Rep. Austin Scott on HASC Passage of FY22 NDAA
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Austin Scott (GA-08), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), released the below statement upon the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passing out of Committee last night by a vote of 57 to 2. The NDAA sets Department of Defense (DOD) policies and authorizes funding levels for defense programs.
“After 15 hours of debate, the House Armed Services Committee passed the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act. While this certainly isn’t a perfect bill, I believe we were able to accomplish many goals in this year’s NDAA important to Georgia, Georgia’s Eighth District, and the nation,” said Rep. Scott. “During consideration, there were also important discussions on Afghanistan, the evacuation, equipment left behind, and what was and was not destroyed. I will continue to call for investigations into these and other issues surrounding President Biden and Secretary Blinken’s botched withdrawal and evacuation from Afghanistan.”
Rep. Scott continued: “I also want to thank Ranking Member Mike Rogers for his amendment to increase the defense budget by nearly $24 billion. I was glad to support this measure and see bipartisanship in Committee debate around getting our troops the tools they need to protect the homeland. We must continue to invest in, develop, and modernize platforms and systems while supporting our servicemembers and their ongoing missions.”
Highlights of the legislation include providing a 2.7% pay raise for our troops, addressing the strategic challenges posed by Communist China by robustly funding the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, and continuing U.S. military support to our partners in Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS.
Additionally, Rep Scott supported an amendment offered by Ranking Member Mike Rogers (R-AL-03) which passed 42-17 to raise the defense budget by $23.9 billion. The increase ensures a budget increase of 3% to keep up with inflation, and it provides more than $15 billion to fill unfunded procurement, research, and readiness priorities.
During consideration of amendments related to Afghanistan, Rep. Scott blasted the Biden Administration for failing to get Americans and Afghans with Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) out of the country. Additionally, Rep. Scott asserted that he believes President Biden has not been truthful to the American people on what his plans were for a troop withdrawal and evacuations. You can find those clips here and here.
PROVIDING FOR CURRENT AND FUTURE NEEDS AT ROBINS & MOODY:
The E–8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) is a joint Air Force and Army program that provides critical airborne surveillance, intelligence, and command and control to our military through on-board radar and computer subsystems equipment that gathers and distributes detailed battlefield information. Combatant commanders utilize the JSTARS fleet around the world, and it is based at Robins Air Force Base (AFB) in Warner Robins, GA. The FY22 NDAA includes a request by Rep. Scott to secure an increase of $27 million above the President’s budget request for much-needed communication modernization upgrades to the JSTARS aircraft to ensure the system can continue to support Combatant Commanders’ needs.
This bill also provides funding to support the future missions to be hosted at Robins. It authorizes $179 million for continued research and development of the Air Force Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS). ABMS will be a next-generation system-of-systems integrating battlefield surveillance information and providing commanders better situational awareness in combat. Also included is $125M of investment funding for Robin’s future squadron of E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) aircraft. The BACN aircraft will execute a mission enabling communications support to the joint force on the modern battlefield. Click here to read more on new missions coming to Robins AFB.
The FY22 NDAA continues funding for the procurement of the new HH-60W, Jolly Green II. The HH-60W fleet will be used by the 41st Rescue Squadron to conduct critical combat search and rescue and personnel recovery operations. The legislation also funds Moody’s A-10 operations and mission.
Additionally, the bill includes $6 million in military construction funding for Military Housing Privatization Initiative Restructuring at Robins AFB. The bill makes other military construction investments at Fort Gordon, Fort Stewart, Fort Benning, and Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia, including funding for a Cyber Instructional Facility at Fort Gordon and a Special Operations Battalion Headquarters at Fort Benning.
OTHER KEY PROVISIONS:
The legislation also included the following bill language provisions authored by Rep. Scott:
Elevation of the position of Vice Chief of the National Guard Bureau (VCNGB) from the rank of Lieutenant General to General: This amendment would elevate the position of the Vice Chief of the National Guard Bureau from the present rank of Lieutenant General to the rank of General. National Guard involvement in both domestic and overseas military operations continues to increase yet VCNGB is only Joint Chiefs of Staff principal deputy who is not a 4-star General.
Updating Joint Publication 3-68: Noncombatant Evacuation Operations by March 1, 2022: This amendment requires the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) to update Joint Publication 3-68: Noncombatant Evacuation Operations by March 1, 2022. Joint doctrine publications contain fundamental principles that guide the employment of U.S. military forces in coordinated and integrated action toward a common objective.
Increasing the cap on minor military construction projects: This amendment would increase the maximum amount authorized for unspecified military construction projects from $6 million to $8 million. It gives greater flexibility to all military installation commanders like the commanding officers of Robins AFB and Moody AFB in Georgia’s Eighth District to fund minor military construction projects without the burdensome approval process.
Military construction pilot program: This amendment establishes a pilot program to evaluate the benefits gained from military construction projects built with mass timber, including environmental sustainability, infrastructure resilience, cost effectiveness, and construction time of such projects.
Classifying the Space Force and Coast Guard as a matter of joint concern to the Navy: This amendment would enhance the partnership between the Navy, Coast Guard, and Space Force.
Sense of the Congress on the Partnership between the nation of Georgia and the Georgia National Guard: The nation of Georgia is a valued friend of the United States and has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to advancing the mutual interests of both countries, including strong participation in the State Partnership Program between the Georgia National Guard and the Georgian armed forces. The contributions of the Georgian armed forces have been remarkable with members of the Georgia National Guard having fought side-by-side with Georgian soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Sense of Congress naming a warship USS Fallujah: This sense of the Congress provision recommends the Secretary of the Navy name a warship “USS Fallujah” in honor of the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) heroes that fought and died in the November-December 2004 battle in Fallujah, Iraq. This battle was the largest urban warfare battle the Marines have fought in since the Vietnam War.
Sense of the Congress on inviting Taiwan to the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022 exercise: RIMPAC is the world's largest international maritime warfare exercise. Taiwan’s Navy should be invited to enhance their cooperation with the United States Navy and other partner navies in the region.
The legislation also included Directive Report Language (DRL), which is a special category of “Items of Special Interest” that are included in the bill. The DOD recognizes that while DRL is not bill language, it carries a similar weight. The DRL provisions authored by Rep. Scott include:
Air Logistics Complex Capital Equipment Requirements: This DRL recognized the importance of the work performed at the Air Force’s three Air Logistics Complexes and acknowledged concerns about the aging capital equipment at each location to include the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex. This amendment directed the Secretary of the Air Force to submit a report to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees on the capital equipment replacement and/or refurbishment requirements at each of the Air Force Air Logistics Centers.
Foreign Military Training: This DRL directs the Secretary of Defense to provide the Congressional Committees on Defense a briefing no later than March 1, 2022, on its foreign military flight training in the United States. Foreign military flight training is a key mission at Moody AFB.
Combat Search and Rescue Helicopter Briefing: The briefing requested of the Air Force will include the bed down plan and timing, manning requirements, training requirements, infrastructure requirements, support equipment, force structure, funding requirements, and recommendations on improving the overall combat effectiveness and readiness of HH-60W and CSAR mission. Moody AFB is home to the 23rd Wing and 347th Rescue Group leadership, which received the Air Force’s first two HH-60W Jolly Green II helicopters on November 5, 2020.
Centers of Gravity of Select Countries and Foreign Terrorist Organizations: “Center of Gravity” is defined as “the source of power that provides moral or physical strength, freedom of action, or will to act.” This DRL directs the CJCS to provide the congressional defense committees a classified report by May 1, 2022 on the center of gravity of (1) the Russian Federation; (2) Peoples Republic of China; (3) Iran; (4) North Korea; and (5) select Foreign Terrorist Organizations.
Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) containing Per-and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals in Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) operations at dual-use civilian/military airports like Savannah International: This amendment directed the Secretary of Defense to submit a report to the congressional defense committees by March 1, 2022. The report should address: the coordination between the Department and the FAA with the joint and shared use civilian airports that depend on military-controlled emergency response; the progress towards establishing a formal consultation system to coordinate the review process and final actions on PFAS-containing foam with the Joint and Shared Use Airport operators; and the timeline for the Department of Defense to issue directives on PFAS-containing foam.