U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, voted Thursday in support of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2013. This afternoon, Senator Fischer released the following statement:
"After many months of hard work, the Senate Armed Services Committee passed an important, bipartisan defense authorization bill. This legislation ensures our men and women in uniform have the resources they need to fulfill their many missions. I was pleased to support the measure, which addresses a number of national defense funding priorities. Importantly, the bill also supports STRATCOM's vital missions of missile defense and nuclear deterrence. Nebraskans know we live in an increasingly dangerous world, and this bill goes a long way in ensuring our military is ready to meet 21st century challenges."
Fischer Amendments: Senator Fischer offered several amendments relating to nuclear force structure and joined Senators Ayotte, Shaheen, and Blumenthal on amendments concerning missile defense and sexual assault. All amendments were adopted by the committee with strong bipartisan support.
This legislation accomplishes the following important goals:
Approves the next portion of funding for the new facility at STRATCOM;
Requires the Air Force to submit a detailed plan on the acquisition and installation of critical systems required for STRATCOM's new facility;
Supports nuclear modernization to bring our strategic forces into the 21st century;
Enhances the Nation's missile defense system by providing additional resources for sensors;
Extends critical counter-terrorism and counter-proliferation programs, and invests in advanced, next-generation technologies -- all missions overseen by the Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee, on which Fischer serves as Ranking Member.
This legislation contains some problematic provisions, which Senator Fischer hopes to address when the bill reaches the Senate floor:
Relaxes existing restrictions on the transfer of detainees currently held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to the United States and foreign nations. In its markup, members of the Committee agreed to delay their debate on the matter until the bill reaches the Senate floor.
Fails to comply with funding limits set by the Budget Control Act. Congress needs to confront this funding reality and fix the problems brought on by decades of excessive spending, instead of ignoring it and writing legislation that is $52 billion over the legal limit.
Note: The National Defense Authorization Act is the annual defense policy bill, which authorizes defense spending for the fiscal year and sets policy priorities for the U.S. military.