The afternoon of Monday, June 18th saw the full Senate pass the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) on a vote of 85-10.

The Senate’s NDAA legislation, which provides $716 billion for the fiscal year beginning on 1 October 2018 and follows the House’s passage of its version last month.

The Senate’s $716 billion FY19 Authorization includes $639 for the base budget for the Department of Defense (DoD) and national security programs of the Department of Energy (DoE) as well as $69 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO).

According to Senate Armed Service Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ), the bill “continues the committee’s reform agenda and helps better position the Department of Defense and the joint force to effectively implement the new National Defense Strategy even as it works to restore readiness, rebuild capacity, and modernize capabilities.”

Senate Authorizers note that their Bill, which incorporated some 45 floor amendments from both sides the aisle, has NDAA has four key themes:

  • It adjusts the budget request to align resources in a manner consistent with the priorities and principles of the National Defense Strategy (NDS).
  • Its provides one overarching reporting requirement to the Secretary of Defense: a list of de- tailed and specific questions regarding the roles, missions, and requirements of the military services raised by the NDS.
  • It includes organizational reforms to the Office of the Secretary of Defense to support effective implementation of the NDS.
  • It modernizes officer personnel management to bolster the effectiveness, recruitment, and retention of the all-volunteer force.

The Senate NDAA must now be reconciled with the House version, something that House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) believes can happen relatively quickly (end of July) because the competing bills “mark to the same level.”  A major issue for NDAA Conference reconciliation is that of troop end-strength, where the House bill authorizes Trump Administration-requested end-strength increases and the Senate bill does not.