This bill would authorize $731.3 billion in discretionary defense spending for fiscal year 2021, of which $662.3 billion would go to the base budget and $69 billion to Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). It would also authorize $9.1 billion for defense-related mandatory spending. An in-depth summary of how its various provisions would impact troops, military families, equipment, and various aspects of U.S. defense policy can be found below, along with amendments adopted by the Senate in the course of its consideration.
Troops & Families: This section would fully fund a 3% pay raise for the military & reauthorize more than 30 types of bonuses & special pay. It would authorize an active-duty end strength of 1,345,205 including 485,000 in the Army; 346,730 in the Navy; 180,000 in the Marines; and 333,475 in the Air Force. It would also establish a Space Force reserve component, and study the establishment of a Space Force National Guard.
Professional development opportunities for military spouses would be continued, and Dept. of Defense (DOD) efforts to provide families with affordable childcare would be continued. DOD initiatives to track & report incidents of child abuse on military installations would be improved. Oversight of privatized housing would be increased, and service secretaries would be prohibited from leasing substandard family housing.
Equipment & Construction: The acquisition & modernization of several key defense technologies would be stepped up under this bill, including:
$9.1 billion to procure 95 F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, including 60 F-35As, 12 F-35Bs, and 23 F-35Cs. Additionally, the Air Force would be allowed to utilize, modify, and operate six Turkish F-35s that were never delivered because of Turkey’s suspension from the F-35 program.
$21.3 billion for shipbuilding, including seven battle force ships and long lead time purchases for future procurement of Columbia-class & Virginia-class submarines, Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, and San Antonio-class amphibious assault ships.
$3.7 billion for weapons procurement programs, including Tomahawk missiles, Long-Range Anti-Ship Missiles, and Ground-Based Anti-Ship Missiles.
Funding for test materials, prototyping of hypersonic weapons, and planning would be increased.
Additionally, this bill would prohibit divestment of A-10 Warthog aircraft, delay divestment of certain refueling & intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft.
This bill would authorize $8.15 billion for military construction and focus on the facility sustainment backlog. It would also prohibit the DOD from conducting an additional round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) in FY2021.
Nuclear Deterrence: This section would improve DOD coordination, insight, and participation in the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) budget development process, and improve transparency of the NNSA budget for Congress & the public. It would prohibit the use of FY2021 funding to reduce the quantity or alert status of intercontinental ballistic missiles below 400, and authorize construction projects to convert Minuteman III launch facilities to Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent configurations under certain conditions.
Space: This section would make technical changes needed to continue implementation of the Space Force; continue development of the space technology base including launch vehicles and responsive launch; and authorize increased funding for space domain awareness, launch development, and space-based surveillance capability. The Space Force would continue working with research institutions to establish critical research infrastructure and develop the future workforce.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and service chiefs would be directed to report on the space-related missions and expertise within each service that should remain within each service and whether they require organized or liased Space Force personnel. The transfer of military installations would be prohibited prior to congressional defense committees receiving an analysis from the Secretary of the Air Force.
The European Deterrence Initiative (EDI) would be fully funded and enhanced to support rotational forces in Europe. The DOD would be prohibited from using any funds to reduce air base resiliency or demolish protected aircraft shelters in the European theater without creating similar protection, or to close or return existing airbases to host nations until the DOD certifies that there’s no need for a rotational military presence in the European theater.
DOD would be required to report on Russian support to racially & ethnically motivated violent extremist groups & networks in Europe & the U.S. that pose national security threats, are involved in information warfare, and increase risks to societal stability & democratic institutions.
Restrictions on military-to-military cooperation with Russia and any activities that would recognize Russian sovereignty over Crimea would be extended.
The DOD limitations on providing sensitive missile defense information to Russia and on the integration of U.S. missile defense systems into Russia’s would be extended.
This bill would express a sense of the Senate that long-term strategic competition with Russia is a top defense priority that requires sustained investment and enhanced deterrence due to the level of threat posed.
The DOD would be required to submit a report on the risk to DOD personnel, equipment, and operations due to Huawei 5G architecture in host countries & possible steps for mitigation.
The DOD would be required to consider 5G & 6G security risks posed by vendors like Huawei & ZTE when making overseas basing decisions.
The DOD limitation on the integration of U.S. missile defense systems into China’s would be extended.
Additional funding would be made available for the Hypersonic & Ballistic Tracking Sensor, components for an eight Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery, Homeland Defense Radar in Hawaii, and additional SM-311A interceptors.
The DOD would compile a classified report on the integrated air and missile defense; counter-rocket, artillery, and mortar (C-RAM); and Counter-Unmanned Aircraft posture in the CENTCOM area.
Pacific Deterrence Initiative: This section would establish the Pacific Deterrence Initiative (PDI) to send a strong signal to the Chinese Communist Party that America is deeply committed to defending its interests in the Indo-Pacific region. It would authorize $1.4 billion for PDI in FY2021 for missile defense, enhanced forward posture, and improving interoperability with allies & partners. The PDI would specifically aim to:
Improve the lethality of the Joint Force in the Indo-Pacific, including by improving active & passive defense against theater cruise, ballistic, and hypersonic missiles for bases, operating locations, and other critical infrastructure.
Enhance the design & posture of the Joint Force in the Indo-Pacific by transitioning from large, centralized, and unhardened infrastructure to smaller, dispersed, resilient, and adaptive basing; increasing the capabilities of expeditionary airfields & ports; enhancing pre-positioning of forward stocks of fuel, munitions, equipment, and material; and improving logistics & maintenance capabilities in the region.
Strengthen alliances & partnerships to increase capabilities, improve interoperability & information sharing, and support information operations capabilities with a focus on countering malign influence.
Additionally, a PDI topline budget of $5.5 billion would be authorized for FY2022, and the DOD would develop a spending plan for those resources.
Alliances & Partnerships: This section would aim to develop & strengthen mutually beneficial alliances & partnerships as part of the National Defense Strategy, and would specifically:
Authorize $4 billion for the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund & require an assessment of the Afghan government’s progress on shared security goals & fulfillment of commitments under the joint declaration on bringing peace to Afghanistan. It would also extend & modify support for the Afghan government’s reconciliation activities to ensure it’s only provided for activities including the Afghan government and don’t restrict the participation of women.
Express a sense of the Senate expressing concerns about the risks of a precipitous withdrawal of U.S. military, diplomatic, and intelligence personnel from Afghanistan & the need to ensure such decisions are conditions-based. It would also express a sense of the Senate urging the government to clear the backlog in processing Special Immigrant Visa applications for Afghan allies.
Express commitment to the Taiwan Relations Act, which assures Taiwan of U.S. military support to ensure it has self-defense capabilities needed to resist any use of force or other form of coercion that would jeopardize its security, in addition to calling for deepened bilateral ties with Taiwan.
Provide $250 million in security assistance for Ukraine, require a long-term plan for assistance to Ukraine, and support NATO designation of Ukraine as an “enhanced opportunities partner.”
Provide assistance to Iraq and to vetted Syrian groups & individuals to counter the threat posed by ISIS, and emphasize support to Syrian Democratic Support for the humane detention & repatriation of foreign terrorist fighters, and continue efforts to transition security assistance to standing assistance authorities in Iraq.
Authorize funding for the Missile Defense Agency’s cooperative programs with Israel in line with the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding.
A commission would be established to study and provide recommendations concerning the removal of names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that commemorate the Confederate States of America. The commission would develop an implementation plan, cost estimate, and criteria for renaming, among other procedures. It would allow the renaming of any base, installation, street, building, facility, aircraft, ship, place, weapon, equipment or other DOD property. The implementation plan would include a plan for collecting & incorporating local sensitivities associated with naming or renaming DOD assets, and would go into effect three years after the enactment of this legislation. The bill would exempt grave markers (not monuments) from the removal, and the commission would further define what constitutes a grave marker. The commission would have $2 million in funding to conduct its study and provide recommendations.
This bill would authorize $44 million for coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine & biotechnology research supported by the DOD.
- The DOD would be prohibited from transferring bayonets, grenades (other than stun & flash-bang grenades), weaponized tracked combat vehicles, and weaponized drones to U.S. law enforcement agencies.
- This bill would establish a grant program to incentivize the manufacturing of semiconductors to enhance the competitiveness of U.S. entities and national security. The grant program would require manufacturers to meet certain requirements, such as employing economically disadvantaged individuals.
- This bill would increase funding for a study by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention related to perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substance contamination in drinking water.
- This bill would add Parkinson's disease, bladder cancer, hypertension, and hypothyroidism to the list of veterans' diseases covered by a presumption of service connection to herbicides (like Agent Orange) used during the Vietnam War.
- This bill would require the DOD to include an element in annual cybersecurity reports addressing work with academic consortia on high priority cybersecurity research activities.