Rep. Sherrill Votes to Pass Bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022

September 23, 2021
Press Release
Defense budget bill includes multiple provisions authored by Rep. Sherrill, including several that specifically support Picatinny Arsenal, the largest employer in NJ-11

Washington, DC – Representative Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) voted today to pass the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, Representative Sherrill was instrumental in ensuring the package included critical provisions on cyber capabilities, supply chain security, military sexual assault, and support for Picatinny Arsenal.

“The National Defense Authorization Act we passed today will be instrumental in ensuring our military can confront the challenges ahead and have the resources to remain the most effective fighting force in the world,” said Rep. Sherrill. “This package will allow us to expand and bolster our national cyber capabilities, take needed steps on modernization, remove sexual assault from the military chain of command to protect our service men and women, and support the critical work being conducted at Picatinny Arsenal. Our military must contend with emerging global threats in a rapidly changing world, and this package will help them do so.”

Rep. Sherrill offered and successfully secured inclusion of six amendments to the NDAA, including:

  • The Onward to Opportunity Act: A bill that will create a pilot for expanding the Onward to Opportunity Program, which assists transitioning service members as they find new and meaningful careers outside of the military. It will also provide valuable data on the efficacy of the transition assistance programs
  • Risk Assessment Study: An amendment to increase supply chain security as a defense strategic priority, creating a DOD-wide risk assessment strategy and system for continuous monitoring, assessing, and mitigating risk in the defense supply
  • Housing History for Service Members: An amendment directing the Department of Defense to conduct a study on the feasibility of providing tenant history for service members who have been asked to produce their rental history when renting from individual property owners or large-scale property management companies
  • ILER and Burn Pits: An amendment that directs the GAO to conduct a study and update Congress every two years on how the roll-out of the ILER program is progressing. The ILER program is designed to better track locations and exposures of service members to fix a fundamental challenge for veterans facing exposure-related illnesses and are seeking a right to claim VA healthcare benefits
  • Minor Military Construction: An amendment to raise the cap on minor military construction without congressional authorization from $6 million per year to $8 million, which will allow Picatinny Arsenal to further invest in their facilities
  • Title 32 Reform: An amendment to close the loophole in Title 32 that allows the president to send non-federalized National Guard troops to states without invoking the Insurrection Act and without the restrictions of Posse Comitatus

Additionally, the following key elements of bills Rep. Sherrill has introduced, co-sponsored, or fought for were included in the NDAA:

  • GI Bill NEED Act and VR&E NEED Act (H.R. 2945; H.R. 2167): Removes the time limit on accessing GI Bill and VR&E benefits during times of emergency, such as a pandemic or natural disaster
  • I Am Vanessa Guillen Act (H.R. 3224): Addresses the response of the DOD to sex-related offenses committed against members of the Armed Forces, including allowing a member to confidentially allege a complaint of sexual harassment to an individual outside the immediate chain of command of that member
  • Access to Contraception for Servicemembers and Dependents Act (H.R. 2709): Ensures that all TRICARE enrollees will not have copays when they access contraception and related care, achieving parity with Affordable Care Act benefits 
  • District of Columbia National Guard Home Rule Act (H.R. 657): Gives command of the Washington, DC National Guard to the Mayor of the District of Columbia. 
  • Ensuring PFAS Cleanup Meets or Exceeds Stringent Standards Act (H.R. 4976): Ensures that the Department of Defense adheres to the strictest possible standards when conducting PFAS removal
  • PFAS Free Military Purchasing Act (H.R. 4975): Prohibits the DOD from procuring items that contain PFAS, such as cookware or cleaning products
  • Sections of the Inspire to Serve Act (H.R. 3000): Expands the Selective Service to include women
  • Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Act of 2021 (H.R. 3469): Makes permanent Veteran Business Outreach Center-provided training for Veteran Entrepreneurs
  • Pilot Program to Hire Transitioning Military Members into Departments of Agriculture and Interior (H.R. 2789) - Pilot program to facilitate the hiring of servicemembers transitioning to civilian life into conservation and resource management jobs within the Departments of Agriculture and Interior.
  • Justice for Women Veterans Act (H.R. 2385) - Directs review of the history of women veterans who were forcibly discharged because of pregnancy or parenthood, and recommendations for health care and benefits that such women may be eligible for had they not been forcibly discharged.
  • Global War on Terrorism Memorial Location Act (H.R. 1115) - Establishes authority to identify a location for a Global War on Terrorism Memorial

The NDAA also includes provisions that will strengthen Picatinny Arsenal and support the work conducted there, including:

  • Additional $10 million for Machine Learning for Army Integrated Fires
  • Additional $5 million for Novel Printed Armaments Components 
  • Additional $5 million for Turret Gunner Survivability and Simulation Environment
  • Full funding for the Next Generation Squad Weapon
  • Full ($31,623,000) funding the Multi-Role Anti-Armor Anti-Personnel Weapon
  • Full funding for weapons and munitions development
  • Full funding for conventional munitions research
  • $117 million above the President’s Budget for procurement of Army ammunition
  • Robust support for the extended range cannon artillery program

The NDAA will boost manufacturing and research jobs in the 11th District, with: 

  • Additional $5 million in the Advanced Ammunition Material and Manufacturing Technologies account for foamable celluloid materials
  • Additional $33 million and report language in support of the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft
  • Additional $10 million for Novel Printed Armament components
  • Additional $200 million for AI research and development 
  • Additional $15 million for composites research for weapon systems
  • Additional $10 million for Extended Range Artillery Munition development

The NDAA contains crucial force modernization provisions, including:

  • Requiring the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment to submit recommendations to make the Department’s use of other transaction authorities more accessible to the public and improve the reporting of OTA authority
  • Requiring the ASA-ALT to submit to Congress a master plan for munitions modernization, to include cost estimates prioritized by activity 

The NDAA will increase investments in our cybersecurity, including: 

  • Additional $21.2 million for Defensive Cyber operations
  • Additional $8.8 million for the Cyber-Information Dominance Center 
  • Additional $10 million for an AI-enabled cyber defense acceleration study
  • Additional $5.2 million for missile defense systems cybersecurity
  • Additional $13.6 million for critical infrastructure defense

The NDAA supports service members, veterans, and their families, by:

  • Authorizing a 2.7 percent increase for service men and women 
  • Providing an additional $160 million in funding for child development centers
  • Protecting service members from threatening practices by debt collectors
  • Providing $50 million in funding for local schools with military children
  • Providing $20 million in impact aid for schools to support children with disabilities 
  • Creating a new health platform to integrate health data for military health system beneficiaries
  • Requiring the creation of a digital health strategy for the military health system

Other notable items in the NDAA include: 

  • Measures that would aid the effort to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba 
  • Increases in funding to mitigate traumatic brain injury and PTSD among our special forces
  • Provisions that strengthen our strategic plans to address threats posed by China and Russia
  • Provisions that strengthen and expands our domestic supply base 
  • Extensions to US support for our partners in Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS 
  • Creation of a commission to examine the 20-year war in Afghanistan
  • Robust oversight over the final months of the war in Afghanistan

Additional background on Picatinny Arsenal:

Picatinny Arsenal, located in New Jersey’s 11th district, is the Army’s premier center of excellence for the development of armaments and management of ammunition and executes many of the Army’s top modernization priorities. It is the largest employer in the district and contributes more than $1 billion to New Jersey’s economy. Rep. Sherrill fought to strengthen Picatinny Arsenal to ensure it will continue to provide world-class armaments and ammunition in support of our nation’s defense.