Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Washington D.C., United States (4E) – The U.S. Senate approved a massive $700 billion “National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)” for 2018 in a bipartisan effort to remedy a readiness crisis pummeling the U.S. military and wrought by the federal government’s persistent budget instability.
The defense policy bill that passed with an 89-8 vote is far larger than Washington’s $603 billion budget request and exceeds statutory caps on defense spending by $91 billion.
The Senate bill commits $640 billion for the Pentagon’s base budget, with $60 billion in budget-cap-exempt war funding. The House version authorizes $621.5 billion in base dollars and $75 billion in war funds.
Committee on Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) said the NDAA is at the same time the start of a military build-up and a remedy to a readiness crisis wrought by budget instability.
“The decision of the Committee on Armed Services to authorize these additional resources was unanimous and bipartisan, and it is a significant statement on the troubling state of our military today,” said McCain.
“My friends, for too long, our nation has asked our men and women in uniform to do too much with far too little. Much of the blame lies over the last administration, but we in Congress cannot escape responsibility.”
The Senate bill will fund 24 more Lockheed Martin F-35 joint strike fighters; 10 more Boeing F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets; five more Navy warships and end-strength increases of 6,000 U.S. Army soldiers and 1,000 U.S. Marines.
The Senate bill will also establish a new Department of Defense chief information warfare officer, who will be the principal cyber adviser to the defense secretary and the principal DoD space adviser.
The House passed its annual defense authorization bill in July.
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