U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today voted for the Conference Report to accompany the FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which sets priorities for military spending for the coming year.
"On the whole, this conference report is good for our service members and our state," said Wicker, who serves as Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower. "Defense manufacturing and production will continue to be an important part of Mississippi's economy, supporting thousands of jobs. There is still much work to be done to avert sequestration's disastrous, across-the-board defense cuts, but passage of the Defense Authorization is a positive step."
The Conference Report authorizes $633.3 billion for national defense programs, including $88.5 billion in overseas contingency operations, which funds the war in Afghanistan. The legislation also promotes proper stewardship of taxpayer dollars by requiring the Secretary of Defense to implement a plan to reduce the size of the Defense Department's civilian bureaucracy commensurate with the legislation's five percent reduction in active-duty military service members.
As a conferee to the Senate-House negotiations on the NDAA, Wicker also supported several provisions that remain in the final Conference Report, including:
* a provision expressing the sense of Congress that the Navy should prioritize procurement of the next generation of amphibious assault ships;
* the multiyear procurement of the DDG-51 Arleigh Burke class destroyers built in Pascagoula
* the reversal of the Air Force's proposed retirement of RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 30 unmanned aircraft built in Moss Point;
* a provision that ensures freedom of conscience for military chaplains;
* a requirement that the Department of Defense report to Congress on insider attacks on American troops in Afghanistan and the measures to counter insider threats to U.S. and coalition troops;
* an amendment to ensure military construction projects avoid unnecessary costs related to third party energy-efficient building standards through increased transparency; and
* a bipartisan provision to recognize the success of Israel's Iron Dome missile shield system.