WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) announced that the Senate Armed Services Committee’s markup of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022 includes a number of important priorities that he advocated for to advance national security and support Maine communities, including the reapportionment of a second DDG-51 Flight III destroyer. By authorizing two DDG-51s – in contrast to the Navy’s budget request, which included one – the legislation fulfills the projected total under the current multiyear procurement contract between the Navy and the two large surface combatant shipyards, including Bath Iron Works. The legislation also includes important cyber provisions to protect America from rising hacks, key priorities advanced by Senator King as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, and a pay raise for servicemembers.
“This year’s National Defense Authorization Act is an incredibly strong bipartisan bill that will strengthen America’s national security and assure that Maine’s workforce will remain a key contributor,” said Senator King. “One of the most important provisions in the defense bill is the authorization of two DDG-51 Flight III destroyers, bringing the legislation in line with the multiyear procurement contract previously agreed to by the Navy and shipyards, including Bath Iron Works. As China continues to grow its Navy, these ships – known as the workhorse of the Navy – are absolutely essential to national security, and any deviation from the existing procurement contract will dangerously degrade our defense industrial base.
“Beyond fulfilling our commitment in the multiyear procurement for DDG-51s, this legislation supports the important work done at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, invests in critical cybersecurity initiatives, advances much-needed improvements to modernize our nuclear triad, and provides a well-deserved raise for America’s servicemembers,” added Senator King. “The Committee has produced an important, bipartisan bill, and I will work to advance these priorities as the legislation moves through Congress.”
- FUNDS SHIPBUILDING PRIORITIES. The legislation authorizes $3.7 billion for the procurement of 2 DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers in fiscal year 2022, which Bath Iron Works (BIW) can compete to build. It also authorizes $125 million to fund long lead material for a third FY23 DDG-51. In addition, the legislation provides support for a new multi-year procurement of destroyers beginning in fiscal year 2023 to support the shipbuilding industrial base and expansion of the Navy battle force to congressionally mandated levels.
- INCREASES MILITARY PAY. The legislation authorizes a 2.7 percent pay raise for military servicemembers and the DOD civilian workforce.
- PROVIDES 12 WEEKS OF PAID PARENTAL LEAVE. Military personnel will receive 12 weeks of parental leave for the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child.
- MODERNIZES AMERICA’S NUCLEAR TRIAD. As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, Senator King is a leader in working to modernize the nation’s nuclear triad, which is vital to the country’s national security posture. The FY22 NDAA includes support for the National Nuclear Security Administration, modernizes missile defense systems to confront evolving threats, and funds nonproliferation programs to stem the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons across the globe.
- ADVANCES CYBERSECURITY PRIORITIES. The bill strengthens and supports the cybersecurity posture of the DOD, the defense industrial base, and critical infrastructure. Among the cyber policies advanced by this legislation are a King-backed provision to improve DOD support for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in order to increase awareness of threats and vulnerabilities. As co-chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, Senator King is a leading Congressional voice on cybersecurity.
- STRENGTHENS AMERICA’S ARCTIC LEADERSHIP. With Maine positioned to leverage increased activity and opportunities in the Far North, Senator King serves as Co-Chair of the Senate Arctic Caucus. This year’s NDAA establishes the Arctic Security Initiative, based on legislation by Senator King to improve Department of Defense coordination to achieve U.S. objectives in the Arctic.
- SUPPLIES MILITARY PERSONNEL WITH HIGH-QUALITY, MAINE-MADE EQUIPMENT. The NDAA authorizes $5 billion for the F-35 program purchase, repairs and support which includes components produced by Maine companies. The legislation also authorizes $250 million in funding to purchase 2 CH-53K helicopters, which include components produced at Hunting Dearborn in Fryeburg.
- SUPPORTING RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT WORK. Senator King successfully pushed for an increase of more than $1 billion in funds available for science and technology programs that fund cutting-edge research and prototyping activities at universities, small businesses, defense labs, and industry, including in critical areas such as artificial intelligence, microelectronics, advanced materials, 5G, and biotechnology. Maine research institutions and companies will be to receive some of these funds.
- STEPS UP TO PROTECT AFGHAN PARTNERS. The legislation authorizes the DOD to transport Afghan SIV candidates and other threatened Afghan partners outside of Afghanistan for visa processing. Senator King has repeatedly emphasized the moral and strategic need to protect these partners, and has called for steps including transporting candidates to secondary locations while processing continues.
- BOLSTERS AMERICAN ALLIANCES AND STRENGTHENS DIPLOMACY. The legislation includes steps to strengthen existing U.S. alliances and partnerships, build mutually beneficial new partnerships, and leverages opportunities in international cooperation to ensure U.S. success in competition against other great powers. The bill also requires the Secretary of Defense to provide to Congress a report on the feasibility and advisability of establishing improved military-to-military communications with China for crisis situations – a topic Senator King has repeatedly raised in the Senate Armed Services Committee.
- FULLY FUNDS TOP PENTAGON PRIORITIES. In response to the Department of Defense’s rising needs, Senator King supported a $25 billion increase to its budget to meet top unfunded requests from military commanders and service chiefs.