AFA Applauds Passage of NDAA, Urges President Biden to Sign the Bill
December 16, 2022
The overwhelming bipartisan vote in favor of the $858 billion National Defense Authorization Act on Dec. 15 demonstrated Congress’ support for the Air and Space Forces and the necessary measures to modernize and strengthen our armed forces.
The Air & Space Forces Association applauds Congress for its action and urges President Biden to quickly sign the measure, ensuring our U.S. military can continue to operate seamlessly into the new year.
The policy bill, which includes $816.7 billion for the Pentagon, authorizes funding for national security, but Congress must still pass a separate appropriations act to fund those activities. Lawmakers have reached agreement on a framework for an omnibus spending measure, but are still working on the details for legislation that can pass both houses of Congress.
“It’s gratifying to see strong bipartisan support for the Department of Defense,” said AFA Chairman of the Board Bernie Skoch. “AFA is particularly pleased that with this legislation Congress is increasing our nation’s investment in national defense, and in particular in our Air and Space Forces. We encourage President Biden to sign this bill into law and to continue improving, modernizing, and strengthening our armed forces in the year to come. Never has having a ready and capable military been more critical to our nation.”
AFA also praised the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the two Armed Services Committees, Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), the Ranking Member; and Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and Rep. Mike Rogers, (R-Ala.), Ranking Member. The 2023 NDAA was named for Inhofe, who retires at the end of this term. AFA awarded Inhofe its Symington Award, for distinguished service on behalf of national defense by a civilian, earlier this year.
Among the issues the leaders agreed to were several advanced by AFA, including:
Throughout 2022, the Air & Space Forces Association advocated for a comprehensive strategy for the U.S. Space Force, which we believe will lead to our continued superiority in space. The 2022 NDAA directs the Air Force Secretary, in consultation with the Chief of Space Operations, to submit a report no later than June 30, 2023, detailing the Space Force’s strategic objectives and a specific plan to achieve those objectives. The Committee Report language requires the report to address most of the points contained in AFA’s legislative proposal.
AFA applauds the decision to prohibit retirement of any F-22s between enactment of the Fiscal 2023 NDAA and September 30, 2027 and to maintain an F-22 force of at least 184 aircraft, an important milestone as China ramps up production of its own fifth-generation J-20 fighter. While the funds were not authorized to recapitalize the Block 20s to the modernized Block 30 standard, the bill does require the Comptroller General to audit the cost of the proposed modernization.
AFA also supports the increase of five F-35A strike fighters in the final version of the NDAA, bringing the Air Force’s 2023 procurement to 38. The F-35 is the only fifth-generation fighter still produced in the western world. And, while the additional aircraft are a welcomed addition to the fleet, the annual buy should be closer to 48 to ensure the Air Force has the modern, capable, fighter force it needs for the future fight.
“AFA will continue to advocate for the strongest Air and Space Forces possible. We are pleased that Congress is taking steps to properly equip our Airmen and Guardians so they can do their jobs to the best of their abilities and return home safely to their families,” Skoch said.
The Air & Space Forces Association is the only professional military association exclusively dedicated to promoting dominant U.S. Air and Space Forces as the foundation of a strong National Defense. Founded in 1946 as a non-profit membership association, AFA is dedicated to educating the public on critical issues in air power, space power, and national security; advocating for dominant U.S. Air and Space Forces as the foundation of a strong national defense; supporting Airmen, Guardians, and their Families; and honoring the enduring heritage of America’s Air and Space Forces and veterans.