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Kaine Secures Wins for Virginia, More Provisions to Address Military Sexual Assault in 2023 Defense Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), released the following statement after the committee passed the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes various provisions secured and supported by Kaine to benefit Virginia’s defense community, shipbuilding industry, and victims of sexual assault:

“As someone who has had the opportunity to hear firsthand from our service members and veterans across Virginia about their sacrifices, representing our military community is deeply important to me. Every year, I’m honored to participate in the collaborative and bipartisan NDAA process, and I’m glad we’re on track this year to deliver critical support to our defense community and build on progress we made last year to better protect victims of sex-based harassment, discrimination, and violence within the military.”

Kaine advocated for many priorities that were ultimately adopted in the final bill, including:

Topline: An additional $45 billion to the President’s request.

Shipbuilding: Fully funds the Ford-class carrier program, CVN Refueling and Complex Overhaul, and Virginia-class and Columbia-class submarine programs.  Guarantees a minimum of 31 operational amphibious warfare ships for the Navy and Marine Corps. Adds $250 million for LPD-33, a key priority of the Marine Corps and Huntington Ingalls Industries. The legislation also requires the incorporation of Navy shipbuilding workforce development initiatives in shipbuilding contracts to cement investment in the industry.

Military Construction:

  • $10 million to support research and development of advanced fuels to support future DOD energy requirements. This development would happen at BWXT in Lynchburg, cementing Lynchburg’s leadership as a center for innovation.
  • $125 million for Submarine Pier 3 at Naval Station Norfolk.
  • $3.4 million for backup power generation at Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads.
  • $19 million for primary distribution substation at Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads.
  • $10.4 million for G/ATOR (Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar) support facilities at Dam Neck.
  • $1.1 million for a secondary cooling system at NCE Springfield at Fort Belvoir.
  • $18 million for a commercial vehicle inspection facility at the Pentagon.
  • $26.6 million for a SOF (Special Forces) operations building addition at Dam Neck.
  • $16.86 for submarine logistics support facilities at Naval Station Norfolk.
  • $47.72 million for a Dry Dock Saltwater System for CVN-78 at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
  • $10.5 million for Langley AFB for Air Force Reserve construction and land acquisition projects.

Virginia-Based Research:

  • Provides $5 million in funding for research and partnerships between the Navy, industry, and academia for studying submarine and unmanned undersea vehicle capabilities. Virginia Tech is among the universities that will conduct this research.
  • Provides $2 million in funding for research and development of environmentally friendly biopolymers and other materials that can be deployed on the battlefield. Virginia Tech is among the universities that will conduct this research.
  • Provides an additional $5 million to help pioneer advances in critical technologies for the Department of Defense. Virginia Commonwealth University participates in this Convergence Lab program.

Pay Raises: Authorizes funding to support a 4.6 percent pay raise for both military servicemembers and the DOD civilian workforce.

Military Families: Requires the Department of Defense to provide an update on current military spouse employment programs and recommendations to bolster the performance of these programs.

Supporting STEM Education: Provides an additional $10 million in investments in STEM programs at HBCUs.

Protecting Victims of Sexual Assault: Makes various additional modifications to military justice reforms enacted in last year’s bill, including adding additional covered offenses to those over which the Office of Special Trial Counsel will exercise authority, requiring the President to amend the Manual for Courts-Martial to ensure that residual prosecutorial and judicial duties with respect to covered offenses are transferred to an appropriate entity, and requiring comprehensive reporting from the Department regarding implementation of last year’s reforms.

Next Generation Armor: Requires the Army and Navy to outline a timeline for the development and procurement of advanced personnel protective equipment.

Radford Arsenal Optimization: Similar in scope and purpose to the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan, Senators Kaine and Blackburn drafted and secured passage of an amendment that directs the Army to accelerate the implementation of a plan to modernize our nation’s arsenals, including the Radford Army Ammunition Plant. These arsenals are the critical manufacturing centers for components of nearly every DOD weapon, but many facilities date back to WWII. 

Cybersecurity: Requires the Department of Defense to establish a consortium with universities dedicated to studying cybersecurity issues. The legislation also requires the Air Force to employ commercial cybersecurity capabilities to ensure the protection of space architecture, which supports several satellite companies in Virginia.

Communication Infrastructure: Requires reporting from Department of Defense for three year transition plans for 5-G communications infrastructure on military installations.

The next step for the legislation is a vote before the full Senate.

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