By Mike Ward
Senior VP, Government and Public Affairs
Huntsville/Madison County Chamber
Senator Tommy Tuberville serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and was instrumental in making sure that the legislation included a number of items that were on the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber’s 2021 Federal Agenda. The Senate Armed Services Committee passed its fiscal year 2022 defense policy bill Thursday after closed door markup sessions. The bill passed the committee on a 23-3 vote.
“I’ve made it my mission to visit our commanders in the field and Alabama’s military communities to hear from our service men and women directly so I can be their voice on the Senate Armed Services Committee,” Sen. Tuberville said. “This year, in every vote I cast during the National Defense Authorization Act, I asked if it would be in the best interest of our country and responsible to the taxpayer. I’m proud of how Alabama supports our military and I’ve encouraged my colleagues in the Senate to rise to meet the grave threats facing our nation.”
A summary of the FY22 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) priorities can be found here. Alabama priorities included in the FY22 NDAA are below.
Included in the bill were the following items of interest to the Huntsville community:
Topline Defense Spending Increase
There was bipartisan support for a Republican amendment to authorize an additional $25 billion in defense spending over the president’s budget request, allowing for $740.3 billion for the Pentagon. Senator Tuberville actively worked with the Committee to reach a bipartisan agreement to increase the overall spending topline for the Department of Defense by 3 percent real growth (over inflation) to make sure our military remains the world’s strongest force. The Senator championed dozens of critical items on military leaders’ priority lists, chief among them growing the size of our navy and providing missile defenses for our troops in harm’s way.
Senator Tuberville prioritized robust funding authorization for hypersonic development and testing. This investment accelerates the country’s timeline to a fully-capable hypersonic missile while simultaneously assisting our missile defense capability with tracking hypersonic, ballistic, and cruise missiles. Senator Tuberville specifically championed Huntsville’s Missile Defense Agency so that the U.S. can increase its lead in securing our nation and allies from missile attack.
High Energy Laser (HEL) Technology Integration
Senator Tuberville sough targeted funding to continue development of high-energy lasers. Alabama leads the nation in many aspects of laser research, breakthroughs in which will allow greater protection from drones, missiles, and other battlefield threats.
Securing America’s Interests in Space – Advanced Satellite Development
Senator Tuberville fought to address critical technological gaps in the FY2022 NDAA by accelerating investment in satellite systems to address cyber vulnerabilities through remote sensing technologies and services. As Huntsville prepares to be the home of Space Command, new capabilities in the advancement of satellite development and space-based communications are critical.
Creating a U.S. Space National Guard
Senator Tuberville secured a new Force reserve component within the National Guard. This will directly enhance the readiness and lethality of U.S. Space Force.
It’s still too early to know how much Congress will give DOD for fiscal year 2022. House authorizers, Senate appropriators and both Budget committees are still working on related legislation.