WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), applauded the Senate’s passage of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included a number of provisions the Senator proposed that are important to national security and Maine jobs. The legislation was approved by a vote of 86 to 8.
“This year’s National Defense Authorization Act is a bipartisan accomplishment that reinforces Maine’s important role in defending our nation, takes important steps to address the challenges of the future, and takes care of the servicemembers who sacrifice so much to protect us,” said Senator King. “This is a good bill that will make America safer – and as it continues through Congress, I will keep pushing for Maine priorities and important progress to support our national security interests.”
Senator King successfully advocated for the inclusion of many provisions that will improve national security and support Maine jobs, including:
- FUNDING SHIPBUILDING PRIORITIES. The legislation authorizes $5.1 billion for the procurement of 3 DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers in fiscal year 2020, which Bath Iron Works (BIW) can compete to build. It also authorizes $484 million to fund future year DDG-51 procurements. In addition, the legislation authorizes funds for the completion of the DDG-1000 Zumwalt-class destroyers, all of which are being built at BIW.
- PRIORITIZING CYBERSECURITY STRATEGY. The legislation emphasizes the importance of building the capabilities of the United States to prevent and respond to cyberattacks by bad actors. Senator King has long been an active voice urging additional focus on cyber threats, and as co-chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, he is leading a bipartisan group to review the threats facing America in cyberspace and provide strategic guidance and policy recommendations on how to defend ourselves against cyber threats.
- INCREASING RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT FUNDING. Senator King successfully pushed for the inclusion of additional funds for Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation programs, including funding for research on advanced manufacturing, electric propulsion, advanced planning hulls, and hybrid composite structures. Maine research institutions and companies will be eligible to compete for some of these projects.
- SUPPORTING F-35 PRODUCTION WHILE SEEKING TO REIGN IN COST OVERRUNS. The 2020 NDAA authorizes $10 billion to procure 94 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, enabling the forces to modernize. Additionally, Senator King pushed to include language encouraging the Department of Defense (DOD) to establish a specific plan to find cost savings for F-35 sustainment.
- PROCURING MILITARY TECHNOLOGY THAT SUPPORTS MAINE JOBS. The legislation authorizes funding to procure six CH-53K helicopters, which include components produced at Hunting Dearborn in Fryeberg. It also authorizes funding for the rapid prototyping of the Next Generation Squad Weapon, which may help support General Dynamics’ manufacturing facility in Saco.
In addition, Senator King successfully pushed for provisions to support DOD efforts to protect the environment and ensure energy security, including:
- ADVANCING CLEAN TECHNOLOGY INNOVATIONS: Senator King successfully pushed for the legislation to authorize $10 million in funding for on-base long duration energy storage projects that will last for at least 100 hours. He also secured a provision authorizing $10 million to be spent on the development, demonstration and validation of secure microgrids for both installations and forward operating bases.
- IMPROVING ENERGY RESILIENCY: The 2020 NDAA authorizes funds to support military programs aimed at improving defense-wide energy resiliency work, including $150 million for the Energy Resilience and Conservation Investment Program and an additional $25 million for the Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Program. These programs not only increase resiliency, but also advance groundbreaking innovation to help keep our military personnel safe and reduce costs.
- PROHIBITING DOD FROM ACQURING FIREFIGHTING PRODUCTS CONTAINING PFAS. Per and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are dangerous chemicals linked to a number of adverse health and environmental effects that have long been used in products like firefighting foam. The NDAA prohibits DOD from procuring firefighting foam that contains PFAS after October 1, 2022. In addition, Senator King successfully advocated for an amendment that provides $15 million to develop new, safer tools to fight fires.
Finally, the legislation includes provisions backed by Senator King to support military personnel, including:
- INCREASING MILITARY PAY. The legislation authorizes a 3.1 percent pay raise for members of the Armed Forces.
- ADDRESSING THE SIGNIFICANT PROBLEMS IN PRIVATIZED MILITARY HOUSING. The legislation authorizes an additional $301.8 million to oversee private military housing and creates new mechanisms of accountability for private military housing companies. Additionally, the legislation includes a King amendment that provides $1 million for the creation of a pilot program to explore alternative approaches that can improve the experience for families living in military housing. In a March SASC hearing, Senator King pressed top military officials to address the ongoing challenges facing military families who in privatized housing.