Langevin Supports Bipartisan Defense Bill for FY2018

Nov 14, 2017 Issues: Armed Services, Energy & Environment, Vote

Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, voted in favor of the Conference Report on the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which passed the House of Representatives today by a vote of 356-70. The annual defense bill, which sets policy and funding levels for the nation’s armed forces, authorizes $626.4 billion in spending for national defense and an additional $65.7 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations.

“I am proud of the work of the Armed Services Committee in developing this year’s NDAA and of our continued commitment to a bipartisan process that enhances our national security and addresses the needs of our brave service members,” said Langevin. “This bill provides a 2.4 percent pay raise for our troops, and allocates necessary resources to continue our fight against ISIL and strengthen our defenses against Russia, North Korea and other foreign actors that seek to do us harm. It also makes vital investments in submarine programs that are core to our continued naval and strategic dominance and that support thousands of jobs in Rhode Island.”  

Langevin advocated for provisions of the bill that fully fund both the Virginia-class and Columbia-class submarine programs at $5.9 billion and $1.9 billion, respectively; allocate $698 million for industrial base improvements in support of increased submarine production; and support expanded continuous production authorities under the National Sea-Based Deterrence Fund to ensure our submarines are delivered on time and under budget — all of which will support jobs at General Dynamics Electric Boat’s facilities in Quonset Point.

“In addition to supporting our warfighters by way of submarines, I was also proud to advocate for critical academic-industry partnerships that are completing work at the University of Rhode Island to achieve undersea dominance through manufacturing technology programs. I believe that these types of partnerships are the backbone of a successful defense industrial base, and I am glad to support our local institutions who lead the way in this research and development.”

As Ranking Member of the Emerging Threats and Capabilities (ETC) Subcommittee and co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, Langevin was pleased the final bill preserves his language to revive the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Cyber Scholarship Program, which will provide scholarships for students in exchange for their serving at the Department after they graduate.

“Provisions in this year’s NDAA take important steps forward in protecting our nation from growing cyber threats by training our future cyber workforce. In addition, this bill requires the DOD to conduct a Cyber Posture Review to ensure we have appropriate authorities and policies in place to allow our forces to operate successfully in cyberspace.”

Additionally, Langevin fought to secure additional funding for critical research and development projects across our labs and industry, such as the Electromagnetic Railgun.

“We are charged with ensuring our nation’s warfighters are never sent into a fair fight,” said Langevin. “We must provide sufficient resources to transition these types of game-changing technologies out of the labs and into the field so that we prevent them from falling into the ‘valley of death.’”

The Conference Report also includes a Langevin amendment expressing the sense of Congress that climate change is a direct threat to national security. Specifically, the bill requires a report on the top 10 most vulnerable military installations in each of the Services and how combatant commander requirements may change as a result of a changing climate. This amendment received bipartisan support during House consideration of the NDAA and represents a significant shift in Congressional policy toward climate change.

“I’m thrilled that the finalized language includes my amendment that will better prepare our armed forces to face the threat a changing climate is already posing to mission resiliency and to adapt to a rapidly changing strategic landscape. Congress has ignored this issue for far too long, and I hope this provision represents a turning point on climate change denial in Washington, D.C. We need leadership from our elected representatives if we are to effectively reduce the economic, environmental, and national security risks we face from a warming Earth.”

While Langevin supported the final conference report, he did raise concerns about the broader budgetary environment as the government nears a potential shut down on December 8. The NDAA sets funding authorization levels, but additional appropriations legislation will be needed before next month’s deadline.

“This bill makes important investments in our national security, but Congress needs a responsible spending plan for the entire federal government, including the Department of Defense. Without a long-term budgetary solution, sequestration will continue to have devastating effects on our armed forces. I look forward to working with my colleagues to find a permanent solution to provide stability for both our national security and the non-defense programs so many Rhode Islanders rely on.”

The NDAA now heads to the Senate for a final vote.