Sullivan, Senate Pass Defense Bill That Takes Care Of Our Troops and Makes America More Secure

Bill includes Sullivan-Authored Arctic Security Initiative, Other Alaska Provisions

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), voted today to pass the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which would raise the Department of Defense’s (DOD) budget by $25 billion beyond President Joe Biden’s defense budget proposal, a level consistent with the recommendations of the National Defense Strategy Commission, and includes numerous Arctic and Alaska priorities championed by Sullivan. The bill now goes to the President’s desk for his signature.

“Republicans and Democrats in Congress today soundly rejected Joe Biden’s dangerous, dead-last prioritization of the U.S. military, passing an authorization that robustly invests in our nation’s defense and provides our troops with the resources they need to fulfill a wide array of critical missions,” said Sen. Sullivan. “We were also able to work on a bipartisan basis to remove provisions championed by far-left members of the House and the President that sought to conduct social engineering experiments in our military ranks and detract from the readiness and lethality of our fighting force. This NDAA also invests heavily in defense technologies and weapons that will help us keep pace with our adversaries, like Russia and China, as they continue to threaten democracies and upend the global rules-based order. 

“Additionally, this NDAA includes numerous provisions for Alaska, including approximately $155 million dollars for military construction, and a new Arctic Security Initiative I authored that will, at long last, ensure the Arctic is properly resourced and integrated into our larger defense strategy—where it belongs. The independent assessment this initiative requires will ultimately mean more focus, personnel, vessels, infrastructure, aircraft and investment being directed to America’s Arctic—to Alaska—in defense of our nation’s interests in this critically-important region. With my provision in last year’s NDAA to establish the Ted Stevens Center, which the DOD recently announced will be headquartered in Anchorage, and my Arctic Security Initiative in this year’s NDAA, Alaska has rightfully become the critical focal point for Arctic security endeavors for America and our allies throughout the world.” 

Congress has historically only authorized two region-specific security initiatives—the European Deterrence Initiative in 2014, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the Pacific Deterrence Initiative (PDI) in 2021, following China’s militarization of the South China Sea and other provocative actions in Asia. Sen. Sullivan was able to include a provision authorizing the secretary of defense to establish a third such initiative in the FY 2022 NDAA—the Arctic Security Initiative (ASI), which features a five-year plan to fully resource the DOD’s and individual service-specific strategies for the Arctic that have been released over the past several years.

“Finally, after years of advocacy, this year’s NDAA includes legislation I’ve introduced to maximize interagency collaboration and capacity between the Defense Health and Veterans Health Agencies, authorizing the secretary of defense and the secretary of veterans affairs to enter into agreements for the planning, design, and construction of facilities to be operated as shared federal medical facilities,” said Sen. Sullivan. “This is critically important in states, like Alaska, where there is no full-service VA hospital and more than forty percent of residents are federal health care beneficiaries.”

“As the senior Republican on the Subcommittee on Readiness, Sen. Sullivan has fought to make sure our military is prepared for any threat that comes our way—whether in the Indo-Pacific or the Arctic. That includes making sure the Department of Defense has the budget it needs to take care of our troops and defend the country and that those resources are going to the right places,” said SASC Ranking Member Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.). “I’m proud to have worked with him to make this National Defense Authorization Act a strong, bipartisan bill that will make our country more secure.”

In addition to authorizing the ASI, the FY 2022 NDAA:

  • Increases funding for national defense by $25 billion beyond President Biden’s request, matching the National Defense Strategy Commission’s minimum recommendation of 3 percent real growth, bringing the total funding authorized for the DOD and nuclear weapons activities to a total of $777.9 billion;
  • Provides America’s service members with a 2.7 percent pay raise, makes necessary improvements to military health care, continues efforts to guarantee military spouses have access to meaningful employment, provides service members with dedicated bereavement leave, and ensures military families have access to high-quality housing;
  • Increases resources for the new Pacific Deterrence Initiative by $1 billion for the United States Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) commander’s highest priorities;
  • Hardens America’s defense industrial base and supply chain against threats posed by China;
  • Focuses attention on U.S.-Taiwan defense cooperation, including asymmetric military capabilities;
  • Requires an assessment of current and emerging offensive capabilities of China and other adversaries and disclosures of any printed circuit boards sourced from China;
  • Accelerates research and development of key modernization technologies at the heart of strategic competition with China;
  • Adds more than $2.5 billion for shipbuilding, with funding for an additional destroyer;
  • Provides the largest investment in military construction in a decade—$12.735 billion—nearly $2.9 billion more than the president requested;
  • Emphasizes the importance of the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD);
  • Provides key support for America’s allies, including Taiwan, Ukraine, Israel, and Afghan civilians and translators who supported U.S. counterterrorism efforts;
  • Continues to limit military cooperation between the U.S. and Russia, rejects Russian aggression, and authorizes an increase of $50 million for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative;
  • Invests in defense technology to put America ahead of its global competitors, including microelectronics, artificial intelligence, 5G, hypersonic weapons, and directed energy;
  • Fully funds the United States Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) and protects against persistent cyberattacks by assessing and strengthening America’s offensive and defensive capabilities;
  • Authorizes the DOD to transport Afghan special immigrant visa (SIV) candidates and other at-risk Afghan partners outside of Afghanistan for visa processing;
  • Requires military contractors to disclose any training related to critical race theory.

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