WASHINGTON—The U.S. Senate today passed the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022, following passage in the U.S. House of Representatives last week. This bill, which will now be sent to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law, is annual legislation that authorizes military spending and sets defense policy. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park, Fla., who serves as the Vice Chair of the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations, secured many of her provisions in the final version of the bill. These include measures to protect U.S. servicemembers from threats from foreign governments and to counter aggression by the Chinese Communist Party in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Murphy-supported NDAA also provides a 2.7 percent pay increase for U.S. servicemembers.
“There is nothing more important than keeping the American people safe and this year’s defense bill will ensure our military has everything they need to protect our nation and confront the challenges ahead,” said Murphy, a former national security specialist at the Department of Defense. “This bipartisan legislation contains crucial provisions that I fought hard for, including measures to protect our troops serving abroad from threats from foreign governments and to monitor China’s efforts to project power in South America, Central America, the Caribbean, and Mexico. I’m especially proud that the bill also provides the support our servicemembers and veterans have earned.”
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 State, in consultation with other federal agencies, 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, intelligence, and economic means, and describes the implications of such efforts for U.S. national security interests.
- A requirement that 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.
- Language intended to sustain and strengthen collaborative activities between U.S. and Israeli special operations forces.
Additionally, the bill includes provisions that:
- Authorize a 2.7 percent pay increase for our servicemembers
- Make historic changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice to combat sexual assault in the military
- Make key investments to address the threat of climate change and bolster energy resiliency across the Department of Defense
- Authorize 2 weeks of paid parental bereavement leave for all federal employees
- Authorize funding for Ukraine and the European Deterrence Initiative
- Authorize funding for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative to address the China challenge and support allies and partners in Asia
U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy represents Florida’s Seventh Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, where she serves on the influential House Ways and Means Committee. The district includes all of Seminole County and much of northern Orange County, including downtown Orlando, Maitland, Winter Park, and the University of Central Florida. Previously, Murphy was a businesswoman and college instructor who also served as a national security specialist in the Office of the Secretary of Defense where she received numerous awards, including the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service. Murphy lives in Winter Park with her husband and two children.