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Legislation to Strengthen National Defense Clears Senate with Provisions Championed by Senator Collins

Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a senior member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, announced that the fiscal year (FY) 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorizes $740.3 billion for the Department of Defense and $27.8 billion for Department of Energy national security programs, passed the Senate by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 88-11 today.   The House of Representatives previously passed this legislation, and the bill now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law. 


“Every year for the past six decades, Members of Congress have fulfilled one of their most important responsibilities—ensuring our national security—by passing the NDAA and setting the policy for our nation’s military priorities,” said Senator Collins.  “This legislation will support the brave men and women of our armed forces by supporting pay increases and expanding parental leave.  Additionally, the NDAA will support hardworking Mainers at BIW, PNSY, Pratt & Whitney, and elsewhere across the State who make invaluable contributions to our defense.  The Senate’s passage of this bill comes at a critical time for our national defense as the country faces proliferating threats around the world.”  


Several amendments authored or co-authored by Senator Collins were included in the final bill that passed today: 


  • Havana Syndrome.  This NDAA contains language similar to an amendment and separate legislation Senator Collins co-authored with Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) that will help ensure that Havana Syndrome victims across the government receive timely and equitable access to medical care by creating a senior interagency coordinator for matters related to anomalous health incidents (AHIs).  It would also require agency heads to appoint a senior official within their organization to lead their agency’s efforts on AHI issues and regularly brief Congress.  This effort builds on the HAVANA Act, legislation Senator Collins authored that provides support to Havana Syndrome victims that was signed into law in October.


  • Report on Virginia-class Submarine Material Readiness.  The availability of adequate supplies and replacement parts for Virginia-class submarines has been identified as a persistent problem by managers at PNSY, which can lead to cost increases and delays in submarine maintenance availabilities at the shipyard.  Senator Collins’ amendment requires the Navy to produce a detailed report to Congress assessing the readiness of Virginia-class materials and recommend necessary changes in law to Congress to help address the concerns. 


  • U.S. Israel Cybersecurity Cooperation Enhancement Act.   Mirroring bipartisan legislation co-authored by Senators Collins and Jacky Rosen (D-NV) earlier in the year, the amendment establishes a grant program to facilitate closer U.S.-Israel cybersecurity cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security.  Private companies, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, and government entities in Israel or the U.S. would be eligible for the grants, so long as they are engaged in a joint venture with a corresponding institution in the other country. 


The NDAA also includes a number of provisions Senator Collins strongly advocated for that will benefit Maine: 


  • Support for BIW.  The NDAA authorizes three Arleigh-Burke Destroyers, restoring the ship cut from the President’s budget and authorizing another additional destroyer. Senator Collins secured funding for the construction of destroyers in the FY22 Defense Appropriations Bill.  The NDAA also includes provisions from an amendment Senator Collins authored that will create new reporting requirements when the Department of Defense proposes to break a multiyear ship procurement contract.  The report would be required to provide an updated assessment of termination costs and cost savings and an assessment of expected impacts on the defense industrial base, including workload stability, loss of skilled labor, and reduced efficiencies. 


  • Support for PNSY.  The NDAA authorizes $250 million for the next increment of the multi-mission dry dock #1 project, as well as $225 million in additional authorization to be used for the project. Senator Collins announced a $1.7 billion contract for this project in August and attended the groundbreaking in September. As a member of the MilCon-VA Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Collins strongly pushed for the inclusion of $475 million for the PNSY dry dock project in the FY22 appropriations bill.  The NDAA also authorizes $10.5 billion for ship depot operations; $2.2 billion for ship depot operations support; and $3.5 billion for Navy sustainment, restoration, and modernization. These accounts fund operations at PNSY as well as restoration and modernization projects at the shipyard. 


  • Support for Defense Contractors in Maine.  The NDAA authorizes funding to procure a total of 85 F-35s.  The bill also authorizes $1.5 billion for 11 CH-53K’s.  Pratt & Whitney’s North Berwick factory manufactures the F-35’s top-of-line F-135 engine, and Hunting Dearborn in Fryeburg has been making important contributions to both the F-35 and CH-53K programs for years.   


  • Support for Maine Air National Guard.  The NDAA authorizes $21.2 million for a new Maine National Guard Vehicle Maintenance Shop in Saco.  It also prohibits the use of funds to reduce the number of KC-135 aircraft for the Air National Guard.  This will ensure these aircraft will remain with the 101st Air Refueling Wing in Bangor. 


  • Support for U.S. Troops.  The NDAA supports a 2.7% raise for servicemembers and DOD civilians.  The bill also increases parental leave for both primary and secondary caregivers to 12 weeks for all servicemembers for the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child.   


  • Support for PFAS Cleanup.  The NDAA authorizes $517 million for dedicated PFAS cleanup funds.  Senator Collins was the cosponsor of an amendment which increased authorized funding for PFAS cleanup.