The U.S. Senate late Wednesday morning voted 89-10 to pass the fiscal year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Constitutionally charged with providing for the common defense of the United States, Congress each year takes up debate of a defense appropriations package to set the military’s funding objectives for the following year.
The NDAA’s initial framework included an assortment of controversial far-left provisions which were successfully removed due in part by the efforts of Alabama’s GOP congressional delegation members, including U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Saks), the leading Republican on the House Armed Services Committee.
U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its subcommittee on defense, hailed the passage of the $770 billion package and urged his Democratic colleagues to restore the traditional bipartisan defense appropriations process.
“After months of delay by Senate Democrats, I am pleased we have finally passed a defense authorization bill,” Shelby stated. “But the promises in this bill are meaningless without enactment of a defense appropriations bill for FY22. It is time for Democrats to get serious and accept our offer to get the appropriations process back on track: return to the Shelby/Leahy framework – drop poison pills, restore legacy riders, and adopt equal increases for defense and non-defense spending.”
Alabama’s senior senator added, “That is the only path to get the Pentagon the resources it needs to protect the nation. Given the global threats that face us, there is no time to waste. We must show our adversaries that we remain the most powerful force in the world and that we are committed to the task at hand. I stand ready to work toward that goal.”
As previously reported by Yellowhammer News, the fiscal year 2022 NDAA includes significant wins for the state of Alabama. U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) played an instrumental role in ensuring Alabama’s role in contributing to U.S. national security was upheld in the appropriations process.
Tuberville outlined the NDAA’s funding provisions which will serve to bolster Alabama’s positioning as a key player in meeting priorities set forth by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).
“Huntsville’s Missile Defense Agency is a key player in securing our nation against threats from China,” advised Tuberville. “China is aggressively seeking to become the world’s technological and military leader, so we must invest in new research and development efforts. This year’s NDAA includes specific language to boost our hypersonic development and testing. It also furthers our current missile defense capabilities.”
He added, “Additionally, as Huntsville prepares to be the home of Space Command, it was important to fight for America’s interests in space. I did just that by pushing the committee to include advanced satellite development for space-based communications. We also authorized an increase in funding to expand tactically responsive space launch technology. Redstone Arsenal continues to be on the forefront of high energy laser weapons which are being fielded by our military. We must stay ahead in this field.”
The freshman senator made mention of his efforts to provide capital improvements for Montgomery’s Dannelly Field, which houses the Alabama Air National Guard’s 187th Fighter Wing. Funding was also secured for the improvement of barracks at the Fort Rucker U.S. Army post.
Tuberville continued, “As the 187th Fighter Wing transitions to F-35’s in the coming years, I worked to ensure funding was authorized for maintenance facilities and repairs so Alabama’s airmen remain combat ready… We also secured an authorization for funding to renovate and improve barracks at Ft. Rucker for soldiers to live in. This funding has been a top priority for the Army for years, and this year, we got it done.”
South Alabama also scored major funding victories as the region continues to serve an increased role in meeting the demands of the U.S. Navy.
“We know our navy and its ships are vital to combatting the growing threat of China in the Indo-Pacific,” the senator acknowledged. “That’s why I fought for the authorization for a second guided missile destroyer and two Expeditionary Fast Transport ships.”
Tuberville touched on his efforts to keep an open line of communication between his office and Alabama’s military installations to ensure the federal government’s financial support.
He concluded, “When I was chosen to represent our great state in the United States Senate, I came to Congress with a guiding principle: to listen to the people of Alabama and the needs of my state, and to bring their voice up to Washington, DC. I spent a great deal of time this year traveling to each military installation to hear firsthand about the needs of our defense industry. I listened to what our generals and admirals had to say, and set out to ensure our military has the resources they need to defend our country.”
The legislation now heads to the White House to be signed into law by President Joe Biden.
Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL
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