NDAA for Fiscal Year 2018

Defense Sees Gains in NDAA, New Budget Deal


The AUSN has analyzed the recently released National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2018. The 2018 NDAA was signed into law on Dec. 12. The NDAA saw an increase from 2017, with the bill authorizing almost $700 billion for Department of Defense (DoD) operations in fiscal 2018. This is $80 billion over the defense budget cap, which was set under the 2011 Budget Control Act.


Additionally, the 2018 NDAA will give a 2.4 percent pay raise to military personnel. The Navy and Marine Corps will see an increase in end strength, with the NDAA allowing for the hiring of 1,000 more Marines and 4,000 Sailors. Congress and the DoD believe this will help retain and recruit the best personnel. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has said that the 2018 NDAA will launch a military buildup and be a remedy to a readiness crisis brought about by budget uncertainty.


The NDAA is not an operating budget; it only authorizes appropriations and sets forth policies for DoD programs and activities, including military personnel strengths, a congressional summary of the bill says. Budget authority comes from subsequent appropriations legislation.


On Feb. 9, after a short five-hour federal government shutdown, the U.S. House and Senate sent a temporary budget to the President Donald J. Trump’s desk that included a 10 percent jump in funding for the Department of Defense from the $600 billion spent the last two years on defense. The legislation, which was signed into law, appropriates a little over $700 billion for national defense and Overseas Contingency Operations spending in 2018, and $716 billion in 2019.


The House and Senate Armed Services Committees believe long-term contracts with shipbuilders are essential to reducing costs and delivering the ships the Navy needs. The current NDAA has reflected that by giving the Navy the go-ahead to enter into long-term contracts for Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and Virginia-class submarines. Five-year contracts in both programs are projected to save almost 15 percent over a typical procurement that orders ships on an annual basis.


The Navy and Marine Corps will see an increase in funding for ships, aircraft and personnel. Congress has authorized the Department of the Navy (DoN) to build 14 ships, with a budget of $26.2 billion in fiscal 2018. This will allow the Navy to begin building toward a fleet of 355 ships. The NDAA will add an additional Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, three littoral combat ship and a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock. In the NDAA, the Navy also is funded to obtain 12 new aircraft carriers by 2023 and construct two new Ford-class aircraft carriers. However, the DoN’s highest priority is the timely procurement of 12 Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines.


The Navy also is authorized $18.9 billion for aircraft under the 2018 NDAA. Twenty-four new F/A-18 SuperHornets are allotted, with a budget of $1.9 billion. This is $739 million more and 10 more aircraft than President Donald J. Trump’s request. Additionally, the bill allows the Navy to bulk order the new F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighters, which is expected to finish in 2018. By ordering the F-35s in bulk, the Navy will reduce the burden on taxpayers and provide the Navy and Marines with the necessary capabilities to carry out their mission. The NDAA also provides $1.2 billion for 12 V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, $103 million for wing upgrades to the Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II, and an additional $220.5 million for seven AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters. Additionally, to help address strike-fighter capability and capacity shortfalls, the NDAA provides additional funding to produce 56 F-35As per year.



Furthermore, the 2018 NDAA authorizes $4.4 million for new construction and planning and design of family housing units for the DoN. The Navy also gets more than $36 million for maintenance and improving existing family housing. The DoD will be given $141.8 billion for military personnel, which will include the cost of pay, allowances, bonuses, death benefits and permanent change-of-station moves.


While 2018 has just begun, it already has been a busy year for AUSN as we continue to push for a steady budget for our military and military families. I will be spending the upcoming weeks on Capitol Hill fighting for Sailors and veterans, as well as their families, to make sure they get the benefits and support they deserve.