WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) today announced that the Senate Armed Services Committee’s markup of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2023 includes a number of important priorities that he advocated for to strengthen national security and support Maine communities, including legislation that authorizes a multi-year contract for up to fifteen DDG-51s that Bath Iron Works can compete to build. This would be one of the largest-ever contract for the destroyers, and will help Bath Iron Works’ make long-term investments to grow their workforce and increase their production capacity. The bipartisan legislation also includes important provisions to study and prevent suicide in the Armed Forces, key investments in hypersonic weapons advocated for by Senator King as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, and a 4.6% pay raise for servicemembers.
“This year’s National Defense Authorization Act – named after my friend and colleague Senator Jim Inhofe – is a timely, bipartisan bill that will address the pressing national security challenges facing our country and strengthen Maine’s role in contributing to our national defense,” said Senator King. “The bill authorizes one of the largest-ever multi-year procurement of DDG-51 destroyers, which Bath Iron Works can compete to build, bringing important stability to the Maine shipyard’s planning, and allowing them to scale up their production in the years to come. These ships – known as the workhorse of the Navy – are absolutely critical to our national security, and are an important economic driver for Maine communities.
“As with every NDAA, the legislation includes key provisions to ensure our nation can counter growing and rapidly changing threats, including new authorizations to address Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and support the brave Ukrainians fighting for their sovereignty. This bill improves our defensive and offensive hypersonic capabilities, bolsters key cyberdefenses, and will help modernize how we assess the capabilities of our enemies and allies alike. The Committee has produced an important, strong, and bipartisan bill, and I look forward to helping it move through the Congress,” continued Senator King. “Most importantly, the legislation also makes significant investments in the essential core of our Armed Forces – our brave men and women in uniform. Along with a 4.6% pay raise to help servicemembers keep up with rising costs of living, the NDAA will study the suicide epidemic in our military so the Department is better equipped to address this urgent crisis.”
The James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 will:
- FUND SHIPBUILDING PRIORITIES. Along with two DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers for FY2023, the legislation authorizes a multi-year contract for the Navy to procure up to fifteen DDG-51s, which Bath Iron Works (BIW) can compete to build – one of the largest forward commitments of its kind ever. This will allow Bath Iron Works to scale up from producing one ship a year, to one and a half. The bill will require the incorporation of a workforce development incentive in Navy shipbuilding contracts, and the bill authorizes additional funds for DDG supplier development. The bill contains the King-lead, forward-looking provision that prescribes that the Navy utilize best practices and a collaborative approach for the DDG(x) program, positively impacting BIW and their future work on the next large surface combatant.
- INVEST IN MAINE INSTALLATIONS. The bill authorizes full funding for Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNSY) upgrades as part of the Navy’s Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program's (SIOP).
- INCREASE MILITARY PAY. The legislation authorizes a 4.6 percent pay raise for military servicemembers and the DoD civilian workforce.
- ASSESS THE “WILL TO FIGHT.” After intelligence estimates seriously misjudged expected outcomes in Afghanistan and Ukraine, Senator King has urged the national security community to improve how they assess “will to fight” – one of the most important pieces of information about the strength of our allies and adversaries. The FY23 NDAA directs the DoD to report on its capacity to actively assess adversaries' capacity to conduct military and logistics operations.
- MODERNIZE CRITICAL NUCLEAR DETERRENTS. As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, Senator King is a leader in working to modernize the nation’s nuclear triad and address the threats posed by new hypersonic weapons. The FY23 NDAA includes recommended approaches the Defense Department should take towards improving offensive and defensive hypersonic capabilities, along with new funding to counter these threats.
- STREGTHEN CYBERSECURITY PROTECTIONS. The bill strengthens and supports the cybersecurity posture of the DoD, the defense industrial base, and America’s critical infrastructure. Among the cyber policies advanced by this legislation are a King-backed provisions to increase support for U.S. Cyber Command’s (CYBERCOM) Hunt Forward Operations and “red team” efforts, and for CYBERCOM to release biennial, unclassified reports through the 2032 election cycle on their efforts to ensure election security and counter election threats. As co-chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, Senator King is a leading Congressional voice on cybersecurity.
- CONFRONT SERVICEMEMBER SUICIDE. As the epidemic of servicemember and veteran suicide continues, the bill requires a review and report on the rates of suicides in the Armed Forces by military occupational specialty during the time period beginning after September 11, 2001, and continuing to the present day, broken down by military occupational specialty, service, and grade. This legislative provision is based on input from a Maine Constituent.
- COUNTER RUSSIAN AGRESSION AND SUPPORT UKRAINE. With Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine in its fifth month, the legislation extends and modifies the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) and authorizes $800 million in fiscal year 2023 to provide security assistance to Ukraine via this authority. The bill included King-backed directive for a Government Accountability Office audit of the allocation and this security assistance.
- BOLSTER AMERICAN ALLIANCES AND STRENGTHEN DIPLOMACY. On the heels of Russia’s aggression and a strong unified response from NATO partners, the legislation includes steps to strengthen existing U.S. alliances and partnerships, build mutually beneficial new partnerships, and leverage opportunities in international cooperation to ensure U.S. success in competition against other great powers. The bill requires an assessment of the required force posture, engagements, and resourcing needed to implement the National Defense Strategy in Europe and uphold U.S. commitments to NATO. It also authorizes the full fiscal year 2023 budget request for the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI).
- SUPPLY MILITARY PERSONNEL WITH HIGH-QUALITY, MAINE-MADE EQUIPMENT. The NDAA authorized additional funds for Joint Strike Fighters including additional funds for seven F-35A aircraft. Other defense programs including submarine and helicopter procurement received full funding. Maine businesses support these important programs that contribute to our National Defense.
- REWARD AND ACKNOWLEDGE MAINE’S LEADERSHIP IN COMPOSITES AND ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING. The NDAA authorized additional funds for the University of Maine including several million dollars in additional funding for high-performance computing-enabled large-scale advanced manufacturing. The SASC Bill requires the Secretary to produce a report on additive manufacturing and make recommendations regarding establishing centers of excellence such as the 101st Air Refueling Wing. The NDAA further recognizes the need to rapidly deployable, rigid-wall shelters, with integration protection capabilities like the ones developed by Compotech, based in Brewer, ME. These shelters are already employed by the joint force by USEUCOM, USAFRICOM, and USNORTHCOM.
- TAKE ON THE PFAS CRISIS. As Maine people struggle with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination that includes thousands of diverse chemicals, the NDAA includes significant provisions to address the crisis. It will provide resources to restore PFAS exposed facilities that the National Guard uses to train or operate in; restrict the DoD from purchasing turnout gear for DoD firefighters containing PFAS materials; amend public law to disclose DoD PFAS testing results for private water wells; and require the DoD to provide a report on the schedule for PFAS remediation efforts in drought-stricken areas.
- ADDRESS THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC BY FIGHTING DRUG TRAFFICKERS. Senator King has consistently urged the Pentagon to step up in the war on drugs, by taking a more active role in stopping drugs from entering the country. The bill increases funding for the military’s counter narcotics missions. The bill also includes a GAO audit of the Department of Defense’s Counterdrug efforts that includes the organization, cross-agency efficiencies, and audit of the use of funds to improve the Department’s ability to stop drug shipments before they reach America’s shores.
- PROMOTE SMALL BUSINESS INTEGRATION. Across the country, Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC) help small business get and navigate Department of Defense contracts. In addition to securing additional funds, the bill included legislation based on valuable input from Mr. Ken Bloch of Eastern Maine Development Corporation (EMDC) and the Director of Maine PTAC. This resulted in legislative changes that would enable these centers to better serve small businesses by increasing the state funding cap and align the program under the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
- INCREASE DOD TOPLINE TO MEET THE MOST PRESSING NEEDS. In response to the Department of Defense’s rising needs and heightened global security threats, Senator King supported a $45 billion increase to its budget, with half of the funds addressing inflation, and the reminder allocated to the acceleration of implementing the National Defense Strategy. Additional funds were also provided to meet top unfunded requests from military commanders and service chiefs.