Wicker Priorities Advance in Annual Defense Bill

Miss. Senator Praises Support for Troop Pay Raise, Shipbuilding, Military Modernization in Bill

June 16, 2022

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today praised committee passage of the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (FY 23 NDAA). The legislation, which Wicker helped to write, defines and maps out defense investments and priorities for the years ahead.

“Today the Senate Armed Services Committee overwhelmingly passed a forceful proposal that will strengthen our national defense and support our military servicemembers,” Wicker said. “I am appreciative of Chairman Reed and Ranking Member Inhofe for shepherding this measure through committee.”

“As President Reagan once said, we can safeguard peace only with strength. This year’s NDAA, if enacted, would send a strong signal to nations like China and Russia that the U.S. is serious about our national defense during the most dangerous time since the Cold War. This bill would also help to retain our maritime superiority by boosting our fleet size and strength, while making key investments in emerging defense technologies.”

The Senate Armed Services Committee approved a topline figure of $858 billion, 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 long-term 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 support additional funding for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative;
  • Clarify the role of the Department of Defense is to promote military lethality, not advancing a social agenda. 

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, while also prohibiting the retirement of three dock landing (LSD) ships, and provide $235 million for LPD authorization;
  • Language that would authorize a five-year contract for Huntington Ingalls and Bath Ironworks to construct 10 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.