WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement today after the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (FY23 NDAA) passed the U.S. Senate with several key wins for Alabama included. The bill now awaits the President’s signature, having passed the House of Representatives on December 8th. A video statement from Senator Tuberville on the FY23 NDAA can be found here.
“The importance of passing a strong NDAA cannot be overstated,” said Senator Tuberville. “To maintain our role as the world’s leading superpower, we must also maintain the world’s most modern, prepared, and lethal military. Bolstering our force and military capabilities ensures we are ready to defeat any enemy at any time. I am proud of my work on the Senate Armed Services Committee to draft legislation that gives the military the tools it needs to keep our country safe.”
Speaking to the FY23 NDAA provisions that directly impact Alabama, Senator Tuberville said, “Alabama has been at the forefront of America’s national defense network for decades. More than 50,000 Alabamian service members and Department of Defense civilian officials work around the clock to defend the United States. The FY23 NDAA expands resources for our state to continue that work and provides for crucial updates and additions to America’s military.”
For more than six decades, Congress has worked in a bipartisan manner to develop and pass the NDAA. The FY23 NDAA increases the overall topline spending number by $45 billion over President Biden’s defense request. Staying competitive with the private sector, the NDAA provides for a 4.6% pay raise for our military and provides additional hiring authorities and incentives in key sectors including cybersecurity, advanced technology, and space personnel. Additionally, the FY23 NDAA grows the U.S. Navy, which is especially important in the face of China’s rapid expansion of its navy, and ensures the Department of Defense has the hard power and infrastructure to maximize readiness and lethality now and in the future.
Highlights of Senator Tuberville’s FY23 NDAA priorities and wins for Alabama can be found below, and a full list of provisions supported by Senator Tuberville can be found in Coach Tuberville’s Defense Playbook.
SENATOR TUBERVILLE’S PRIORITIES IN THE FY23 NDAA:
In his second year on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Tuberville secured significant wins for service members, each branch of the military, and Alabama’s defense community. Senator Tuberville began the FY23 NDAA cycle in February 2022 by hosting a virtual meeting with Alabama community leaders, advocacy groups, and industry stakeholders to share his priorities and how the process would work. He also led his colleagues from the Alabama delegation in coordinated efforts to ensure consistency in priorities. Senator Tuberville and his team participated in more than 60 hearings and held more than 365 meetings with government officials, industry leaders, think tanks, and key stakeholders in preparation for the FY23 NDAA markups.
Securing America’s Interests in Space
Keeping SPACECOM at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville
- During the NDAA markup, Senator Tuberville led a bipartisan group of senators to successfully thwart an attempt to delay and politicize the decision to locate U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM) headquarters at Redstone Arsenal. The attempt would have required another lengthy and duplicative study of the Air Force’s basing decision. In 2020, the Air Force conducted a fact-based review of potential headquarters locations and, in January 2021, announced that Redstone was the preferred location. That decision was the subject of independent investigations by both the Government Accountability Office and the Department of Defense’s Inspector General, both of which found the selection of Redstone to be fair, logical, and fact-based. The final USSPACECOM basing decision is still under review, pending an announcement from the Secretary of the Air Force.
Preparing Space Leaders of the Future
- Senator Tuberville sought to expand U.S. Air Force and Space Force leaders the ability to support research and training activities for students planning to enter the national security space workforce. These opportunities will help advance the knowledge base and programs regarding space domain awareness, positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT), hypersonics, and cybersecurity.
Ensuring Reliable Access to Space
- Senator Tuberville advocated to fully fund and acknowledge the importance of the DoD’s National Security Space Launch (NSSL) program. Sixty percent of the rockets to be used in Phase Two of the NSSL are manufactured in Alabama.
- Senator Tuberville supported provisions to direct the Chief of Space Operations to establish tactically responsive requirements for all national security space launch capabilities through FY2026.
Restoring America’s Sea Superiority
Increasing the Size of the U.S. Navy
- Senator Tuberville supported the authorization of funding for a third Arleigh Burke-class destroyer (DDG-51) and two Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) ships.
- Senator Tuberville also fought to prevent the early and unnecessary retirement of ships, including Littoral Combat Ships, landing dock ships, guided missile cruisers, and expeditionary transfer docks.
Developing a Robust Shipbuilding and Maintenance Workforce
- Senator Tuberville championed a reporting requirement to study the U.S. Navy’s repair and maintenance capabilities. The study will apply a special emphasis on readiness and expanded industrial base needs, in addition to research and analysis on the capacity of private shipyards in the United States, as well as the effect of those shipyards on Naval fleet readiness.
- Senator Tuberville supported provisions to establish special incentives for workforce development within the shipbuilding industry.
- Congressional defense committees often hear from combatant commanders and service chiefs on the need for additional position, navigation, and timing (PNT) information for the warfighter. Senator Tuberville secured language within the Senate Report to accompany the NDAA that recognizes and commends Task Force 59 (TF-59), the U.S. Navy’s first operational element dedicated to integrating artificial intelligence (AI) and unmanned technologies. The language also directs the Chief of Naval Operations to provide a briefing to congressional defense committees no later than December 23, 2022 on TF-59.
- In light of attempts to force the early retirement of several Littoral Combat Ships (LCS), Senator Tuberville supported a provision to require the commander of U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) to assess potential benefits of assigning four–six LCSs to the combatant command.
Fighting for Missile Defense and Munitions
Developing a Sea Launched Cruise Missile (SLCM-N)
- Senator Tuberville supported U.S. Strategic Command’s (USSTRATCOM) number one, and only, unfunded priority — the Sea-Launched Cruise Missile (SLCM-N). The U.S. currently faces a deterrence and assurance gap when it comes to nuclear capabilities, and combatant commanders military advice should be taken seriously. Former USSTRATCOM Commander Admiral Charles Richard, a Decatur, AL native, indicated prior to his retirement that a low-yield, non-ballistic capability is needed to deter and respond to adversary threats. Senator Tuberville met twice this year with Admiral Richard and shares his growing concern for America’s aging nuclear arsenal. The NDAA continues working towards the development of a nuclear Sea-Launched Cruise Missile and requires reports on the capability from the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of the Navy, and Administrator for Nuclear Security.
Javelin Missile Procurement and Advancement
- Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the world has been reminded of the Javelin missile’s capabilities. As Senator Tuberville said when he spoke to the line workers of the Javelin production line in Troy, AL, “Now, every world leader and dictator is paying close attention to your handiwork.” These missiles have stopped the Russian Army in its tracks. Since the start of the invasion, the U.S. has given away nearly half of our arsenal of Javelins. So, Senator Tuberville pushed hard for the committee to both replenish U.S. stocks and modernize the Javelin.
Securing the Indo-Pacific Region
- Senator Tuberville continued his efforts to secure this critical capability for the Indo-Pacific region and the 160,000 Americans who live and serve in this American territory. Missile defense for Guam was U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s (INDOPACOM) number one request for two years in a row, but it was not until Senator Tuberville’s advocacy last year that Congress took steps to fund the program.
- Thanks to Senator Tuberville’s leadership, the NDAA authorizes robust funding for the development and procurement of a missile defense system for Guam. It also requires the Secretary of Defense designate a senior DoD official to be responsible for the development and deployment of the system.
Planning For Success
- Senator Tuberville supported provisions which require the Secretary of Defense to develop plans for integrated missile defense in the Middle East to protect Israel and U.S. Arab partners from Iran, as well as a strategy to use asymmetric capabilities to defeat hypersonic missile threats across the globe.
- Alabama has been a leader within the missile defense industry for decades. Senator Tuberville advocated for a provision which would require a study on efforts made to recruit and retain Army personnel who specialize in air and missile defense systems.
- Senator Tuberville also supported provisions to assess U.S. hypersonic capabilities and technologies to help amplify increased, low-cost testing across the Army, Navy, and Air Force programs.
Recruiting the Next-Generation of Warfighters
Extending Temporary Authority of Targeted Service Recruitment Incentives
- Senator Tuberville successfully extended a provision through 2025 to allow the military services to pursue their own creative and targeted recruitment efforts. As of January 31, 2022, less than 0.4% of the U.S. population are active-duty service members. The military needs to find new, creative, and patriotic ways to recruit and retain young warfighters.
- As a strong supporter of national defense and education, Senator Tuberville supported a provision which requires a report on how the DoD can improve recruitment efforts in public high schools.
- Senator Tuberville also supported provisions to require a review on marketing and advertising efforts by the DoD.
Providing Vital Military Resources
- To ensure the military and our allies are prepared for any fight, Senator Tuberville supported a $2-billion expansion of production capacity for key munitions for Ukraine, Taiwan, and U.S. forces. The NDAA also provides the Department of Defense with the authority to enter into multi-year contracts for nearly all-important munitions, and requires extensive reporting to understand how best to revitalize the U.S. munitions industrial base.
Supporting Alabama’s World-Class Military Bases, Installations, and Training Centers
Alabama is home to thousands of military personnel and contractors. Senator Tuberville was proud to support policy provisions and funding authorization for the following military facilities across the state.
- Redstone Arsenal
- Physics Laboratory ($44 million)
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Warehouses ($53 million)
- Advanced Analysis Facility ($150 million) and Backup Power Generation ($11 million) for the Missile and Space Intelligence Center (MSIC)
- Robust funding for:
- The Army’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) and Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) programs
- Long-Range Precision Fires technology
- Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellite capabilities
- Advanced air and missile defense technology and systems
- The NDAA directs the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) to produce a report on ways to increase warning time for threats from an American adversary; it also authorizes the establishment of a position to serve as the Defense Intelligence Officer for Indications and Warning.
- Fort Rucker (Novasel)
- Procurement of additional CH-47 Chinook, UH-60 Black Hawks, and AH-64 Apache helicopters
- Procurement of Army Air Traffic Control ground support systems to support Army Air Traffic Services Command, which is based at Fort Rucker
- Aviation Training Center Coast Guard Base (Mobile, AL)
- $68 million in electronic support equipment for the U.S. Coast Guard
- Montgomery Regional Airport (Dannelly Field – Air National Guard, 187th Fighter Wing)
- F-35 Weapons Load Crew Training
- Sumpter Smith Air National Guard Base – 117th Air Refueling Wing (Birmingham International Airport)
- New security services and training facility
- Anniston Army Depot
- Procurement of additional Abrams tanks
- Procurement of additional Stryker vehicles
- Improved M88 recovery vehicles
- Maxwell Air Force Base
- New Commercial Vehicle Inspection (CVI) Area and installation entry control facility. This new facility will allow for mission continuance by eliminating two airfield waivers, including a permanent over-watch position, and providing a vehicle stacking area. It will include crash-rated bollards, ballistic/blast protection for personnel, running water/restrooms, and a driver waiting/holding area. The facility will also prevent inspection operations from being observed.
Promoting Modernization and Innovation
Preserving Uranium 233 and Promoting Efficient, Clean Energy
- Senator Tuberville secured a provision that requires the Department of Defense to study uranium 233 (U-233) and the potential of a thorium cycle to fuel military bases as well as space propulsion and power. Senator Tuberville’s bill requires the Secretary of Defense to brief congressional defense committees no later than March 31, 2023, on the military uses of U-233 and thorium-based nuclear fuel cycle by the U.S., the progress our adversaries have made in this field, and thorium’s potential as a power and propulsion source in space. Senator Tuberville has been a leader on this issue, introducing legislation to prevent the destruction of U-233, a critical element used to produce efficient and clean energy. Read more about Senator Tuberville’s efforts on U-233 here.
Cybersecurity Partnerships Between the DoD and Small Defense Contractors
- Senator Tuberville fought to require the Secretary of Defense to consult with commercial industry and report to congressional defense committees on the testing and evaluation for commercial cloud service providers.
- Senator Tuberville believes small and medium-sized businesses are creative economic drivers and the most innovative wing of our defense industrial base. He believes it is self-defeating to invest significant resources into the development of cutting-edge technologies, yet allow that research to be hacked by our adversaries. As most defense contractors are small and medium-sized businesses, they are not in the financial position to defend themselves against nation-state-directed cyber-attacks. These contractors need the collective defensive capabilities of the Department of Defense to adequately safeguard our nation’s investments and industrial secrets.
Supporting Military Families
Extending the Pilot Program to Expand Eligibility for Department of Defense Education Activities (DoDEA) Schools
- Senator Tuberville secured the extension of a pilot program that allows children of service members at Maxwell Air Force Base, who live off base, to attend DoDEA schools on base. The pilot program was initially scheduled to sunset in December 2022, but now will be extended through July 1, 2029.
Preserving the Mission at Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington’s Caisson Platoon
- After it came to his attention this spring that the horses used to pull the funeral caissons at Arlington National Cemetery were living in unsanitary conditions, Senator Tuberville vowed to fix the issue. His colleagues agreed, and the NDAA requires the Secretary of the Army to implement the recommendations of the equine veterinarian’s inspection findings for the Fort Myer Caisson Barns/Paddocks and Fort Belvoir Caisson Pasture Facility. It also requires that the Secretary of the Army submit a master plan for the housing and care of all the horses within the care of the Old Guard, prioritizing their no-fail mission of honoring our nation’s heroes over other functions of the base that could be located elsewhere.
A full list of provisions in the NDAA supported by Senator Tuberville can be found in Coach Tuberville’s Defense Playbook.
Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.