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Bipartisanship reigns as House panel bulks up annual defense policy bill with more money and weapons

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 4 days ago Jamie McIntyre
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NDAA CLEARS HOUSE COMMITTEE 57-1: The annual defense authorization legislation may be on track to clear the Congress well ahead of the Oct. 1 start of the next fiscal year, if the quick passage by the House and Senate Armed Services Committees is any indication. In the early hours of this morning, the House panel approved and sent to the floor the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act by an overwhelmingly bipartisan 57-1 vote. The Senate version was approved by a committee vote of 23-3 last week.

“There is much to be proud of in this bill, and I am grateful to my colleagues across the Committee for their expertise, advocacy, and support,” said committee Chairman Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) in a statement. “This Committee has once again delivered a result that, for whatever our disagreements may be, ultimately does right by service members, civilians, and their families – the heart of our country’s defense.”

The flurry of statements from committee members over the course of the day as the bill was being marked up often cited the bipartisan comity that marked the debate, and subcommittee chairs and ranking members routinely expressed thanks to each other.

$37 BILLION VS $45 BILLION: Chairman Smith made a perfunctory effort to keep the Pentagon’s topline in line with President Joe Biden’s request, arguing the Pentagon “does not need more than it asked for,” but he was quickly outvoted, including by members of his own party. “I have always believed that the department needs more discipline, not more money,” Smith said.

“I proudly co-sponsored a bipartisan effort to add an additional $37 billion in military funding, above President Biden’s insufficient $773 billion topline budget request,” said Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA), vice ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee. “This additional $37 billion in funding ensures real defense growth necessary to pace with an expanding China military.”

The Senate version of the NDAA included a $45 billion plus-up. The differences between the two bills will have to be resolved in conference committee, depending on how they are amended on the floor and funding levels set in separate appropriations bills.

HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE VOTES TO BOOST BIDEN DEFENSE PROPOSAL BY $37B

WHAT ELSE IS IN THE HOUSE VERSION: The bill includes a 4.6% pay raise for service members and a 2.4% inflationary pay bonus for enlisted personnel, and it fully funds two programs that are key to modernizing the nuclear triad: the B-21 bomber and the Columbia ballistic missile submarine.

“As the Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, I am especially proud to have included my legislative language, setting a minimum of 31 amphibious ships for the United States Marine Corps,” said Wittman in a statement. “Doing so supports the Marine Corps Commandant David Berger’s Force Design 2030 to equip the USMC to deter and defeat 21st Century aggressors.”

“As proposed by the Biden administration, building 8 ships and retiring 24 ships does not pace with China’s expansionist policies and places our national security at risk. This markup reverses a dangerous divest to invest strategy and expands the overall fleet by authorizing 13 ships and allowing 12 vessels to retire,” he said.

The bill also restored funding for the development of a new sea-launched nuclear-armed cruise missile, known as “SLCM-N,” which the Navy proposed canceling. “Today’s nuclear threat environment is more dynamic than at any point since the end of the Cold War,” said Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), who was a co-sponsor of the amendment. “Restoring the SLCM-N capability ensures our continued ability to deter nuclear threats.”

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HAPPENING TODAY: President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, along with their spouses, will welcome wounded warriors, their caregivers, and families to the White House at 9 a.m. as part of the annual Soldier Ride.

The event to recognize “the service, sacrifice, and recovery journey for wounded, ill, and injured service members and veterans,” according to the White House.

LATER TODAY: The House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol holds its fifth hearing focusing on the pressure President Donald Trump put on the Justice Department to lend credence to his claims of election fraud.

The 3 p.m. hearing will feature testimony from former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen; former acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue; and former Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel Steven Engel.

Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) said yesterday that the committee has been flooded with new information, including new video from a documentary of Trump’s last months in office, and that as a result, the hearings will be extended into July.

The Democrat-controlled panel also wants to interview Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, about her emails and texts with members of Trump’s team. Thomas has said she is eager to “clear up misconceptions” about the communications.

DEATH THREATS AGAINST KINZINGER ESCALATE: Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), one of two Republicans on the Jan. 6 committee, continues to get death threats aimed at him and his family.

“The threats are constant. They have increased,” Kinzinger told CNN yesterday. “I even heard a voicemail just this morning that we got last night threatening execution. That kind of seems to be the normal thing nowadays — just threaten execution.”

Kinzinger described a letter he received over the weekend. “This was sent directly to my home, directly to my wife. And it went on to threaten execution, not just to me, but of her and my 5-month-old child.”

“And I think it was important to put out to show the depravity of what's existing out there, the fact that there are people that literally would come up with this idea of killing a 5-month-old because you disagree with me being on the Jan. 6 Committee,” Kinzinger said. “We have had to up our security posture. And we're aware. But we're going to move on. It's not going to hinder us, and it's not going to intimidate us.”

SENATE INTEL COMMITTEE PASSES IAA: The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence passed the 2023 Intelligence Authorization Act on a unanimous 16-0 vote. “The bill authorizes funding, provides legal authorities, and enhances congressional oversight for the U.S. Intelligence Community,” said a statement from the committee.

“This year’s Intelligence Authorization Act directs action and resources in the Intelligence Community where they are needed most — to counter the ever-increasing threats from China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea as well as rogue states in our hemisphere including Cuba and Venezuela,” said Committee Vice Chairman Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).

“Additionally, this bill protects America’s national security, technology, and innovation from multiple foreign adversaries, while increasing our foreign intelligence collection and analysis, as well as enhancing personnel talent and expertise.”

SO LONG, JIM: The House Armed Services Committee markup was bittersweet for Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN), chairman of the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, who is widely respected for his depth of knowledge and willingness to work across the aisle.

“This is my last HASC markup due to gerrymandering in my home state,” Cooper said during the proceedings yesterday. “I want to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for making this committee the last bastion of bipartisanship in Washington.”

Cooper said the Armed Services Committee “is proof that Congress can work together to put national security at the forefront, and above politics.”

Ranking member Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) called Cooper a “friend and colleague,” and said his expertise would be a loss to the committee.

“You always bring a no-nonsense and intellectually honest approach to your work, which has been appreciated and will be missed,” Lamborn said. “I have no doubt that even from the comfort of retirement you will keep us honest and continue diligently monitoring the progress made by our newest service and one of your most significant contributions to our military — the Space Force.”

Long before President Donald Trump began trumpeting the need for a Space Force, Cooper and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) were working to create a Space Corps, a new independent service under the Air Force, just as the Marine Corps is under the Department of the Navy.

Their Space Corps won a nearly unanimous 60-1 by the House Armed Services Committee but was opposed by the Pentagon, that is until Trump took up the cause and changed the name from Space Corps to Space Force.

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The Rundown

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Defense News: No Consensus Yet On Military Spending For Next Year, Except For More Of It

Military Times: Bids To Weaken Military COVID Vaccine Mandate Stall In Congress

Air Force Magazine: House Panel Approves Space National Guard, More EC-37Bs, and a Big Topline Boost to 2023 NDAA

New York Times: Gaining In The East, Russia Threatens To Seize 2 Major Cities

AP: Ukraine expects EU-wide support for candidacy to join bloc

AP: Germany faces gas supply ‘crisis,’ declares alarm level

AP: Interview: Estonian PM says don’t play down Russia

CNN: Microsoft Says Russia Has Stepped Up Cyber Espionage Against The U.S. And Ukraine Allies

New York Times: What Turkey Wants To Agree To Let Finland And Sweden Into NATO

Reuters: Finland Is Ready To Fight Russia If Attacked - Defence Chief

Reuters: Lithuania: We're Ready If Russia Cuts Us Out Of Common Power Grid Over Kaliningrad Disruptions

Air Force Magazine: Space Force Needs ‘Bodies’ at Pacific Commands to Meet Rising Threats

Air Force Magazine: This is the Best Time to Take Risks, Brown Says

Washington Post: Global Image Improves For U.S. And NATO But Slides For Russia, Poll Finds

19fortyfive.com: Russia May Win the War in Ukraine

19fortyfive.com: Russia Finally Has Its Artillery War in Ukraine. But Can It Win?

19fortyfive.com: The Suwałki Gap: Where a NATO vs. Russia War Could Start?

19fortyfive.com: China Can't Touch the U.S. Navy's Ford-Class Aircraft Carrier

Calendar

THURSDAY | JUNE 23

9:30 a.m. 300 New Jersey Avenue N.W. — Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies 2022 National Security Symposium, with Former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bill Hughes, senior counsel and director of global regulatory matters of ConsenSys Software; and Retired Navy Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, senior director of the Center on Cyber and Technology Innovation https://fedsoc.org/conferences/2022-national-security-symposium

9:30 a.m. — Center for Strategic and International Studies virtual book discussion on "The Age of the Strongman," with author Gideon Rachman, chief foreign affairs columnist at the Financial Times https://www.csis.org/events/book-event-age-strongman

12 p.m. — Center for a New American Security virtual discussion: “Military Food Insecurity and Financial Stability,” with retired Navy Vice Adm. William French, president and CEO at Armed Services YMCA; Jessica Strong, co-director of applied research at Blue Star Families: and Katherine Kuzminski, senior fellow and director of the CNAS Military, Veterans and Society Program https://www.cnas.org/events/virtual-event-military-food-insecurity

3:30 p.m. — Atlantic Council virtual discussion: “The food insecurity crisis," focusing on linkages to the war in Ukraine. https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/event/ffp-the-food-insecurity-crisis/

3:30 p.m. 2121 K Street N.W. — International Institute for Strategic Studies discussion: “America's Defense Trade,” with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Regional Security Mira Resnick; and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Defense Trade Mike Miller https://www.iiss.org/events/2022/05/defense-trade-roundtable

FRIDAY | JUNE 24

10 a.m. — Hudson Institute virtual discussion: “War, Ukraine, and a Global Alliance for Freedom,” with former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, fellow at Hudson; and Walter Russell Mead, fellow in strategy and statesmanship at Hudson https://www.hudson.org/events/2122-virtual-event

10 a.m. — Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies virtual discussion: “Delivering on Our Commitments in Space Acquisition,” with Assistant Air Force Secretary for space acquisition and integration Frank Calvelli https://mitchellaerospacepower.org/event

10:15 a.m. — Foundation for Defense of Democracies livestream event: “Investing to Deter in the Pacific” with U.S. Indo-Pacific Commander Adm. John Aquilino to discuss the current threat from China and military capabilities in the INDOPACOM area of operation. https://www.fdd.org/events/2022/06/24/investing-to-deter-in-the-pacific

11 a.m. — Center for Strategic and International Studies virtual discussion on a new report, "Boost-Phase Missile Defense: Interrogating the Assumptions,” with co-author Ian Williams, deputy director of the CSIS Missile Defense Project; co-author Masao Dahlgren, research associate at the CSIS Missile Defense Project; former Missile Defense Agency Director Air Force Lt. Gen. Trey Obering; Dean Wilkening, former senior staff scientist at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab; and Tom Karako, director of the CSIS Missile Defense Project https://www.csis.org/events/boost-phase-missile-defense-interrogating-assumptions

SATURDAY | JUNE 25

TBA — President Joe Biden departs for Germany to attend the G7 Leaders Summit at the Schloss Elmau Castle in the Bavarian Alps

MONDAY | JUNE 27

7 a.m. — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg briefs reporters ahead of the Madrid Leaders Summit https://www.nato.int

TUESDAY | JUNE 28

9:30 a.m. — Summit of NATO Heads of State and Government in Madrid, Spain, with an opening speech from Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg https://www.nato.int

4 p.m. 1616 Rhode Island Ave N.W. — Center for Strategic and International Studies hybrid event: “National Security and Artificial Intelligence: Global Trends and Challenges,” with Paul “PJ” Maykish, senior director of research and analysis for future technology platforms at the Special Competitive Studies Project; David Spirk, former DOD chief data officer; Neil Serebryany, CEO of CalypsoAI; Margaret Palmieri, deputy chief digital and AI officer, Department of Defense; and Jake Harrington, intelligence fellow, International Security Program, CSIS https://www.csis.org/events/national-security-and-artificial-intelligence

WEDNESDAY | JUNE 29

2 a.m. — Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg speaks to reporters as he arrives at the Summit of NATO Heads of State and Government in Madrid, Spain, followed by an opening ceremony at 4 a.m., and an end of day briefing by Stoltenberg at 7:45 a.m. (All times eastern). https://www.nato.int

10 a.m. — House Appropriations Committee markup of the FY2023 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations bill http://appropriations.house.gov

THURSDAY | JUNE 30 

6:15 a.m. — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg press conference at the conclusion of the Summit of NATO Heads of State and Government in Madrid, Spain. https://www.nato.int

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“I personally think the likelihood of a full-scale invasion is very low. The Chinese have never undertaken an amphibious operation. It would look something like D-Day, and it would have to be huge, and it would require a lot of softening up.”

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, interviewed on the “One Decision” podcast.

 

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Tags: NDAA, Daily on Defense, National Security, Congress

Original Author: Jamie McIntyre

Original Location: Bipartisanship reigns as House panel bulks up annual defense policy bill with more money and weapons

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