Today, Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, voted for the final conference report for the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to support servicemembers and military communities in Washington’s Second District. Larsen served on the conference committee that helped shape the final version of the bill, which passed the House by a vote of 377-48.
“The final NDAA conference report makes important investments in military readiness, increases pay for servicemembers, helps small businesses compete for defense contracts and spurs innovative research to prepare for future conflicts,” said Larsen. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to get the final bill over the finish line.”
Larsen successfully included provisions in the conference report that will benefit the Pacific Northwest. These include:
- Larsen successfully included important provisions to conduct real-time sound monitoring and authorize jet noise reduction research. These policies will ensure air crews can get vital training while better understanding and reducing the impact of operations on surrounding communities.
- Larsen successfully included a provision that requires the Department of Defense to develop an Artificial Intelligence (AI) education strategy and requires the underlying curriculum to include ethical issues, bias and potential strengths and weaknesses of AI.
Naval Station Everett
- Built as a carrier homeport, Naval Station Everett is uniquely well-suited to this mission. Unfortunately, the Navy’s 2018 Strategic Laydown and Dispersal Plan changed the Navy’s plan to base an aircraft carrier at Naval Station Everett in 2019 and beyond. Larsen successfully included a provision that directs the Comptroller General of the United States to submit a report to HASC on recent changes to the Navy’s West Coast aircraft carrier homeporting.
- Larsen successfully included $50 million for Impact Aid payments to schools serving military dependents, such as the Oak Harbor School District.
The NDAA includes additional provisions benefiting Northwest Washington’s military families, installations and the surrounding communities.
Supports Military Communities
- The NDAA bans Department of Defense use of firefighting agents containing PFAS on military bases by 2024, requires the use of state drinking water standards when they are more stringent than federal standards, and authorizes funding for schools serving military students.
- The NDAA also requires the DoD to develop a comprehensive mental health policy and combats the opioid epidemic by implementing economic and financial sanctions on foreign drug traffickers.
Invests in Science and Technology
- The NDAA increases funding for the Defense University Research Initiative by $5 million. This program helped fund the Robotarium, a remote-access robotics lab located at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Larsen has advocated for the expansion of the Robotarium concept to other universities and educational institutions to expand access to autonomous systems.
Strengthens the NATO Alliance
- The NDAA reverses President Trump’s cuts to the European Deterrence Initiative, instead providing additional funding to deter Russia and work with U.S. allies and partners. The bill prohibits funding to be used to suspend, terminate or withdraw from NATO and expresses strong support of U.S. commitment to the alliance.
Promotes Nuclear Stability
- The NDAA includes Larsen’s provision extending the prohibition on development of mobile Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) for five years. The bill also authorizes $20 million for research and development of advanced naval reactors to reduce the use of weapons-grade uranium.
- The NDAA prohibits a DACA or TPS recipient from being involuntarily separated from the military and requires military service to be considered in any determination for removal proceedings. The bill also requires counseling to noncitizen servicemembers on how to apply for citizenship.
The final NDAA conference report now awaits passage in the Senate before heading to the president’s desk to be signed into law.
To read the final conference report, click here.