With Senator Collins’ Support, Senate Passes National Defense Authorization Act

Legislation includes funding for procurement and construction of DDG 51 destroyers, provision requiring DoD to purchase American-made athletic shoes for military recruits

Washington, D.C.—Today, the Senate passed the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by a vote of 85-15 with U.S. Senator Susan Collins’ support.  The legislation now awaits consideration by the U.S. House of Representatives.  The FY 2017 NDAA puts our nation on a path toward addressing the myriad threats we face today.

The bill funds programs that ensure our nation’s continued presence and deterrence missions, including $3.2 billion for the procurement of two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers as part of a multiyear procurement contract as well as incremental funding for a third fiscal year 2016 Flight III destroyer.  This much-needed additional destroyer, which ranks number two on the Navy’s Unfunded Priorities List, will be built at Bath Iron Works.  The bill also includes $271 million to help complete the construction of the two DDG 1000 destroyers.  These ships provide advanced capabilities, including stealth technology, electric propulsion, and a smaller crew size.  The Navy recently accepted delivery of the first DDG 1000, the Zumwalt, a major milestone for this revolutionary program. 

“Given the ship’s cutting-edge technology, unique hull, and advanced combat systems, the shipbuilders at Bath Iron Works should be commended for their exceptional work and dedication in building the largest and the most advanced Naval destroyer in history,” said Senator Collins.  “As the workhorses of the Navy, these destroyers help ensure that our Navy’s capabilities remain unrivaled in delivering power and presence across the globe.  From freedom of navigation missions in the South China Sea to addressing Iranian aggression in the Strait of Hormuz, these ships signal to enemies and allies alike that the U.S. Navy is ready to respond wherever and whenever it is needed.”

The FY 2017 NDAA also mandates that the Department of Defense comply with the Berry Amendment for athletic footwear issued to new recruits. The Berry Amendment, passed in 1941, requires the U.S. military to provide its personnel with American-made equipment and uniforms to the greatest extent possible.  Despite this longstanding law, the DoD has refused to issue new recruits athletic footwear made in America by companies such as New Balance.  The provision, introduced by Senator King, was based on legislation introduced by Senators Collins and King earlier this year.

“The inclusion of this provision in the FY 2017 NDAA is welcome news for our military members and the nearly 1,000 Maine employees at New Balance. Senator King and I have long urged the Department of Defense to fully comply with the Berry Amendment and provide service men and women with the highest quality athletic shoes manufactured by U.S. companies like New Balance,” Senator Collins said. “As part of this effort, we introduced the Buy American Act earlier this year, and I applaud Senator King’s diligent efforts as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.”

Other provisions of the bill would provide $75 million for improvements at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, resources to assist allies and partners around the world, a 1.6 percent pay raise for service members, and additional protections for survivors of sexual assault.