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June 30, 2020

Inhofe: National Defense Authorization Act Is More Than Just a Military Bill

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, spoke on the Senate floor today in support of the S. 4049, the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2021. He also addressed a recent report that Russia put bounties on coalition troops in Afghanistan.

 As Prepared for Delivery:

Earlier this morning, I was at the White House to receive a briefing on the reports about Putin putting bounties on our troops in Afghanistan.

After a very long briefing, I’m confident that President Trump didn’t know about the reporting – that intel was continuing to be assessed before he was brought into it.

Another takeaway from the briefing: that our intelligence agencies aren’t in complete agreement on this.

So this is going to continue to be a Washington, DC story – one where they try to make the president look bad. Because here is what we also know, and we don’t need any special intelligence to tell us: Putin is a murderer and a thug. He hates America and our interests.

We know that and we’re doing something about it.

President Trump has taken a whole list of steps to protect our troops and stand up against Russia’s actions.

And here, in the Senate, this NDAA is focused on our top priority: taking care of our troops – and also aligning our military to better deter against China and Russia.

As we continue to consider the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, I want to give my colleagues a brief update.

We talk a lot about our troops and our military strength with this bill.

At the end of the day, this bill affects all American families and our communities directly. It’s about their security, their freedom, and their prosperity.

We introduced a substitute amendment last night that included 79 bipartisan amendments.

As we speak, we are working on building a Managers Package which contains dozens of bipartisan amendments, so we’re really doing the job the way it’s supposed to be done.

The safety of the American people is not negotiable.

With the Fiscal Year ‘21 NDAA, we move one step closer to ensuring that safety and closing the gap between our military and those of China and Russia.

For some reason, this never gets out in the media — no one talks about it — that during the Obama years, between 2010-2015, he reduced spending on defense by 25 percent. At the same time that was happening, Russia was increasing its defense budget by 34 percent. Now if you think that’s bad, at the same time, China was increasing its defense budget by 83 percent.

How do you catch up? Hardware. Some things in this bill:

It increases funding for weapons procurement programs including Tomahawk missiles, Long-Range anti-ship missiles, ground-based anti-ship missiles and realigning our weapons capabilities to match the NDS.

It reestablishes our superiority in the air by focusing on procurement for the Air Force, while also preventing divestment of legacy aircraft, like the KC-135, that we still need.

It reestablishes our superiority on the seas by increasing authorization for shipbuilding and authorizing procurement to achieve the 355-ship Navy.

It supports the Army’s focus on multi-domain capabilities – specifically their modernization priorities.

It keeps our eye on space.

The bill also goes beyond our bases too. A few examples: the Defense Community Infrastructure Program, Impact Aid, STARBASE for science and technology, research partnerships with universities. This also includes research and experimentation in 5G – which is vital to maintaining both our military and economic advantages.

One other thing this bill does that I want to highlight is protect our GPS signals. Recently, the Federal Communications Commission OKed a proposal from Ligado Networks to make a new cellular network that jeopardizes GPS signals that so many people rely on. Not only do our troops in the field use these signals, but our pilots in the sky, construction workers on jobs sites—even our farmers use GPS to irrigate and harvest their crops.

Even though the Department of Defense and more than a dozen other federal agencies objected, the FCC went ahead with this deal.

The NDAA makes sure that the DOD is not on the hook for the costly updates if Ligado moves ahead with the deal by prohibiting the use of DOD funds to comply with the order until: the Secretary of Defense submits an estimate of the costs associated with the GPS interference, and directs the Secretary of Defense to contract with the National Academies of Science and Engineering for an independent technical review of the order. The bill further directs the Secretary of Defense to create a process to ensure our nation’s military is reimbursed directly by Ligado for the interference they cause.

In short: it makes sure we’re not wasting taxpayer money to fix the problems Ligado is causing.

So these are just a few reasons this bill is more than just a military bill. First and foremost, that’s what it is. It’s a security bill. Every provision in this bill matters to our national security. But it also goes beyond that. I think it’s really important Americans know that.

With this bill, we’re leaving a legacy for our children and grandchildren – one that values peace, protects economic prosperity, and safeguards our freedoms.   

 


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