Rep. Sherrill Secures Passage of Strong, Bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act Focused on Innovation, Preparedness, and Resilience

Representative Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) voted today to advance the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021 in the House Armed Services Committee. Representative Sherrill fought to include strong provisions in support of Picatinny Arsenal, sustainable energy, COVID-19 response, and justice for service members who have survived sexual assault. The NDAA passed unanimously, 56-0.

We have an obligation to ensure our service members are protected, our national defense is resilient, and our forces are well-equipped,” said Representative Sherrill. “Picatinny Arsenal is the center of cutting-edge research and development for our Armed Forces, and I’m proud to fight to protect its mission and to bring new, innovative projects to the Arsenal. This year’s National Defense Authorization Act includes a three percent pay increase for our service members and also prioritizes COVID-19 response so we identify supply chain issues and ensure production of critical resources like personal protective equipment.”

Rep. Sherrill successfully included eight amendments to the NDAA, including:

  • An amendment directing the Secretary of the Army to take tangible steps towards progress on the Extended Range Cannon Artillery being developed at Picatinny Arsenal;
  • An amendment funding the development of polymer-case ammunition, which will decrease the load on our warfighters and is being developed in conjunction with Picatinny Arsenal;
  • An amendment to optimize the approval process for wind energy projects near military installations, streamlining our country’s efforts to pursue sustainable energy;
  • An amendment to prioritize public-private partnerships with the Department of Defense that would bolster the fight against COVID-19 for both our service members and the general public;
  • An amendment to reauthorize the National Oceanographic Partnership Program, strengthening the federal government’s ocean research;
  • An amendment to extend the location adjustment to compensate for the increased building expense in Northern New Jersey, giving Picatinny Arsenal greater flexibility for construction projects;
  • An amendment that will establish an interagency effort to develop a variety of products needed to meet the Department of Defense’s mission needs, including synthetic fuels, flame retardants, high-performance materials, and equipment to protect warfighters;
  • An amendment that would require the consent of the chief executives of both the sending state and the receiving state should the President request National Guard units under Title 32.

Key elements of three bipartisan bills Rep. Sherrill introduced were included in the NDAA:

  • Body Armor for Females Modernization Act (H.R. 5491): Requires each department of the U.S. Armed Forces to provide specified data and assessment concerning personal protection equipment. In addition, the Defense Health Agency must track and report on injuries among service members during the use of such equipment;
  • Joint Long-Term Storage Act (H.R. 5905): Establishes a joint program between the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Energy (DOE) to integrate current federal efforts to develop long-term energy storage technologies;
  • National AI Research Resource Task Force Act (H.R. 7096): Establishes a task force to develop a roadmap for a national artificial intelligence (AI) research resource. This legislation will convene a group of technical experts across academia, government, and industry to develop a detailed plan for how the U.S. can build, deploy, govern, and sustain a national research cloud.

Strengthening Picatinny Arsenal:

Picatinny Arsenal, located in the 11th District of New Jersey, is the Army’s premier center of excellence for the development of armaments and management of ammunition and executes many of the Army’s top modernization priorities. It is the largest employer in the 11th District and contributes more than $1 billion to New Jersey’s economy. Rep. Sherrill fought to strengthen Picatinny Arsenal, so it will continue to provide world-class armaments and ammunition in support of our nation’s defense:

  • $47 million to develop Long Range Precision Munitions;
  • $60.5 million for Long Range Precision Fires technology;
    Extended the location adjustment to compensate for the increased building expense in Northern New Jersey;
    Authorized study on optimizing the Department’s explosive ordnance disposal, building on Picatinny Arsenal’s construction of a $41 million EOD facility;
  • $5 million for the development of polymer-case ammunition, which will ease the burden on our warfighters and is being developed in conjunction with labs at Picatinny Arsenal;
  • Emphasized the Joint Program Executive Office, Armaments, and Ammunition’s critical role in implementing the over $104 million allocated for ensuring our munitions enterprise is environmentally sustainable;
  • $10 million in additional funding for development of the hypervelocity projectile being developed in conjunction with Picatinny Arsenal.

Boosting Manufacturing and Research Jobs in the 11th District:

  • $10 million in additional funding for additive manufacturing and 3-D printing crucial components;
  • $168.8 million for Long Range Anti-Ship Missiles;
  • $10 million in additional funding for development of the hypervelocity projectile being developed in conjunction with Picatinny Arsenal;
  • $5 million for Next Generation Countermeasures;
  • Strengthening the National Security Launch Agreement system, to the benefit of suppliers in NJ-11.

Responding and Preparing for COVID-19 and Other Infectious Disease Threats:

  • Creates a Pandemic Preparedness and Resilience National Security Fund, directing $1 billion to efforts to proactively increase the country’s ability to prepare for and respond to future pandemics;
  • Requires one of the Assistant Secretaries to be the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Policy, whose principal duty would be the overall supervision of policy of the Department of Defense for developing and maintaining the defense industrial base of the United States and ensuring a secure supply of materials critical to national security;
  • Creates the Small Business Industrial Base Resiliency Program and authorizes the Assistant Secretary of Defense Industrial Base Policy to enter into transactions to purchase or make a commitment to purchase goods or services from small business concerns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These transactions are intended to support the monitoring and assessment of small businesses in the defense industrial base by addressing critical issues relating to urgent operational needs and supporting efforts to expand the small business industrial base in response to the pandemic, and addressing supply chain vulnerabilities related to the pandemic for small businesses;
  • Adds over $50 million in funding for investments and efforts in biotechnology and pandemic preparedness.

Supporting Service Members, Veterans, and Their Families:

  • Establishes a 3% pay increase for service members;
  • Establishes a scholarship for service pilot program under the Department's Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Defense Education Program for students at Minority Institutions to diversify and strengthen the national security workforce;
  • Authorizes $10 million to support the capacity of the National Center for Medical Intelligence to forecast and warn U.S. government officials of foreign environmental health and infectious disease risks that could impact U.S. military operations and the health of U.S. military forces;
  • Establishes a 5-year pilot program to temporarily issue maternity uniforms to pregnant service members at no cost to the service member. Service members would return uniforms once no longer needed and DLA and the military departments would then repurpose them for reissuance to other service members;
  • Establishes a pilot program to establish a special prosecutor for sexual assault allegations at our nation’s service academies.