Shelby applauds Senate passage of critical national defense act with provisions benefitting Alabama
The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by a vote of 86 – 8, prompting Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) to applaud his colleagues for acting in a bipartisan manner and passing the bill containing major wins for Alabama.
The NDAA authorizes a total of $750 billion for national defense priorities to support the 2.1 million service men and women in the American military and their families. The legislation also provides for a 3.1% pay raise for our troops and authorizes Active-Duty end strength at the administration-requested level.
“The Senate’s passage of the National Defense Authorization Act is an essential step in providing our military with the means and resources to protect our nation efficiently and effectively,” Shelby said in a statement.
Additionally, the NDAA aims to advance an international order that prioritizes the safety and security of our nation, increases efforts to rebuild readiness and recognizes the importance of protecting our nation’s assets and abilities in space.
The Senate-passed defense measure contains many provisions specifically impacting Alabama, highlighting the Yellowhammer State’s critical role in our national defense.
For example, the NDAA provides new opportunity for the shipbuilding industry along the Gulf Coast, with support for the conversion of Expeditionary Fast Transport ships into medical ships, which would take place at Austal Shipbuilding in Mobile. It also contains provisions supporting missiles and missile defense efforts in Huntsville and Troy, along with increased opportunity in cyber and advancements to hypersonic weapons.
Moreover, the NDAA authorizes three military construction projects throughout Alabama, including a new project in Anniston that would replace training barracks built in World War II for the National Guard.
Finally, the authorizing legislation contains a path for continued progress when it comes to space launch, prohibiting changes to the National Security Space Launch Program to ensure we end our reliance on the Russian RD-180 engine in an agile and effective manner.
Chairman of both the Senate Committee on Appropriations and its Defense Subcommittee, Shelby concluded, “We live in an increasingly dangerous world, and our national security relies heavily on our armed services receiving the tools and training needed to defend America both at home and abroad. I strongly support this bipartisan measure and will continue my work on the Appropriations Committee to ensure that our defense priorities are funded.”
Following final passage of the NDAA, Shelby’s Senate Appropriations Committee will author and advance legislation to fund the nation’s defense operations.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn