Rep. Austin Scott Statement on Final Passage of Defense Bill

December 8, 2020
Press Release

TIFTON, GA – Today, Congressman Austin Scott (GA-08), a senior Member of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), released the below statement upon House passage of the Conference Report for the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (FY21 NDAA), which authorizes funding for Department of Defense (DOD) programs.

“The NDAA is one of the most important pieces of legislation we pass each year, and I am glad we were able to deliver this critical legislation to provide for our warfighters and their missions,” said Rep. Scott. “While the FY21 NDAA certainly isn’t perfect, it accomplishes many important goals, including a much needed 3% pay raise for our troops, resources for new programs across the DOD, and support for missions at Robins and Moody Air Force Bases in Georgia’s Eighth District. I encourage the President to sign this Conference Report to ensure our ability to tackle the threats we face today while planning for those of tomorrow.”

In November, Rep. Scott was chosen to serve on a conference committee which was charged with working through differences of the House and Senate versions of FY21 NDAA to comprise a final bill for passage. The legislation passed today is the result of House-Senate compromises and authorizes funding DOD for FY21.

The FY21 NDAA Conference Report includes the following provisions important to Georgia’s Eighth District:

  • PROVIDING FOR CURRENT AND FUTURE NEEDS AT ROBINS: The Conference Report includes language authored by Rep. Scott to prohibit the retirement of 16 critically important E–8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) aircraft at Robins, which provide 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. Rep. Scott was also able to secure an increase of $27 million above the President’s budget request for much-needed modernization upgrades to the JSTARS aircraft to ensure the system can continue to support combatant commanders’ needs.
  • SUPPORTING MISSIONS AT MOODY: Also included in the legislation is a provision authored by Rep. Scott to prohibit the retirement of the A-10C “Warthog” aircraft, which provide close air support and combat search-and-rescue capabilities unmatched by any other aircraft in the Air Force’s inventory. No other fixed-wing airframes are as proficient as the A-10 in operating in rugged environments, low visibility, and very low altitudes, and the A-10C has been instrumental in the fight against ISIS, in Eastern Europe and the Baltics in face of Russian aggression, and missions in the South China Sea after illegal Chinese military expansion in the region.

Other highlights of the Conference Report passed today include:

  • Provides our troops a 3% pay raise, authorizes extra pay for troops in combat zones, and supports their families with the care and benefits they deserve.
  • Ensures DOD maintains a 30-day supply of PPE to ensure our troops have the diagnostic equipment and testing they need and provides health benefits to Guardsmen supporting the COVID-19 response. 
  • Continues to fund nuclear modernization to ensure our nuclear deterrent is safe and reliable.
  • Establishes the Pacific Deterrence Initiative to fund emergent technologies, support our allies, and deter China and authorizes several new provisions to counter Chinese industrial espionage, support Hong Kong and Taiwan, and protect our defense supply chain.
  • Continues to fund the European Deterrence Initiative to support our allies and counter Russian aggression.
  • Increases investments into advanced weapons system, autonomous systems, AI, and RDT&E.
  • Maintains prohibitions on the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo Bay.
  • Continues to support missile defense cooperation with Israel and includes the United States-Israel Assistance Act.
  • Includes the Senate-passed language that establishes a commission to study and recommend the renaming of bases named after Confederates within three years, compared to the House language which mandated renaming within one year.
  • Does not include “red flag” gun control provision.
  • Does not include provisions that would have curtailed the President’s authority under the Insurrection Act or to deploy the National Guard.