WASHINGTON, D.C. -Today, Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, helped shape the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act. Larsen successfully secured provisions to protect national security, support U.S. servicemembers and their families, and strengthen military communities.
“This year’s NDAA makes important investments to strengthen military readiness, support servicemembers and their families, help small businesses compete for defense contracts, and spur innovative research to prepare for the future of national defense,” said Larsen. “I am thankful to my colleagues for including bipartisan priorities in this year’s bill and look forward to working with the Committee to bring this over the finish line and provide the women and men of the U.S. military the support they deserve.”
The NDAA includes several provisions that will benefit Northwest Washington’s military families, installations and the surrounding communities.
Support for Military Families and Communities
- The FY2021 NDAA authorizes a 3 percent raise for servicemembers.
- Larsen successfully included $50 million for Impact Aid payments to schools that serve military students, like the Oak Harbor School District.
- The bill includes Larsen’s amendment to create a pilot program giving servicemembers the option of cryopreserving eggs or sperm before deploying to a combat zone.
- Larsen also successfully included an amendment which extends Family Separation Allowance (FSA) eligibility to servicemembers and their families while they are under orders to quarantine onboard their ship prior to deployment to slow the spread of COVID-19. Larsen acted after learning about the issue from a constituent serving on board the USS Nimitz.
- American leadership in 5G is important to national security and economic competitiveness. Larsen worked with Rep. Mike Gallagher (WA-08) to include an amendment to strengthen the 5G technology systems and infrastructure network across the Department of Defense.
- Larsen also worked with Reps. Mike Doyle (PA-18), Bob Latta (OH-05) and Tim Walberg (MI-07) to include a provision which requires the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to submit a plan for the modernization of the government’s information technology systems.
- In communities surrounding military installations like Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, aviation noise is a frequent concern. While Larsen’s support for Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, the sailors, families and the missions remains strong, he is working with the Navy and Second District communities to mitigate the impacts of base operations on surrounding communities.
- Larsen secured a provision to expand eligibility of the noise insulation pilot program included in the NDAA to include private properties, such as hospitals, daycares, schools and senior care facilities.
- Larsen also successfully included $4 million for F-18 Super Hornet jet noise reduction research.
Supporting Small Businesses
- Larsen helped secure a $20 million increase in the budget authority for Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, which help small businesses work with the federal government. Washington state is home to eight Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, including the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County in the Second District.
Working with NATO, International Allies and Partners
- Larsen included an amendment expressing the sense of Congress that the U.S. should remain committed to strengthening NATO’s operational response to the pandemic. Larsen is a member of NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly.
- In the global competition to develop cutting-edge technologies, the U.S. possesses a key advantage over its rivals: innovative allies and partners. One of Larsen’s amendments supports the Department of Defense’s research and development work by facilitating greater international cooperation on R&D with NATO and allied and friendly foreign countries.
Military Readiness and Oversight
- The threat of nuclear escalation remains real in today’s world. Larsen inserted a provision to require the Under Secretary of Defense of Policy to detail the Department of Defense’s efforts to ensure the risks of inadvertent escalation to a nuclear war are considered as part of the Pentagon’s decision-making.
- Military readiness in the Arctic is vital to national security. Larsen worked with Rep. Don Young (AK-At-Large) to include an amendment which directs the Secretary of Defense to submit a report on the requirements needed and a plan for upgrading Defense Early Warning System sites in Alaska.
For a summary of the FY2021 NDAA, click here.