President Donald Trump signed into law the the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2018 on Tuesday. The bill, which must be signed annually, sets policy and authorizes spending for the entire U.S. military.
Trump signed the NDAA during a ceremony in the Roosevelt Room of the White House surrounded by high-ranking defense officials.
Among its many provisions, the bill includes:
- Nearly $700 billion in topline funding for the military;
- The addition of 20,000 troops the Armed Services (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Army Guard and Reserve, Naval and Air Reserve, and Air Guard);
- 2.4 percent pay raise for the troops — the largest in eight years;
- Provisions to improve our nation’s nuclear weapon program in light of continued threats from North Korea;
- Efforts to repair and improve our nation’s military infrastructure;
- Reforms to the military’s acquisition process; and
- Ends the “widow’s tax” and preserves special survivor allowance payments to more than 60,000 surviving military spouses.
The 2018 NDAA also includes the authorization for three Littoral Combat Ships (LCS), which are built by Austal USA in Mobile, Ala. — a provision supported by Alabama 1st District U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne.
“With President Trump’s signature of the National Defense Authorization Act today, this is the beginning of the rebuilding of the U.S. defense forces after eight years in which we dangerously cut our armed forces, endangering the security of the American people,” Byrne said of Trump signing the NDAA. “This bill will help keep the American people safe, ensure our troops have the resources they need to defend our country, and support shipbuilding jobs right here in Southwest Alabama.”
Alabama 3rd District U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers served as a conferee on the bill.
“I was proud to see the National Defense Authorization Act for FY18 become law today with President Trump’s signature,” said Rogers. “This critical piece of legislation funds the Pentagon, takes care of our brave men and women in uniform and helps the Anniston Army Depot. This legislation also includes the transfer of 1911s to the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) so they can prepare and sell the firearms to law-abiding citizens. I am proud to have served as a conferee on this important bill and pleased to see it become law.”
The only issue with the bill is that it exceeds the spending caps set by the 2011 Budget Control Act to keep deficits under control. Until lawmakers agree to roll back the $549 billion cap, federal spending is limited.
“The defense bill authorizes major investments in our military’s greatest weapon of all, its warriors,” Trump said at the bill signing. “Now Congress must finish the job by eliminating the [budget cap requirements]and passing a clean appropriations bill. I think it’s going to happen.”