The US Senate voted last month to pass a roughly $770 billion defense spending bill for fiscal year 2022.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) cleared the House and now goes to President Joe Bidens desk to be signed into law.
Passed in the Senate in an 89-10 vote, the $768.2 billion package provides $740 billion for the Defense Department, $27.8 billion for defense-related activities in the Department of Energy, and another $378 million for other defense-related activities.
The NDAA authorizes $25 billion to increase Biden’s defense budget request for fiscal year 2022. Moreover, it gives a 2.7% pay raise for military service members and the Pentagon’s civilian employees and a 5.1% increase in their Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH).
Each fiscal year, the President sets a list of goals and priorities for Congress to consider. The Biden Administration’s 2022 defense budget goals included defeating COVID-19, prioritizing China as a pacing threat, military innovation and modernization and addressing “advanced and persistent threats” from Russia, Iran and North Korea.
The finalized 2022 NDAA focuses on strategic competition with China and Russia, military modernization, disruptive technologies like hypersonic weapons, artificial intelligence, 5G and quantum computing.
The budget includes provisions to reduce military Commanders’ authority to investigate certain crimes like sexual assault; instead, independent investigators outside the chain of command will lead the process.
The bill also makes sexual harassment a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and allocates significant investments for military family, education and aid programs.
The 2022 NDAA created a new basic needs allowance for low-income service members. The allowance would provide extra monthly income for military families with household incomes at or below 130% of the federal poverty rate.
In the past, qualifying families have been eligible for food stamps or other state low-income assistance such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) benefits. However, changes in recent years to the formulas have counted other military payouts such as Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH).