Home America US Senate Passes a Massive Defense Bill

US Senate Passes a Massive Defense Bill

The US Senate passed a bill allowing the government to spend about $770 billion in defense for the year 2022.

Earlier last week, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was passed in the lower house of the Congress. After the NDAA gets approval of both the Senate and the House of Representatives, the bill will require the President’s signature before becoming a law.

The approximately $768 billion budget got 89 votes in favor and 10 against in the Senate. In the House of Representatives, the bill was passed in a 363-70 vote. Out of this $768.2 billion package, about $740 billion would be spent for the Defense Department. About $27.8 billion is meant for defense-related activities in the Department of Energy, while another $378 million for other defense-related activities.

The NDAA allows President Joe Biden to spend $25 billion more in defense for the next year. The act allows pay hikes for military personnel as well as civilian staff employed by the Pentagon. The Act also allows changes to the military justice system to address sexual harassment cases in the military ranks. Under this bill, military commanders will no longer prosecute sex offences, instead it will be taken up by independent military lawyers.

The bill also proposes setting up of a “multiyear independent Afghanistan War Commission,” to look into the 20-year-old conflict. The commission will also look at the “chaotic” withdrawal from Afghanistan. The Secretary of Defense would provide reports to the Congress on the US’ counterterrorism capabilities in the region. The Secretary should also report on “accountability” of military equipment left in Afghanistan, and plans on evacuating Americans and “allies” from Afghanistan.

To deal with extremism in the military, the bill also proposes that the Pentagon submit a report on measures taken to deal with extremism in the ranks.

Observers and industry insiders are watching the cycle of the bill with a lot of anticipation, as this bill not only proposes a massive increase in defense budget but addresses several crucial issues in the defense organization.

The bill also looks at strategies to deal with geopolitical threats. The bill has $300 million for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which is a support to Ukraine’s armed forces. About $4 billion is allocated for the European Defense Initiative and $150 million for Baltic security cooperation. For the Pacific, $7.1 billion is allocated under the bill, with new tension buildup between China and Taiwan.