The Defense Department has applauded the passage of the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act at the swiftest pace in 20 years, Pentagon officials said Aug. 1.
In a statement, DOD officials noted that this year’s bill passed with overwhelmingly bipartisan support — a vote of 87-10 in the Senate and 359-54 in the House.
The bill authorizes a $717 billion national defense budget that “rebuilds our military, increases lethality, strengthens our alliances and partnerships and reforms the way we do business,” the Defense Department statement said.
“I am grateful for the strong commitment of members on both sides of the aisle to pass this year’s NDAA in record time. Together, they have demonstrated the deep and abiding bipartisan support our military enjoys,” Defense Secretary James N. Mattis said. “It is now our duty to implement these policies responsibly and ensure a culture of performance and accountability.”
The Pentagon statement said the approved bill:
— Increases the military’s authorized active-duty end strength by 15,600;
— Raises service member pay by 2.6 percent, the largest raise in nine years;
— Recognizes the importance of modernizing and strengthening the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to more effectively guard against the risk to national security posed by certain types of foreign investment;
— Provides waiver relief to key U.S. partners and allies from certain Russian-related sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act; and
— Strengthens cyber defenses, prioritizes U.S. Cyber Command readiness and affirms the cyber authorities of the secretary of defense.
“The department looks forward to working with Congress in the same strong bipartisan spirit to fund our nation’s defense priorities before the end of the fiscal year,” the Pentagon statement said.