Langevin Votes to Advance Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act

Jun 13, 2019 Issues: Armed Services, Cybersecurity

WASHINGTON – Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, voted to advance H.R. 2500, the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), to the full House of Representatives after a day-long committee markup. The annual defense bill, which passed out of committee this morning by a vote of 33-24, authorizes $655.9 billion in spending for national defense and an additional $69 billion for overseas operations.

“Supporting the brave members of America’s armed forces who risk their lives in defense of our nation is one the greatest privileges and responsibilities I have as a member of Congress,” said Langevin. “This bill strengthens our military at home and abroad and provides our service members with a well-deserved pay raise.”

In his role as Chairman of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities (IETC) Subcommittee, Langevin worked alongside Ranking Member Elise Stefanik (R-NY) to advance policies and programs that reflect the evolving threats facing the nation. The IETC portion of the NDAA, which authorizes $51 billion, continues to support USCYERCOM’s efforts to defend the nation in cyberspace. Reflecting a desire to ensure U.S. policies contribute to global stability in this new domain, the bill enhances Congressional oversight of offensive operations and invests heavily in improving the cybersecurity workforce. It builds upon prior years’ provisions to improve the utilization and well-being of special operations forces, and funds further development of game-changing technologies including directed energy systems and electromagnetic railgun. During consideration of the IETC portion of the bill, Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) offered an amendment consisting of the text of the Securing American Science and Technology Act (SASTA) of 2019, a bill that Langevin joined Sherrill in introducing late last month; the amendment passed by voice vote.

“From the theft of intellectual property from our defense industrial base to espionage aimed at our research institutions, the threats to our nation are evolving, and the IETC portion of this year’s NDAA takes important steps to combat them,” said Langevin. “The IETC priorities in the bill include provisions to enhance the protection of critical technology and research, strengthen the Pentagon’s cybersecurity operations, and bolster our research and development ecosystem to ensure America retains its technological advantages over its adversaries.”

Langevin, who also sits on the Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, supported increased investments in the nation’s submarine fleet, which will benefit thousands of workers in Rhode Island employed at General Dynamics Electric Boat facilities at Quonset Point. For the first time, the NDAA funds the procurement of three Virginia-class submarines, a direct testament to the advocacy of Langevin and his colleague Congressman Joe Courtney (D-CT).

“Electric Boat employs thousands of Rhode Islanders directly and supports the livelihoods of thousands more through its robust local supply chain,” said Langevin. “The submarines we build in Rhode Island are critical to our military’s ability to safeguard the seas and to our state’s economy.”

In the FY17 NDAA, Langevin successfully included a landmark amendment that unequivocally put Congress on the record stating that climate change is a direct threat to the national security of the United States. In this year’s NDAA, Langevin included language requiring DoD to better plan for climate resiliency at its facilities. New installation master plans will have to assess current climate vulnerabilities and plan for mitigating the associated risks. Retrofits of existing installations will also require climate risk assessments.

“Climate change is a direct threat to our national security and it is already affecting resiliency and readiness,” said Langevin. “Top national defense experts, military leaders and members of the intelligence community agree on this issue, yet the Trump Administration still refuses to treat climate change as the urgent threat that it is. I am pleased climate change language in this year’s NDAA requires the Pentagon to take additional steps to proactively address the effects of a warming globe.”

Responding to continued foreign efforts to influence our elections and undermine our democracy, Langevin included a provision to develop and study novel civics education programs to boost participation in the democratic process, increase media literacy, and strengthen resiliency against disinformation campaigns. During full committee consideration, Langevin offered several amendments, all of which were adopted, and which include provisions to:

  • Require an independent study of ways to improve recruitment and retention of English language learners;
  • Direct the DoD to report on its programs to support adoptive and foster parents in the military; and
  • Add art and design to an existing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education program (changing STEM to STEAM).

The NDAA now heads to the full House for consideration, which is expected in July.