Wicker Praises National Defense Bill Agreement

Miss. Senator Touts Victories That Would Boost Troop Pay, End Vaccine Mandate, and Help Beat China

December 8, 2022

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today praised a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to advance the package to the Senate:

“This vote is a big step forward for American security,” Wicker said. “With an additional $45 billion included for national defense over President Biden’s woefully inadequate defense proposal, this year’s NDAA sends a strong message to our adversaries and ensures that our service members have the tools they need to keep us safe. I congratulate Senators Jim Inhofe and Jack Reed for their hard work to advance this legislation, and I look forward to helping them get it across the finish line before the end of this Congress.”

“I especially appreciate Senator Inhofe for holding the line on many of this year’s toughest fights. Under his leadership, conservatives prevailed against efforts to force women to register for the draft and secured a provision that will eliminate the Biden Administration’s disastrous COVID vaccine mandate.”­­

“As China and Russia race forward with their own military buildups, our only response can be to show we are serious about our own defense programs. I will continue fighting to ensure our force is laser-focused on protecting our freedoms above all else.”

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) includes $858 billion for national defense programs, surpassing President Biden’s inadequate proposal by $45 billion. The figure is intended to adjust the budget to account for record high inflation while also adding $25 billion more for unfunded requirements.

The bill would put forth a 4.6 percent pay raise for Department of Defense employees, a number competitive with the private sector. The measure also would secure a major boost for Navy shipbuilding programming by rejecting President Biden’s inadequate plans for the fleet.

Among other provisions, the Senate’s defense proposal contains several Wicker priorities, including language that would:

  • Boost support for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, a defense program integral to deterring Chinese aggression;
  • Support modernizing the nuclear triad and retain the sea-launched nuclear cruise missile (SLCM-N) program;
  • Improve defense industrial base supply chain security and acquisition efforts;
  • Deepen ties with allies by increasing security relationships with Taiwan and Baltic countries, and adding expansive oversight and reporting requirements to the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative;
  • Keep the DOD focused on warfighting by excluding multiple liberal provisions, including one that would have required extremism training for every departing service member.

The legislation also incorporates provisions Wicker supported that would have a direct impact on Mississippi, including:

  • Amendments that would protect and expand the Navy’s Amphibious ship programming by establishing a requirement for 31 traditional amphibious ships, and provide $250 million for LPD advance procurement;
  • Language that would authorize the Secretary of the Navy to enter into one or more multi-year contracts for Huntington Ingalls and Bath Ironworks to construct up to 15 Arleigh Burke-class Guided Missile Destroyers (DDG-51s), while also requiring the Navy to cooperate with Ingalls and Bath on the next-generation of destroyers (DDG(X));
  • Language that would provide major boosts to Mississippi military institutions, including $20 million for the Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg, $10 million for a new facility at Keesler Air Force Base, and increased Navy support for the Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School (NAVSCIATTS) in Hancock County.

Read a full summary of this year’s NDAA here.