This bill — John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for FY2019 — would authorize $707.7 billion in defense spending for fiscal year 2019. Of the total, $639.2 billion would go to the base Dept. of Defense (DOD) budget while $68.5 billion would be set aside for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). An in-depth summary of how its various provisions affect troops, military families, equipment, and various aspects of U.S. defense policy can be found below.
Troop Strength & Pay
All servicemembers would receive a 2.6 percent pay raise while the size of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force would be increased as follows:
The Army’s end strength would increase by more than 2,000 soldiers to 485,741;
The Navy’s end strength would increase by more than 4,000 sailors to 331,900;
The Marine Corps end strength would increase by 100 marines to 186,100;
The Air Force end strength would increase by 620 airmen to 325,700.
Modernization, Procurement & Readiness
A total of $23.1 billion would be authorized for shipbuilding to fully fund new warships and accelerate funding for several future ships, including:
$7.4 billion for Virginia-class submarines;
$5.9 billion for Arleigh Burke-class destroyers;
$3.0 billion for Columbia-class submarines.
A total of $7.6 billion would be authorized to obtain 75 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, including:
$4.2 billion for 47 F-35A fighters for the Air Force;
$2.4 billion for 20 F-35B fighters for the Marine Corps;
$1 billion for eight F-35C fighters for the Navy.
Other notable authorizations would include:
Full funding of the administration’s request for Army helicopters, including $1.4 billion for 60 AH-64E Apaches, $1 billion for 50 UH-60M Blackhawks, and $124 million for 7 CH-47 Chinooks;
$1.53 billion to procure 135 Abrams tanks;
$205 million for Bradley Fighting Vehicles for the European Defense Initiative;
$144 million for the A-10 Wing Replacement Program;
$190 million to prototype the next generation combat vehicle.
$123 million to accelerate development of the Extended Range Cannon Artillery gun.
Additionally, this section would:
Fully authorize $9.9 billion for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to develop advanced technology, protect forces in South Korea, and counter emerging threats.
Fully fund development of the new B-21 bomber.
Authorize the Coast Guard to acquire six polar-class heavy icebreakers.
Allies & Partners
This section of the bill would authorize funds for several initiatives with U.S. allies and partners, including:
$5.2 billion for the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund;
$850 million to train and equip the Iraqi Security Forces to counter ISIS;
$500 million to fully fund the co-development and co-production of the Iron Dome, Arrow, and David’s Sling weapons systems with Israel;
$200 million to provide security assistance to Ukraine, including defensive lethal assistance.
Additionally, this section of the bill would:
Require the DOD to report on the feasibility and advisability of permanently stationing an Army brigade combat team in Poland.
Express the sense of the Senate that the U.S. should strengthen and enhance its major defense partnership with India.
Express the sense of the Senate that if Turkey purchases the S-400 air defense system from Russia, the president should impose sanctions against Turkey.
Require the DOD review the legal and policy frameworks associated with advise, assist, and accompany missions by U.S. military personnel outside of Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.
National Security Provisions
China: This section of the bill would prohibit the DOD from procuring, obtaining, extending, or renewing a contract with an entity that uses telecommunications equipment or services produced by Chinese companies Huawei Technologies Company or ZTE Corporation.
It would also modernize and strengthen the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. to guard against national security risks posed by certain foreign investments. Additionally, this section would:
Require a public report on the military and coercive activities of China in the South China Sea and encourages the DOD to require the public release of declassified aircraft-generated imagery illustrating Chinese activities of concern.
Modify the annual report on Chinese military and security developments to include efforts to influence media, cultural institutions, business, and policy communities in the U.S.
Limit DOD funds for Chinese language programs at universities that host a Confucius Institute.
Extend authority for the Maritime Security Initiative for an additional 5 years, include Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as recipients of assistance and training, and add India as a covered country eligible for payment of certain expenses.
Require the DOD to submit a 5-year plan for an Indo-Pacific Stability Initiative.
Authorize an additional $235 million to procure deployable air base systems in the U.S. Pacific Command area.
Russia: The National Command Authority would be authorized to direct U.S. Cyber Command to take appropriate and proportional action through cyberspace to disrupt, defeat, and deter systematic and ongoing attacks by Russia in cyberspace.
Additionally, this section of the bill would express that it’s U.S. policy to pursue an integrated approach to strengthening the defense of allies and partners in Europe to deter and, if necessary, defeat Russian aggression and consider steps to:
Enhance U.S. forward presence, combat capability, and capacity in Europe;
Maintain robust security assistance for allies and partners in Europe;
Promote reforms within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO);
Enhance multilateral security cooperation among U.S. partners and allies.
Research & Development
This section of the bill would authorize a $1.2 billion increase in DOD research and development activities beyond the president’s budget request — more than $600 million of which would be focused on high priority science, technology, and testing programs. The additional funding would go to the following areas:
$150 million for hypersonics;
$110 million for space constellation efforts (missile defense systems);
$50 million for rocket propulsion;
$40 million for directed energy;
$20 million for quantum information sciences.
The DOD would be required to partner with the commercial technology industry and academia to increase private investment in specific hardware with unique national security applications, and $150 million would be authorized for such efforts.
The Small Business Innovation Research program, which allows DOD to award contracts directly to small businesses in response to DOD research & development needs, would be permanently authorized.
Military Personnel & Organization Reform
The military officer personnel system would be reformed to decrease the importance of time-in-service as a factor for promotion and allow officers to serve longer in their current rank without being forced to retire.
Other provisions of this section would:
Change the title for the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness to the undersecretary of defense for personnel and chief human capital officer for the DOD.
Move readiness responsibility from the Office of the Secretary of Defense to the undersecretary for policy.
Expand a current position within the undersecretary of defense for policy office to be the new assistant secretary of defense for strategy, plans, assessments, readiness, and capabilities.
Enhance and reform the assistant secretary of defense for special operations/low-intensity conflict to have authorities over special forces similar to the military service secretaries.