by U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.)
Conservative Priorities Improve Annual Military Legislation
After months of negotiations, Congress overwhelmingly passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), our annual military planning bill. I serve as the senior Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is responsible for writing the Senate’s version of the legislation.
Republicans successfully fought to include a number of conservative laws in this bill, despite Democrat control of the Senate and the White House. Because of our efforts, this year’s NDAA will do more than increase munitions production and shipbuilding capacity. It will also tackle the crisis at our southern border and start to rein in the woke bureaucrats President Biden has installed at the Pentagon.
NDAA Supports Our Troops
The Constitution instructs us to, “provide for the common defense,” and caring for our troops is the first step toward that goal. Our NDAA gives service members a 5.2 percent pay raise to help offset inflation. We also made healthcare and housing more affordable for military families.
Another way we prioritize our service members is by equipping them for their mission. This NDAA resoundingly rejects the Biden administration’s plans to shrink the U.S. Navy’s battle fleet and puts more advanced technology in our service members’ hands. Both actions will help us keep pace with China and Russia’s rapidly modernizing militaries.
NDAA Curbs President’s Woke Pentagon Agenda
Service members deserve to work in a culture of achievement. In recent years, President Biden’s political appointees have instituted a toxic diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) agenda at the Pentagon, which distracts from the warfighting mission. I added a measure capping the pay for hundreds of DEI staffers so the Department of Defense (DOD) does not waste time on divisive ideologies.
The bill includes the MERIT Act, a law I authored. It compels the DOD to base all promotions on individual performance, not on factors like race or gender. This reinforces the tradition of excellence that has helped make military service a badge of honor for generations.
NDAA Strengthens America on the Border and Abroad
The NDAA meets an array of threats against our nation. These challenges begin at our doorstep, with the increasingly dire emergency at our southern border. I authored another provision, called the FINISH IT Act, to address that crisis. It forces the Biden administration to continue wall construction by using leftover border wall panels – or selling them to states who will.
America also faces dangers far from home. China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea are forming dark partnerships to harm America’s interests. This law responds by investing in key relationships, solidifying an international coalition to deter our enemies from war.
NDAA Recognizes Mississippi’s Contributions
Mississippi plays an outsized role in our national defense. The NDAA invests in our state’s network of industry, academic, and military sites, which all work together to make our country safer.
The bill supports shipbuilding in Mississippi, authorizing construction of another amphibious warship, a berthing barge, and submarine components. The NDAA invests in Camp Shelby’s training grounds and rail capabilities. It authorizes a fire and crash rescue site for the 172nd Airlift Wing at the Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers airport. And because of the NDAA, several military installations will receive facility improvements, including the Mississippi Army National Guard armory in Southaven, Columbus Air Force Base, the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg, and Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi.
This year’s NDAA, and the conservative priorities it advances, is good for our country and state. It puts America on the right track to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
Note: This article is the weekly Wicker Report of Sen. Roger Wicker and is provided by the Senator’s office.