Congress Should Pass the NDAA Conference Report

Blog Articles · Dec 10, 2019

Congress should pass the Conference Report for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (S. 1790).

This week, the House and Senate will vote on a recently negotiated National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report that will provide much-needed funding for the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) for fiscal year 2020.

The first duty of the U.S. government is to provide for the common defense. This conference report fulfills that constitutional responsibility by providing authorization for $738 billion in military discretionary spending including $71.5 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding. This NDAA conference report enhances military readiness and modernization while continuing the progress made under the Trump administration to rebuild our depleted Armed Forces.

Importantly, the conference report bolsters the National Defense Strategy (NDS) implementation which is crucial to America’s ability to out-compete China and Russia on the international stage and strengthen key U.S. allies including Ukraine. It also establishes the U.S. Space Force under the U.S. Air Force as recommended by The Heritage Foundation, which will further ensure U.S. national security in the 21st century. The U.S. military is already far behind our Russian and Chinese counterparts in this arena and can not afford to continue lagging behind.

Unfortunately, the conference report also includes a provision providing three months of paid parental leave to all federal civilian employees on top of the already generous benefits they currently receive. Conservatives are right to criticize the inclusion of this provision, regardless of its merits, as the NDAA is not the right place for Congress to reform civilian workforce policy.

The conference report also allows the Department to move forward with the purchase of 8 F-15EX. Heritage has commented extensively about the folly of this purchase.

Despite these provisions, there is far more good than bad contained in the conference report for conservatives including:

  1. Supports Hong Kong protesters
  2. Increases the number of F-35As purchased at the right time to ramp up production
  3. Provides the resources to refuel USS Truman
  4. Fully funds the development of the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine
  5. Reinforces the importance of our alliances by reaffirming our commitment to NATO and our troop presence in South Korea
  6. Preserves President Trump’s ability to transfer funding to the Southern Border Wall
  7. Defends President Trump’s transgender policy at DOD
  8. Removes burdensome environmental regulations that would have designated all PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
  9. Prohibits transferring GTMO detainees to the U.S. mainland
  10. Backs Saudi Arabia’s efforts to defend against Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen
  11. Supports President Trump’s nuclear modernization efforts

Republican negotiators deserve credit for their ability to secure numerous wins for America’s national defense and the Trump administration’s national security policy goals.

Heritage Action supports the Conference Report for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (S. 1790) and encourages members of Congress to vote yes.

Additional Resources:

Spoehr & Bartels: Proposed 2020 NDAA Largely Helps Advance U.S. National Security Interests
The Role of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in Rebuilding the U.S. Military
2020 Index of U.S. Military Strength