Today the House Armed Services Committee held the mark-up of the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act.
Increase Top Line
The first amendment up in the chairman’s mark is Rep. Mike Roger’s (R-AL), ranking member, HASC amendment to boost the topline by $23.9B. Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MD) said he supports the GOP amendment to tack $23.9B onto the NDAA topline. In July, Brown said, “I could support a $25 billion increase.” Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) was another Democrat would supported the amendment among others. In the end, 13 Democrats supported the increase with a vote of 42-17.
HASC has turned their attention to the Chairman’s Mark of the NDAA. Things have moved along at lightning speed pace. Typically, this Mark does not even begin until late into the evening. Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), chairman, HASC, says, “there’s gonna be a lot of amendments” and says they may do multiple blocks of votes.
One amendment in the Subcommittee on Cyber, Innovative Technologies, and Information Systems Mark says,
“Directs the Chief of Space Operations, in coordination with the Chief Scientist of the Space Force, to establish a university consortium for space technology development that will support the Space Force’s research, development and demonstration needs.”
The Intel and Special Ops en bloc of amendments is attached. One item included:
The committee notes that in February 2019 the Defense Intelligence Agency published a report titled “Challenges to Security in Space” that examined the space and counterspace programs that could challenge U.S. or partner interests in the space domain. Due to the rapidly changing domain of space, the committee directs the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency to submit to the House Armed Services Committee, no later than October 1, 2021, an unclassified update to the 2019 space security report.
“With a move to prohibit new Space Force programs unless the service acquisition chief certifies there is no available commercial alternative, the House Armed Services Committee is taking a stance that the Defense Department must begin relying more on commercial space services … The Strategic Forces subcommittee’s markup language further slapped DoD for lacking a strategy to incorporate commercial space situational awareness/space domain awareness (SSA/SDA) capabilities, data and analysis into the Space Force’s own efforts.”
Tactical Air and Land Forces
The committee approved an en bloc package of amendments, which included a provision introduced by Lisa McClain, R-Mich., requesting a briefing from Army Futures Command on the feasibility of creating a cybersecurity research center. It also featured an amendment by Don Bacon, R-Neb., that directs the Pentagon to brief the committee on its plans to field counter-drone capabilities.
The committee approved an en bloc group of amendments, including one by Michael Waltz, R-Fla., that would require the head of U.S. Strategic Command to alert the committee if the Chinese stockpile of nuclear weapons exceeds the U.S. stockpile.
Intelligence and Special Operations
The committee adopted an en bloc group of amendments. Those amendments included provisions that would require quarterly updates on the security situation in Afghanistan by Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., and on the threat from al-Qaida and related terrorist groups in Afghanistan by Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.
The committee approved two en bloc groups of amendments. One, introduced by Jason Crow, D-Colo., would establish a Space National Guard.
The committee adopted two en bloc groups of amendments. They included an amendment introduced by Anthony G. Brown, D-Md., that would create a pilot program for putting data recorders on military tactical vehicles. This follows multiple fatal accidents during training exercises in military vehicles.
Another approved amendment, by Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., would require an annual report from the secretary of the Navy on ship maintenance, an issue that has plagued the service with delays and cost overruns.
In recorded votes, the committee adopted two amendments by Michigan Democrat Elissa Slotkin related to perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, better known as PFAS, which have contaminated many military installations through their use in firefighting foam. The first, which was adopted by a 31-26 margin, requires the Defense Department to adhere to the strictest environmental standard, be it federal or state, during cleanup efforts. The second, adopted 31-27, restricts the purchase of items containing certain chemicals.
Cyber, Innovative Technologies and Information Systems
The committee approved an en bloc group of amendments, including one from Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., that would instruct the secretary of Defense to conduct a feasibility study on creating a single clearinghouse responsible for recruitment and retention of cyber professionals.
Also in that group was an amendment by Jim Langevin, D-R.I., that would require the Defense secretary to submit a copy of the electromagnetic spectrum superiority strategy to the committee, as well as a report on its implementation.
Jim Banks, R-Ind., introduced a standalone amendment that would have required the Defense Department to disclose to the committee all of the materials, including sensitive emails, it reviewed during an investigation into the award of the $10 billion JEDI cloud computing contract. The committee rejected the amendment, 28-30, with Democrats arguing that rehashing the political meddling with the high-profile contract would only slow down the process of moving Defense Department data onto a cloud.