Senate Passes Robust FY 2023 Defense Authorization with Key Sullivan Provisions

Legislation Continues Alaska Military Build-up, Blocks Far-Left “Woke” Agenda in Military

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), voted with 82 of his Senate colleagues today to pass the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which raises the Department of Defense’s (DOD) budget by $45 billion beyond President Joe Biden’s inadequate defense budget proposal that amounted to an inflation-adjusted cut. The legislation includes 33 provisions offered by Sen. Sullivan and authorizes $332 million in military construction and equipment for Alaska and the Arctic.

“In 2022, the world saw the first outbreak of war on the European continent in decades and escalating provocations in the Taiwan Strait. We are living in an increasingly volatile and dangerous time, given the aggressive aims of the dictators in Moscow and Beijing,” said Sen. Sullivan. “My colleagues and I have crafted a defense budget that rises to these serious national security challenges and accounts for the super-charged inflation unleashed by the Biden administration’s policies. This bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act significantly raises the top-line military budget for our troops and their families, addresses the threats posed by this new era of authoritarian aggression, and invests in the capabilities and equipment necessary for our forces to deter and, if necessary, defeat our global adversaries. 

“I want to thank my colleagues for supporting provisions I authored that will enable our military to continue to focus on its primary mission: lethality and winning our nation’s wars.” 

The Fiscal Year 2023 NDAA:

  • Authorizes $857 billion in defense funding, increasing the topline by $45 billion over the Biden administration’s anemic proposal, to address the effects of inflation and accelerate implementation of the National Defense Strategy. This budget would represent 4.6% in real growth over the FY 2022 enacted defense budget.
  • Increases funding for the procurement of combat aircraft, naval surface and undersea vessels, armored fighting vehicles, munitions, long-range fires, and short-range fires.
  • Includes a Sullivan-led authorization of $1 billion for the National Defense Stockpile, nearly $750 million more than the Biden administration’s request, to acquire strategic and critical minerals currently in shortfall.
  • Includes a provision offered by Sen. Sullivan requiring the Navy to maintain a minimum of 31 amphibious warships to support the U.S. Marine Corps.
  • Authorizes FY 2023 active-duty end strengths for the Army of 473,000; the Navy, 354,000; the Marine Corps, 177,000; the Air Force, 325,344; and the Space Force, 8,600.
  • Authorizes significant funding increases for game-changing technologies, like microelectronics, hypersonic weapons, and low-cost attritable aircraft.
  • Authorizes the full FY 2023 budget request for the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI), a DOD effort established in 2014 to increase the readiness and responsiveness of U.S. forces in Europe, in partnership with U.S. allies, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • Extends through FY 2023 the Pacific Deterrence Initiative (PDI), a DOD effort established in 2021 to increase the readiness and responsiveness of U.S. forces in the Pacific, in partnership with U.S. allies, following China’s militarization of the South China Sea and other provocative actions in Asia.
  • Continues research and development of the nuclear sea-launched cruise missile.
  • Authorizes $10 billion in Foreign Military Financing for Taiwan over 5 years for key capabilities and training, and authorizes $1 billion in Presidential Drawdown Authority specifically for Taiwan—something Sen. Sullivan insisted on in order to get Taiwan weapons fast and to begin the training they need to deter the Chinese Communist Party. 

Refocusing the Pentagon on Core Mission and Priorities

During the committee process on the NDAA, Sen. Sullivan secured report language pushing back on the “woke” agenda in the military being pursued by the Biden administration. Report language is sent to the Pentagon after the committee process and is not included in the NDAA text. Senator Sullivan’s report language provisions: 

  • Direct the Pentagon to discontinue further investment in a DOD-wide effort to root out “extremism” given the extraordinarily low rate of extremism in the military, as determined by the Secretary of Defense’s Countering Extremist Activity Working Group.
  • Re-emphasize lethality, deterrence and winning wars as the primary considerations when determining and implementing defense policies. 

Continuing the Military Build-up in the Arctic and Alaska - $332 Million Dollars

Senator Sullivan secured a number of Alaska- and Arctic-focused provisions in the FY 2023 NDAA, including $332 million in military construction and equipment. 

“Alaska constitutes three pillars of America's military might,” said Sen. Sullivan. “We are the cornerstone of missile defense. Almost all of the radar systems and all of the ground-based missile interceptors protecting the whole country are located in Alaska. With over 100 fifth-generation fighter jets, we are the hub of air combat power for the Arctic and Indo-Pacific. We are a platform for expeditionary forces—Arctic-tough warriors of the newly-minted 11th Airborne Division who can quickly get to all parts of the world. Lastly, we are home to the DOD’s newest regional center, the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies. Now, with $332 million authorized for military construction and maintenance, and many other provisions we were able to secure in this NDAA, our state will be further cemented as the center of gravity for America's Arctic security operations.” 

The Fiscal Year 2023 NDAA:

  • Builds on the historic military build-up in Alaska and the Arctic over the past several years, including the arrival of the F-35 fighters at Eielson Air Force Base in Fairbanks, the establishment of the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies in Anchorage, and the activation of the 11th Airborne Division.
  • Includes $300 million more than the President’s budget request to accelerate acquisition of the E-7 Wedgetail, which will replace the E-3 AWACS at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER).
  • Authorizes $100 million for an extension of the runway at JBER.
  • Authorizes $68 million for a dormitory at Clear Space Force Station.
  • Authorizes $63 million for an aircraft maintenance hangar at JBER, which was zeroed-out in the President’s budget proposal. 
  • Authorizes $50 million to upgrade Fort Wainwright recreational facilities, upgrades that were zeroed-out in the President’s budget proposal.
  • Provides $32.5 million for Organizational Clothing and Individual Equipment (OCIE) and $9 million for cold-weather gear.
  • Authorizes $5.2 million for the removal of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)-contaminated soil at JBER, which was zeroed-out in the President’s budget proposal.
  • Authorizes $5 million for Alaska Long Range Radar Site Digitalization, which was zeroed-out in the President’s budget proposal.
  • Requires the secretary of defense to consider infrastructure improvements to strategic seaports required by the FY 2020 NDAA, like the Port of Alaska, for inclusion in the Defense Community Infrastructure Pilot (DCIP) Program. 

Prioritizing Service Member Health & Well-being

The FY 2023 NDAA includes significant provisions focused on the mental health and well-being of service members, including seven provisions offered by Senator Sullivan, some of which are from the Don Young Arctic Warrior Act, introduced by Senators Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-Calif.).

These provisions seek to expand access to mental health providers and support at remote military installations, incentivize behavioral health students to work in the military health care system upon graduation, and improve the living conditions of service members stationed in Alaska. 

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