyard to operate at full speed and keep the cost of the ships down.
Byrne said: “As the Littoral Combat Ships spend more time deployed across the globe, more and more Members of Congress are realizing the important role the ships plan in the Navy’s overall mission. I will always continue to be a strong advocate for the men and women at the Austal shipyard as we work to build toward a 355 ship Navy.
“Unfortunately, it seems the bill from the Senate Armed Services Committee does not adequately support the LCS program. Given the importance of this program to Alabama and the Navy, I am hopeful the issue is rectified as the bill moves to the Senate floor.”
Included in the many important reforms, this year’s NDAA:
- Increases total military spending by 10% to rebuild from our current readiness crisis;
- Funds a 2.4% pay raise for our troops;
- Invests in missile defense programs in response to threats posed by countries like North Korea;
- Reforms the military’s acquisition process to make it more efficient;
- Improves oversight of cyber operations;
- Creates a new U.S. Space Corps to oversee the evolving space domain;
- Increases the size of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Army Guard and Reserve, Naval and Air Reserve, and Air Guard;
- Supports improvements to military facilities with a focus on restoration and modernization; and
- Authorizes construction of 13 new Navy ships to grow toward a 355 ship fleet.
The bill includes a number of provisions championed by Congressman Byrne:
- Secures funding for three additional Littoral Combat Ships;
- Encourages the Navy to develop a strategy as they transition from the LCS to the frigate program;
- Supports gun owners by compelling the Army to releases M1911A1 pistols to the Civilian Marksmanship Program; and
- Provides important clarity for the recreational marine industry as it relates to workers’ compensation coverage.