Rob Wittman Statement on NDAA


Today, the House voted to send the conference report of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19 NDAA) to the President’s desk. Now, all that is left is for the Senate to do the same. As the Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, I am proud of this year’s NDAA as I believe it provides the authorities and resources for our men and women of the Armed Forces to do the job we’ve asked them to do.

In my subcommittee’s jurisdiction, we authorized an additional three battle force ships including the next Ford-class aircraft carrier. A dual buy of the next Ford-class aircraft carrier would be beneficial to both the taxpayers and to our maritime industrial base as it shows that Congress is committed to the thousands of workers who build and maintain aircraft carriers every day.

This NDAA takes important steps towards restoring our military readiness and giving our Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force  the tools and resources they need to deter our adversaries, support our allies, and respond to threats around the globe. So I wanted to share some of the highlights with you.

Supports the necessary increase in topline funding to support our troops and readiness recovery consistent with the Trump Administration’s commitment to rebuilding the military.

  • Pay raise of 2.6% for our troops – Largest in 9 years.
  • Increases the size of Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Naval and Air Reserve, as well as Air Guard.
  • Makes major reforms in Pentagon bureaucracy and streamlines buying practices.
  • Increases funding to rebuild our military and support readiness recovery:
  • Increases funding for training in each of the Services;
    • $17.7 billion to begin to rehabilitate and replace worn out Army equipment;
    • $40.8 billion to begin to overcome the crisis in military aviation by getting more aircraft in the air;
    • $36.3 billion to restore America’s strength at sea;
    • $23.5 billion to sustain, repair and rebuild crumbling military buildings and other infrastructure.
  • Makes key investments in other critical military capabilities to confront aggression and address threats around the world, including threats from Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran.
  • Authorizes funding for co-development and co-production of missile defense and weapon systems with our key ally Israel.
  • Authorizes $3.2 billion, an increase of $237 million, to support critical industrial base nodes that support the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine.
  • Authorizes an additional $750 million to more efficiently procure destroyers and amphibious ships.
  • Authorizes a total of six Polar Icebreakers to assure United States commercial access to expanding northern shipping lanes.
  • Mandates retention of a United States Navy Hospital ship capability.
  • Authorizes $250 million to recapitalize the cable laying navy vessel, USNS Zeus.
  • Authorizes the procurement of additional navy vessels to begin the recapitalization of the Navy’s 43-year old auxiliary fleet which would help to transport Army and Marine Corps forces in times of conflict.
  • Specifically authorizes the procurement of CVN-81, the fourth Ford-class aircraft carrier.
  • Directs the Navy to enter into an aggressive schedule to recapitalize the surge sealift fleet.

While I am proud that this would be the first time in more than four decades that an NDAA will be enacted before the start of the fiscal year, we still have work to do to secure funding for our military. The House has passed our accompanying appropriations bill, but we need our colleagues in the Senate to do the same during their time in DC in August.

We need to get back to basics, perform our constitutional duty, and let our service members know that we have their backs while they’re serving on the front lines. Now that we’ve passed the NDAA, let’s get defense appropriations done and avoid the harm another Continuing Resolution could cause to our military.

Please do not hesitate to contact me anytime an issue that concerns you comes before the House. It is an honor to serve you and the First District in the People’s House.