WASHINGTON—The U.S. House of Representatives today passed the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2023, an annual bill that authorizes military spending and sets defense policy. The bill 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 counter Russian aggression in Latin America and the Caribbean, to enhance U.S. Special Operations Command’s warfighting capabilities, and to strengthen Orlando’s modeling, simulation, and training sector. Murphy also voted to increase overall funding for the Department of Defense by $37 billion, from the $773 billion requested by the Biden administration to $810 billion, which includes a 4.6 percent pay increase for U.S. servicemembers.
“To meet the defense challenges of tomorrow, we must invest in the people, programs, and technologies protecting America and her allies today,” said Murphy, a former national security specialist at the Department of Defense. “I was proud to work on this bipartisan bill as a leader on the House Armed Services Committee, which will deliver the largest servicemember pay raise in decades, as well as measures to help deter Russian and Chinese aggression and enable the U.S. military to increase assistance to our allies and partners like Ukraine. These investments will ensure our military forces have everything they need to combat the complex array of international threats and domestic challenges our nation faces.”
The NDAA includes the following Murphy-led provisions:
Permanently authorizes what has been a temporary authority, known as “Section 1202,” which gives U.S. Special Operations Command the power to engage in “irregular warfare” against nation-states and terrorist organizations, and increases the amount that Special Operations Command is annually allowed to spend under this authority from $15 million to $25 million. Murphy partnered with Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) on this provision.
Requires the Department of Defense to prepare a report that assesses efforts by Russia to expand its presence and influence in Latin America and the Caribbean, so that the U.S. can develop an effective counter-strategy. This provision is a complement to a provision that Murphy secured in last year’s NDAA, which required both a classified and unclassified assessment of China’s efforts to expand its presence and influence in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Requires an annual report prepared by the Department of Defense for Congress on China’s military and security developments to now include a section on the capabilities and doctrine of China’s special operations forces, a subject about which U.S. policymakers need more information. This measure was drawn from a standalone bill introduced by Murphy.
Recognizes 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. Murphy partnered with Congressman Brian Mast (R-FL) on this provision.
Requires the Department of Defense to assess the current level of interoperability between China and Russia’s military, so that the U.S. military is better prepared to deter and defeat any joint threat posed by these two nations.
Clarifies that TRICARE, the military’s health insurance program, will provide servicemembers and their families access to medical tattooing as part of their post-mastectomy or post-traumatic injury breast reconstruction. Murphy partnered with Congressman Derek Kilmer (D-WA) on this provision.
The bill also includes the following Murphy-led provisions:
Authorizes at least $57.5 million in funding for modeling, simulation, and training-related research and development. This funding will support Orlando’s world-class modeling and simulation sector, whose technologies provide realistic and safe training to America’s warfighters.
Requires the Department of Defense to prepare a report on steps taken, or proposed to be taken, by the Department to support the military and people of the Bahamas—located 50 miles from Florida—and to advance U.S. security interests. This is especially important in light of China’s efforts to expand its influence in the Bahamas. Murphy partnered with Congressman Michael Waltz (R-FL) on this provision.
Establishes a reward program for cybersecurity operations and authorizes the Secretary of Defense and the Secretaries of the military departments to present honorary recognitions and monetary awards for innovation in cyberspace operations to members of the armed forces.
Requires the Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Space Operations to prepare a review of the staffing requirements for current and planned cyber squadrons of the Space Force.
Requires the Department of Defense to prepare a report on the current capabilities of Iran-backed terrorist organizations and on the impact that easing economic sanctions on Iran would have on the capabilities of those organizations. This measure was drawn from a bill that Murphy authored with Congressman Ronny Jackson (R-TX).