House Defense Bill Boosts Military, Supports Shipbuilding
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, voted last night in favor of the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill passed out of the Armed Services Committee by a vote of 60-1.
The NDAA authorizes funding and sets policy for the entire U.S. military. The bill is expected to be considered by the full House in July.
In an important development for Southwest Alabama, this year’s NDAA funds three additional Littoral Combat Ships (LCS), which are built in part by Austal USA in Mobile. Austal USA is the largest private sector employer in Alabama’s First Congressional District.
Byrne said: “This year’s National Defense Authorization Act helps rebuild our nation’s military, boosts shipbuilding in an effort to grow our fleet, and ensures our military men and women have the resources necessary to defend our country.
“Once again, we were able to secure authorization for the construction of three more Littoral Combat Ships, which are built right here in Southwest Alabama. These ships continue to excel in the fleet, and that is a testament to the over 4,000 men and women who work at the Mobile shipyard.
“I expect our bipartisan bill will be up for a vote before the full House during the month of July, and I look forward to leading the bill across the finish line.”
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;
- 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.