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December 15, 2021

Senate Passes 2022 Defense Bill with King-Backed Provisions to Strengthen National Security and Support Maine Jobs

The 2022 National Defense Authorization Act is set to deliver 2.7% pay raise to military, $4.9 billion for 3 DDG-51 destroyers which Bath Iron Works will compete to build

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and co-chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission (CSC), today celebrated the Senate’s 89 to 10 passage of the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), bipartisan legislation to strengthen America’s national security, support our men and women in uniform, and boost Maine communities. Senator King secured numerous priorities in the bill, including a 2.7% pay raise for military servicemembers and DOD civilian workforce, 12 weeks of parental leave for military personnel, several new national cybersecurity policy provisions, and funding for three DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers that Bath Iron Works will compete to build. The legislation now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature.

“For more than 60 years, the Senate has put aside differences to pass a bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act to improve America’s national security, support our servicemembers, and strengthen Maine communities. Despite some early setbacks, I’m proud that we could continue the tradition this year to pass a bill that will make our nation safer and stronger,” said Senator King. “Today’s overwhelmingly bipartisan vote shows just how important the NDAA is to our country. The bill makes important investments in the military’s greatest asset – our people – by delivering a well-deserved pay raise for the servicemembers who put their lives on the line for our country. We have a responsibility to serve them as they serve us, and this bill lives up to that duty. The legislation also supports good-paying jobs in Maine communities, particularly through its funding for shipbuilding priorities. These funds will help Bath Iron Works plan its future and continue to build the highest-quality ships, sustaining local jobs and ensuring that our Navy has the tools they need to accomplish their missions across the globe. There are many more important provisions in this legislation – including steps to modernize our nuclear arsenal, support our interests in the Arctic, and improve America’s cybersecurity. This bill will make our country safer, strengthen our economy, and reward the men and women who serve in our military – I’m grateful that we could get this bill through the Senate and onto President Biden’s desk, so the legislation can make a real difference for the American people.”

Senator King previously spoke on the Senate Floor in support of the National Defense Authorization Act, laying out a number of important priorities that he advocated for in the package, including the $4.9 billion for the procurement of 3 DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, 2.7% pay raise for military servicemembers and DOD civilian workforce, the advancement of several cybersecurity priorities, and 12 weeks of parental leave for military personnel. A dedicated member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), Senator King chairs SASC’s Strategic Forces Subcommittee and serves on the Seapower and Airland Subcommittees.

Senator King successfully advocated for the inclusion of many provisions that will improve national security, support Maine jobs, and take care of servicemembers and veterans, including:

·       FUNDING SHIPBUILDING PRIORITIES. The legislation authorizes $4.9 billion for the procurement of 3 DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers in fiscal year 2022, which Bath Iron Works (BIW) can compete to build. In addition it authorizes $120 million for long lead material for the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer program, and expresses support for an acquisition strategy for the next generation destroyer that would feature greater collaboration between industry and government.  

·       INCREASING MILITARY PAY. The legislation authorizes a 2.7 percent pay raise for military servicemembers and the DOD civilian workforce.

·       PROVIDING 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.

·       MODERNIZING 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.

·       ADVANCING CYBERSECURITY PRIORITIES. As Co-Chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, Senator King has recommended several new policies that improve the United States’ cyberdefense posture. Today’s bill strengthens and supports the cybersecurity posture of the DOD, the defense industrial base, and critical infrastructure. Key CSC provisions in this year’s NDAA include establishing a National Cyber Exercise by CISA, expanding voluntary threat detection, improving the National Cyber Incident Response Plan, and expanding cyber defense collaboration with Information and Communications Technology enablers.

·       STRENGTHENING 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 authorizes the Arctic Security Initiative, based on legislation by Senator King to improve Department of Defense coordination to achieve U.S. objectives in the Arctic.

·       SUPPLYING MILITARY PERSONNEL WITH HIGH-QUALITY, MAINE-MADE EQUIPMENT. The NDAA authorizes procurement of 85 F-35 aircraft for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps 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.

·       BOLSTERING 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 FUNDING 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.

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