December 8, 2022
“Each year, the annual defense bill provides an opportunity for Congress to steer our national security priorities and deliver meaningful policy reforms that benefit service members, their families, and communities across the United States. For the 62nd consecutive year, the House today passed the final agreed upon text of the FY23 NDAA, sending it to the Senate for a final vote. This year’s defense bill includes important provisions to support our service members and their families, advance cutting-edge research and development, and invest in our global network of allies and partnerships to tackle the biggest challenges around the world. In the many months of negotiations and deliberations it took to craft this legislation, there were compromises made to get this bill across the finish line. In the compromise, we did not get everything we want, but we secured significant wins that are important to Democratic national security priorities. Now more than ever - at a time when global democracy is under attack and the rules-based international order is being threatened - we need a strong national security and defense strategy, and this bill helps us deliver on that front.”
The FY23 NDAA includes important wins for Washington’s Ninth District and communities across the country. See below for a list of FY23 NDAA highlights.
Improving the Lives of Service Members and Their Families
The FY23 NDAA includes a well-deserved pay raise and invests in several other key quality-of-life improvements for military service members and their families.
- Supports an increase in military basic pay by 4.6% for service members.
- Increases service member housing allowance by 2% and requires a report on a more transparent, fair, and flexible way to calculate the basic allowance for housing.
- Increases the threshold to be eligible for the Basic Needs Allowance (BNA), which will now be up to 150% of the federal poverty line.
- Increases funds for the Commissaries to help offset higher prices.
- Builds on historic reforms in the FY22 NDAA to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, including placing sexual harassment and other offenses under the jurisdiction of the Special Trial Counsel and requiring independent trained investigators outside of the immediate chain of command to investigate claims of sexual harassment.
Advancing Clean Energy and Addressing Climate Change
The FY23 NDAA continues efforts by Congress to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote clean energy, and enhance energy resilience within the military.
- Requires the transition of DoD non-tactical vehicle fleets to electric or zero-emission vehicles by 2035.
- Establishes an energy resilience testbed initiative to designate military instillations to conduct demonstration projects on energy technologies including energy storage, electric vehicles, building efficiency, clean energy generation, and electrification.
- Creates a pilot program for the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) within the DoD to reduce emissions and promote collaboration with airports. Greater adoption of SAF in jet fuel can reduce carbon emissions in the aviation industry and decrease the pollutants emitted from planes that are associated with harmful health impacts on communities near airports and under flight pathways. The Port of Seattle has been a leader in setting goals for the use of SAF at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
- Establishes a pilot program for the development of innovative electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
Strengthening United States Support for Ukraine
As the rules-based international order faces threats from Beijing and Moscow that undermine security, freedom, and prosperity for people living around the world, this year’s NDAA authorizes crucial investments in America’s global network of alliances and partnerships.
- Provides $800 million in funding for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which provides support and assistance to the Ukrainian Armed Forces and requires a comprehensive assessment of the oversight framework for U.S. assistance to Ukraine.
- Includes over $6 billion for the European Deterrence Initiative to support deterrence and strengthen alliances and partnerships within the European Command area of operations.
- Includes the Stop Russian GOLD Act, which would impose sanctions on persons who knowingly participate in a significant transaction of gold with Russia.
- Includes the Ukraine Invasion War Crimes Deterrence and Accountability Act, which establishes it as the policy of the United States to collect, analyze, and preserve evidence and information related to war crimes and other atrocities committed during Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine for use in appropriate domestic, foreign, and international courts and tribunals prosecuting those responsible, consistent with applicable United States law.
Promoting Diversity in the Military
The FY23 NDAA makes major investments in the research, innovation, and diversity that make our country safer and stronger.
- Authorizes $131.7 million, an increase of over $98.4 million from the President’s budget request, for defense research activities at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).
- Creates the Ronald V. Dellums Memorial Fellowship, honoring former Armed Services Committee Chairman Dellums by creating a new scholarship and fellowship program specifically designed to provide additional opportunities to serve in STEM fields within the DoD for those from underrepresented communities.
Preventing and Mitigating Civilian Harm
As a result of years of effort by Congress, human rights groups, and the DoD, the FY23 NDAA demonstrates America’s commitment to protecting civilians from harm due to military operations.
- Requires the creation and operation of a Civilian Protection Center of Excellence to centralize, standardize, and improve policies regarding civilian harm mitigation in the DoD’s operations and activities.
- Authorizes $25 million for the implementation of the Civilian Harm Mitigation and Response Action Plan (CHMRAP).
- Mandates that the newly formed Center for Excellence in Civilian Harm Mitigation contract with a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) to independently report on how the DoD distinguishes between civilians and combatants in military operations.
- Extends, for a decade, a global ex-gratia authority that requires the United States to make payments for damage, personal injury, or death to a civilian that is inadvertently caused by the use of force by the U.S. Armed Forces, a coalition that includes the United States, or a military organization supporting the United States.
Supporting Ocean Conservation and the Puget Sound
Thanks to the leadership of members of the Washington State Congressional Delegation, the FY23 NDAA includes meaningful provisions to enhance conservation in the Puget Sound, improve mitigation measures for orcas, and promote salmon recovery.
- Includes one of the largest packages of ocean and Great Lakes bills in decades to help address the climate crisis by protecting and conserving oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes.
- Authorizes a National Academies study on the effects of 6PPD-quinone on salmonids, aquatic species, and watersheds, including an economic analysis of declining salmon populations in the U.S. and its effects on the importation of salmon from other countries.
- Provides for conservation and grant programs that harness technology to reduce ocean noise, monitor marine mammals and help vessels avoid them, and improve technology for marine mammal conservation.
- Establishes a Puget Sound cetacean desk for monitoring and conserving whales in the Puget Sound.
The FY23 NDAA includes negotiated agreements by several outside committees that address issues important to the United States, including:
- The Water Resources Development Act of 2022, legislation that authorizes water resources infrastructure projects to address flooding, waterway transportation, and ecosystem restoration. The WRDA 2022 includes important provisions to promote environmental justice, increase coordination with tribal, minority, and indigenous communities, and build more resilient communities.
- The Federal Firefighters Fairness Act, which improves firefighters’ access to injury and illness benefits through an automatic presumption that an illness on a science-based list, such as mesothelioma, was work related
- The 21st Century Assistive Technology Act, which increases the quality of life and expands work opportunities for people with disabilities through increased access to technology, equipment, and services.
- Important global health provisions to bolster pandemic preparedness and create new interagency processes for responding to international health threats from Global Health Security and International Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response Act of 2022.
- Reauthorization of the Global Food Security Act for five years, which authorizes the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiatives. The provision updates and strengthens the Global Food Security Act by improving coordination and the implementation of a whole-of-government approach to countering global hunger.
- Authorization of the Coast Guard and Maritime Administration (MARAD).
A full summary of the provisions included in the FY23 NDAA is available here.