WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), released the following statement after the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 (NDAA) passed through committee mark-up on a bipartisan vote. Rosen, who voted in favor of the bill, secured numerous victories for Nevada’s servicemembers and national security installations, including via five amendments she led that were adopted by the committee.
“I was proud to help put together this year's National Defense Authorization Act, which includes a well-deserved pay raise for our troops, no funding for Yucca Mountain, and long-term support for Nevada bases and facilities, and the missions of national importance they execute,” said Senator Rosen. “This year's NDAA also takes bold steps to ensure our nation's readiness and promote the wellbeing of our servicemembers in Nevada and across our nation. The NDAA also includes my bipartisan legislation to establish a Civilian Cybersecurity Reserve program to ensure our nation remains protected from cyber threats.”
BACKGROUND: Senator Rosen’s amendments included in the committee-passed FY22 NDAA include:
- The core of Rosen’s Civilian Cyber Reserve Act, bipartisan legislation she introduced earlier in April with Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). The NDAA provision establishes a Civilian Cybersecurity Reserve as a four-year pilot project to provide the Department of Defense with qualified civilian personnel to respond to significant cyber incidents and keep our nation safe at times of greatest need. Individuals would be authorized to serve in temporary positions, for up to six months, as Federal civil service employees to ensure CYBERCOM can maintain a surge capacity.
- A requirement that DOD publicly disclose the results of any PFAS testing conducted on or at areas surrounding military installations, in order to inform servicemembers and military families of the potential risk of exposure to this hazardous substance.
- $100 million in funding for 5 MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft. The MQ-9 is central to the mission at Nevada’s Creech Air Force Base, and critical to supporting our troops overseas for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance purposes. The original base bill – like the President’s FY22 Budget – did not include any funding for the MQ-9.
- Long-term support for the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS). NNSS is the only facility in the nation equipped to accommodate subcritical experiments, which ensures the reliability of our nuclear stockpile without the need to conduct nuclear testing. Despite being a facility of national importance, NNSS does not have a base budget of funding which they can rely on for future years planning of infrastructure projects. Senator Rosen’s amendment requires the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to report to Congress on their plan to correct this funding approach, and ensure NNSS remains a center of excellence.
- The NDAA also raises the NNSA minor construction threshold from $20 million to $25 million, which will help NNSS build and repair aging infrastructure.
Senator Rosen’s submitted requests included in the base text of the committee-passed FY22 NDAA include:
- No funding for Yucca Mountain. Thanks to the Senator’s efforts, this year’s NDAA does not include funding for defense nuclear waste storage at Yucca Mountain.
- A provision holding the Pentagon accountable for not yet utilizing existing law to financially assist our most junior servicemembers in need of support when transitioning off base to private housing. Rosen’s amendment requires the Secretary of Defense to brief Congress on DOD’s plan to provide partial dislocation allowance payments to junior enlisted troops who are forced out of military-provided housing due to shortages and have to incur costs before they are eligible to receive Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH). Senator Rosen recently visited Nellis and Creech Air Force Bases, where Airmen talked to her about this challenge and the need to change how BAH formulas are calculated.
- As it currently stands, Airmen stationed at Nellis and Creech AFB receive BAH for the cost of living of those areas, rather than the locations they actually live. Most Creech Airmen, for instance, live in Las Vegas, which has a higher cost of living than the Indian Springs, NV BAH they receive. The NDAA also includes a requirement for the Department of Defense to brief Congress on how they determine BAH formulas and how to better address these discrepancies.
- Report language based on legislation introduced by Senators Cortez Masto and Rosen expressing the sense of the Senate that Congress should have a significant oversight role on any potential resumption of explosive nuclear testing.
- The Military Hunger Prevention Act, bipartisan, bicameral legislation Senator Rosen helped introduce earlier this year to support active duty military families experiencing food insecurity by creating a basic needs allowance to help military families in need put food on the table.
Other key provisions to benefit Nevada, our servicemembers, and our national security include:
- A 2.7% pay raise for our troops.
- $740 billion in overall spending for our national defense.
- Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Military Justice Improvement And Increasing Prevention Act. This bipartisan legislation – which Senator Rosen was proud to co-sponsor –would professionalize how the military prosecutes serious crimes, including sexual assault, by moving the decision to prosecute from the chain of command to independent, trained, professional military prosecutors, and provides for several new prevention provisions such as more and better training for commanders and increased physical security measures, while ensuring that commanders still have the ability to provide strong leadership and ensure a successful command climate.
- An amendment led by Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) and Senator Rosen making the US-Israel Operations and Technology Working Group mandatory and directing further collaboration between the U.S., Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and the signatories of the Abraham Accords.
- An increase in parental leave to 12 weeks for all servicemembers.
- Parity in special and incentive pay for members of the reserve and active components.
- Support for Israel, our closest ally in the Middle East, through authorization to research, develop, and procure cooperative missile defense programs, including the Iron Dome short-range rocket defense system, David’s Sling Weapon System, and Arrow 3 Upper Tier Interceptor Program.