Skip to content

June 14, 2024

Annual Defense Bill Passes out of Committee with King-Backed Provisions to Strengthen National Security and Support Maine Economy

DDG for Bath Iron Works, traumatic brain injury protections, and 4.5% pay raise included in Armed Services Committee authorization bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Angus King (I-ME), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), hailed the bipartisan passage of the Fiscal Year 2025 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) out of committee after more than sixteen hours of deliberation. This legislation will strengthen America’s national security, support our men and women in uniform, and boost the economies of Maine communities through shipbuilding and the hundreds of businesses that serve the military’s technological and manufacturing needs.

Today’s passage represents the first step in bipartisan negotiations to pass a fiscal year budget for our armed forces and national defense interests. It includes a number of provisions that Senator King backed, including: support for veterans, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer for Bath Iron Works (BIW), an aggressive new military-wide approach to monitoring traumatic brain injuries (TBI), provisions to address the security threats posed by artificial intelligence, and stronger measures to prevent illegal drugs from entering the country.

“For over six decades, Congress has taken a bipartisan approach to ensure that America’s military and defense forces have the training, equipment, and resources to carry out their missions. I’m proud that we could continue the tradition this year to pass an annual defense bill out of Committee that will make our nation, and our state, safer and stronger,” said Senator King. “As our global community faces some of its greatest challenges, the bill makes important investments in our military’s greatest asset – its people. The legislation supports good-paying jobs in Maine communities, particularly through its funding for shipbuilding at Bath Iron Works and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. These funds will help the shipyards plan their futures, continue to build the highest-quality ships, and maintain the submarine fleet that our Navy needs to accomplish missions across the globe.

“There are many more important provisions in this legislation – including a long-overdue traumatic brain injury monitoring program, fighting the opioid epidemic, and deterring Chinese aggression,” continued Senator King. “All told, this year’s NDAA will make our country safer, strengthen our economy, and support the men and women who fight for our freedoms.”

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2025 includes King-backed provisions to:

  • The FY25 NDAA authorizes $1.43 billion for an additional DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyer that Bath Iron Works will build.
  • The legislation also includes a legislative fix to ensure employees of public shipyards have access to quality lodging for those providing long-term, essential work at our public shipyards.
  • This legislation also supports critical Maine National Guard facilities and authorizes funding for Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNSY) modernization efforts – including the Dry Dock extension that will allow PNSY to increase its capacity to maintain the Navy’s submarine fleet.
  • PREVENT TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURIES (TBI) AND BLAST HEALTH. Included in this legislation is the Blast Overpressure Safety Act that Senator King introduced with several colleagues to protect servicemembers from blast exposure and address TBI, which is considered the “signature wound” of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill also includes funding for the Special Operations Brain Health and Trauma Program.
  • FUND MAINE INNOVATION AND SMALL BUSINESSES. This legislation addresses modernizing Pratt & Whitney’s important contribution in North Berwick to building F-35 engines and further addresses the F-35 Propulsion and Thermal Management System, This legislation aids University of Maine-driven research and development in soil stabilization and infrastructure resiliency, textile developments, and digital manufacturing.  It addresses Maine’s leadership in the production of tungsten alloys and the importance of Defense Industrial Alliances such as the Maine Defense Industrial Alliance.  It further supports the highly technical and unique work of Maine’s composites industry including support for a re-entry vehicle pilot program and expeditionary shelters.   Senator King continues to support the Arctic including the Arctic Watch Tower initiative and Arctic research at U Maine.
  • PFAS AND THE ENVIRONMENT. The bill includes important provisions protecting the environment, most importantly increased funding for cleanup efforts.   It further codifies the existing DOD policy that compels the military services act to address any release or threatened release of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
      • This legislation includes a 4.5% pay increase for military servicemembers and a 2% pay increase for civilian personnel. Additionally, the bill authorizes increased funding to increase full-time Active, Guard, and Reserve members within the Air National Guard, and increases monthly basic pay for junior enlisted service members in the grades of E-1 through E-3.
      • Senator King also worked to secure the inclusion of the Welcome Home Veterans Act which will ensure servicemembers are better connected to their state veterans agencies as they begin to transition out of active duty. The Committee remained focused on improving the Transition Assistance Program through this legislation and additional measures to improve participation and training.
      • Additionally, the FY25 NDAA includes a pilot program marking Pregnancy as a Qualifying Life Event (QLE), thereby expanding TRICARE options for pregnant beneficiaries. The legislation also includes multiple amendments addressing suicide prevention.
  • DETER AGGRESSION FROM FOREIGN ADVERSARIES. The FY25 NDAA includes a requirement for the Secretary of Defense to submit yearly reports on the directed energy roadmap to deter aggression from our adversaries like Russia, Iran and China.
  • ENHANCE PUBLIC-PRIVATE CYBERSECURITY COOPERATION. The bill addresses how small businesses and universities obtain and maintain cybersecurity protections, with direct input from the University of Maine and Maine small businesses.
  • COMBAT ILLEGAL DRUG TRAFFICKING. The FY25 NDAA includes multiple King-led provisions pertaining to Counter-Transnational Organized Crime and improvements in coordination between the Combatant Commands to address the flow of fentanyl and illicit drugs.
  • MAINE NATIONAL GUARD AND SERVICEMEMBER READINESS. At Senator King’s request, this legislation includes proposed Maine National Guard design funding for the Southern Maine Readiness Center in Saco, ME. The FY25 NDAA also addressed issues pertaining to housing allowances, along with locality and incentive pay in remote areas and irregular housing markets. This aims to address subsequent impacts on retention and recruitment.
  • MODERNIZE CRITICAL NUCLEAR DETERRENCE. As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, Senator King is a Congressional leader working to modernize the nation’s nuclear triad and address the threats posed by new hypersonic weapons. The bill strengthens the nuclear triad and nuclear command and control including cyber protections and addressing concerns with Artificial Intelligence.  The bill also includes important oversight of the NNSA and nuclear modernization programs to help address cost and defense industrial base concerns.


Next Article » « Previous Article