SEATTLE, WA – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement after the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) was signed into law for the 61st consecutive year by President Joe Biden. S. 1605, the bipartisan, bicameral final text of the FY22 NDAA, passed the House by a vote of 363-70 and the Senate by a vote of 88-11.
“After months of working together on a bipartisan, bicameral basis, this week the President signed the NDAA into law for the 61st consecutive year. It is crucial that Congress passes this bill every year so that the legislative branch can continue to exercise our oversight responsibilities over the Department of Defense. This year’s NDAA also makes progress on several important issues. Specifically, the NDAA will improve the lives of our service members and their families, promote the health and future of our planet, and support diverse and equitable communities to meet our nation’s biggest challenges.
“One of the issues that sets this year’s NDAA apart from prior defense bills is a package of significant modifications to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), which will dramatically change how the U.S. military will handle sexual assault crimes. These reforms empower a new special prosecutor to take control of the charging and prosecution of all sex crimes and any crime related to a sex crime, removing these responsibilities from the normal chain of command. Removing the prosecution of these crimes from the chain of command is a dramatic change that is strongly supported by advocates for survivors of sexual assault. These updates to the UCMJ will create a strong pathway for survivors to achieve justice and for perpetrators to be held accountable – representing the most transformational change to the UCMJ in my 25 years of service on the Armed Services Committee.
“Passing any legislation is difficult – particularly legislation that wins such broad and bipartisan support – and the hard work required to craft this year’s bill, which is now the law, has paid off.”
The final text of the FY22 NDAA includes the following.
Improving the Lives of our Service Members and Their Families
The FY22 NDAA supports the thousands of service members at Washington State’s military bases and all the service members and military families across the country.
  • The NDAA makes transformational reforms to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) – which are supported by longstanding advocates for survivors of the sexual assault crisis in the military. The reforms will take the prosecution of all sex crimes in the military away from the control of the military commander. Instead, qualified, independent, uniformed attorneys — ultimately overseen by the civilian Service Secretaries — will have the sole authority for charging decisions and the responsibility to prosecute those charges. The NDAA also includes solutions to tackle the military's sexual harassment crisis, making the military justice system the first and only jurisdiction in America where sexual harassment is a criminal offense.
  • Building on previous attempts to close the pay gap, the NDAA supports a well-deserved pay raise of nearly 3 percent for our men and women in uniform.
  • After many years of advocacy from nutrition advocates here in Washington State such as Food Lifeline, the bill authorizes a basic needs allowance for qualified service members.
  • The bill increases allowable parental leave for primary and secondary caregivers, including foster parents, and expands the in-home childcare pilot program, providing financial assistance for in-home childcare, and supporting military families who have family members with special needs.
  • The bill supports our service members by creating a pilot program to provide direct assistance for mental health care and requiring a thorough review of suicide prevention and response programs.
  • The bill establishes a three-year pilot program to provide employment support to spouses of members of the U.S. military through a paid fellowship with employers across a variety of industries.
Promoting the Health and Future of our Planet
To address the existential threat of our time – climate change – the FY22 NDAA builds on ongoing efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote green energy, and enhance energy resiliency within the military. Notably, the NDAA pushes the Department of Defense (DOD) to be a leader in clean energy by requiring military instillations like those in Washington State to increase clean energy usage, making our communities healthier, safer, and more resilient.
  • The bill requires the DOD to ensure that a portion of its major military installations achieve energy, water, and waste net-zero by 2035 and requires energy and water efficiency targets to be set for DOD data centers – helping to mitigate the Department’s impact on the environment. The NDAA also establishes a new initiative within the DOD, working with the Department of Energy, to promote the development of long duration energy storage technologies and help spur their use as a tool to promote clean energy and energy resiliency.
  • Washington State faces immense challenges with detecting and cleaning up harmful, long-lasting pollutants known as PFAS, a huge financial burden for state and local governments and a threat to public health. The NDAA will ensure that the DOD adequately addresses PFAS contamination in and around military installations by authorizing $517 million above the President’s budget request for cleanup of impacted military communities and puts in place important restrictions to help minimize future PFAS contamination at military instillations.  
Supporting Diverse and Equitable Communities to Meet our Nation’s Biggest Challenges
The FY22 NDAA invests in America's rich pool of diverse talent to meet our biggest national security challenges by prioritizing diversity and inclusion initiatives across the U.S. military and promoting equity and fairness across America's research and development landscape, which includes top research universities in Washington State.
  • The NDAA updates outdated diversity training requirements to ensure ongoing training includes diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programming to reduce discrimination and bias based on race, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity, among other items.
  • The bill makes significant new investments in academic partnerships, and it more than doubles the President's budget request for support for activities at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
  • To support minority institutions' efforts to compete more effectively for federal research funding opportunities, the NDAA requires the Secretary of Defense to develop a plan to promote defense research at minority institutions.
  • The bill also authorizes funding for research and development in areas such as energy, technology, and innovation conducted at leading universities like the University of Washington.
Additional Wins for Washington’s Ninth District
  • The NDAA includes Rep. Smith’s bill, the Promoting Affordable Housing Near Transit Act. This bill, which is supported by local and national housing organizations, will help facilitate creative ways to develop new, affordable housing units along transit lines. Transit entities like Sound Transit will now be able to transfer unused land to community and housing organizations for the purposes of building affordable, transit-accessible housing for those who need it most. As we invest in the expansion of public transit and work to combat the housing crisis, the Promoting Affordable Housing Near Transit Act gives our communities another tool to increase affordable housing along public transit corridors.