Wicker touts passage of defense bill

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Wednesday marked Senate passage of the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The fiscal year 2022 NDAA includes support for major upgrades for platforms crucial in deterring China and Russia, a 2.7 percent pay raise for troops and personnel, and several Mississippi-based projects. The legislation will be sent to President Biden, who is expected to sign it into law.

“Final passage of the National Defense Authorization Act is a victory for both American national security and Mississippi,” Wicker said. “Members from both parties came together to increase the President’s meager funding request by $25 billion, ensuring that our military has the resources necessary to show our adversaries that America will not be bullied. I am especially grateful for the leadership of Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Reed and Ranking Member Inhofe, and I look forward to building on the major achievements in this year’s NDAA in the years to come.”

The legislation would offer a topline figure of $777.7 billion for national defense, an increase from FY2021’s budget of $740.5 billion.

Among other provisions, the NDAA will:

  • Include a $4.7 billion increase for shipbuilding, including five battle force ships. Read more about Senator Wicker’s advocacy for a strong Navy here.
  • Bar a push for the mandatory conscription of women in a national draft. Read more about Senator Wicker’s push to eliminate the provision here.
  • Raise pay by 2.7 percent for military service members and Department of Defense workforce.
  • Prohibit the military from dishonorably discharging service members who refuse the COVID-19 vaccine. Read more about Senator Wicker’s opposition to vaccine mandates for our military here.
  • Recapitalize on American nuclear weapon modernization as threats from China and Russia grow.
  • Initiate major defense aid programming and collaboration with Taiwan and Ukraine.
  • Incorporate a Wicker-sponsored amendment which forces defense contractors to disclose diversity and critical race theory trainings.

Senator Wicker also worked to secure support for provisions that will directly benefit Mississippi, including:

  • $15.5 million for a new Army National Guard building to service combat vehicles at Camp Shelby in Mississippi
  • $3 billion in additional funding for two Arleigh Burke Class Destroyers
  • $40 million in research and high performance computing development at Mississippi State University
  • $2 million in research for military applications of graphene at the University of Mississippi
  • $100 million in support for LHA-9, which is a large deck amphibious ship made in Mississippi, and another $250 million in support for LPD programming, which is another amphibious ship made in Mississippi.

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