WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement on Senate passage of the Conference Report for the National Defense Authorization Act of 2024 (NDAA), which was approved Wednesday evening by an overwhelming bipartisan 87-13 vote.
“The U.S. Senate has passed the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by a vote of 87 to 13 to defend the United States, support our military, and deter our adversaries. We live in challenging times and we face unprecedented threats from China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and terrorists who wish to do us harm. Our military is strong due to our brave all-volunteer force, and I applaud the much needed 5.2% pay raise – the largest pay raise in 22 years.
“The NDAA continues to modernize our force in all domains from air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace. By harnessing the power of America’s science and technology, the NDAA will invest in disruptive technologies like hypersonic weapons, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing while continuing to modernize our ships, aircraft, and ground combat vehicles.
“After many years in public service, I am glad to see that Congress can still come together on a bipartisan basis to support our brave troops and their families and strengthen our national security. By working together, we are providing a pay increase for our service members, reducing childcare expenses, and making tangible improvements to housing for them and their families to ease the burden of service,” said Senator Cardin.
“We are reinforcing our commitments to NATO, Israel, Ukraine, and our other allies and partners and leading in the fight against global corruption. The NDAA includes my bill, the Combatting Global Corruption Act, which will advance meaningful reform in tackling corruption. The NDAA will also enable the security partnership with Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, known as AUKUS, by authorizing the sale of up to three Virginia-class submarines to Australia and streamlining the sharing of advanced technologies. These investments in new technologies hit close to home for Maryland as well, which has approximately 100,000 active-duty, reserve and National Guard service members, and supports nearly 375,000 jobs across 15 military installations.
In addition to taking care of our service members, this year’s NDAA strengthens conservation protections at Greenbury Point. Preserving Greenbury Point balances the needs of the Navy with the needs of the community,” said Senator Cardin. “Its proximity to the Chesapeake Bay makes it an important place for outdoor recreation and conservation in the region. Ensuring public access and preventing further development will allow Greenbury Point to continue to be a model of coastal stewardship for the Chesapeake Bay.
“I hope our colleagues in the House will pass the NDAA tomorrow and then President Biden will sign it into law quickly,” Senator Cardin added.
Among the provisions specific to Maryland servicemembers and their families, the NDAA:
- Authorizes $61 million for a Navy Cybersecurity Operations Facility at Ft. Meade;
- Authorizes $62 million for an aircraft development and maintenance facility at Naval Air Station Patuxent River;
- Authorizes $141 million for military construction for the Naval Air Station Patuxent River;
- Authorizes $101 million for medical center construction at Bethesda Naval Hospital;
- Authorizes $38 million for a hydrant fueling system on Joint Base Andrews;
- Authorizes $13 million for a Child Development Center on Joint Base Andrews;
- Authorizes $885 million for joint military construction on Ft. Meade;
- Directs the Navy to preserve public access to Greenbury Point Conservation Area, except for temporary restrictions to protect public safety such as live fire exercises;
- Authorizes a 5.2% pay raise for both military service members and DoD civilians, the largest pay raise in 22 years;
- Extends military recruitment and retention bonuses and special pay authorities;
- Authorizes the Department of Defense to reduce out of pocket childcare expenses for military families;
- Increases the monthly family separation allowance for deployed servicemembers.