WASHINGTON—The House Armed Services Committee today approved the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022, an annual bill that authorizes military spending and sets defense policy. The bill, which is expected to be brought to the floor of the House of Representatives in the coming weeks, contains numerous provisions spearheaded by Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park, Fla., who serves as the Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations. These include measures to protect U.S. servicemembers from threats from foreign governments, to counter aggression by the Chinese Communist Party, to support the U.S.-Israel alliance, and to strengthen Orlando’s modeling, simulation, and training sector. Murphy also voted to increase overall funding for Department of Defense programs to $740 billion, nearly $25 billion above the funding level requested by the Biden administration, including a 2.7 percent pay increase for U.S. servicemembers.
“There is nothing more important than keeping the American people safe. Our country faces a complex array of threats from terrorist organizations and authoritarian countries like China, Russia, and Iran,” said Murphy, a former national security specialist at the Department of Defense. “The Armed Services Committees have successfully worked in a bipartisan way to craft a bill that will deter our adversaries, support our allies and partners, and provide our troops with the resources they need to accomplish their missions and keep us safe.”
The NDAA contains numerous Murphy-led measures, including:
- A provision requiring the Secretary of Defense to swiftly brief key Members of Congress if the Secretary determines with high confidence that a foreign government is seeking to kill or severely injure U.S. servicemembers, either directly or indirectly through proxy forces. Once notified, Congress will be in a position to take action to deter and respond to such aggression. The text of this provision was taken from Murphy’s bipartisan bill, the DEFEND Act.
- A measure, drawn from bipartisan legislation introduced by Murphy, to require the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, to prepare a report that identifies efforts by the Government of the People’s Republic of China to expand its presence and influence in Latin America and the Caribbean through diplomatic, military, and economic means, and describes the implications of such efforts for U.S. national security interests.
- An amendment that provides the Department of Defense with $5 million to conduct a competition in which small businesses in the modeling and simulation sector are awarded prizes for developing technological solutions to emerging national security challenges. Murphy’s Orlando-area district is a world leader in modeling and simulation and Murphy co-chairs the Congressional Modeling & Simulation Caucus.
- Language requiring the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, in coordination with the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, to brief Congress on all current and planned collaborative activities between U.S. and Israeli special operations forces.
Additionally, the bill includes Murphy-led provisions to:
- Require the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, in coordination with the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, to provide a report on the current and projected force posture, capabilities, and activities of special operations forces in Latin America and the Caribbean, and how they advance U.S. national security objectives and address evolving threats from state and non-state actors emanating from this critical region.
- Recognize the Memorial, the Memorial Garden, and the K9 Memorial within the National Navy SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce, Florida as the official national memorial, memorial garden, and K9 memorial of the Navy SEALs. This provision was drawn from a bipartisan bill authored by Congresswoman Murphy and Florida Congressman Brian Mast.
- Provide an additional $5.2 million to enable U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command to purchase advanced combat diving equipment, some of which is manufactured by a small business in Murphy’s Orlando-area district.
- Require the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict to prepare a long-term strategy for U.S. special operations forces to recruit and retain individuals who are proficient in critical foreign languages. This is especially important as special operators focus more of their attention on great power competition with nations like China, Russia, and Iran.