Rep. Norcross Statement on 61st Consecutive Annual Defense Bill to Meet the Needs of Servicemembers and Military Families, Invest in Jobs for South Jersey
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Donald Norcross (D-NJ-01) released the following statement upon the Senate’s passing of bipartisan defense legislation, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22 NDAA), that strengthens America’s security and meets the needs of our servicemembers, veterans and military families. This robust bill bolsters pay and improves benefits for servicemembers, combats sexual assault in the military, and modernizes our defense technology. The bill first passed through the House on December 7.
“This legislation takes bold action to protect members of the Armed Forces both at home and abroad,” said Congressman Norcross. “New Jersey’s first congressional district and the state as a whole win with this bill. The soldiers, sailors, and airmen stationed in New Jersey, their families, and the companies that support them will benefit from the provisions I secured to support our defense industrial base and strengthen our supply chain.”
For the sixty-first consecutive year, Congress will enact this essential legislation and fulfill its critical, constitutional obligation to “provide for the common defense.” The FY22 NDAA authorizes historic investments in our diverse fighting force, innovation, and emerging technologies. Doing so will ensure the Department of Defense can strengthen the nation’s efforts to defend democratic values and strengthen our alliances in the face of challenges from authoritarian states – while modernizing our national security institutions and processes to keep families safe on the home front.
“I am proud to support provisions that improve the response of the Department of Defense to sexual assault within its ranks and ensure their effective prosecution to promote the safety and wellbeing of every person who puts their life on the line to defend our nation. Joining the military entails a level of risk – but that risk should not come from those who serve under or serve with. It’s past time we address the elephant in the room and update the Uniform Code of Military Justice to combat sexual assault and related crimes,” added Congressman Norcross.
The congressman led efforts to strengthen partnerships between labor organizations, career and technical education programs, workforce development boards, the Department, and the defense industrial base to highlight expertise and bolster U.S. manufacturing.
Congressman Norcross secured funding for five additional V-22 Ospreys which will be manufactured in the region. He also secured $170 million for new KC-46A tankers. The congressman flew on the maiden flight of the first KC-46A delivered to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in November. This funding will protect family-sustaining jobs in the district while preparing the U.S. for the future.
Furthermore, Congressman Norcross secured funding for the New Jersey National Guard. The FY22 NDAA provides $100 million for the AESA radar for the Air National Guard’s F-16 fleet, a vital asset that will allow units like the 177th Fighter Wing to better protect the people of New Jersey and the nation. He also secured $8 million for high performance polymer research, $8 million for rapid entry and sustainment in the Arctic, and $5 million for turret gunner survivability research being conducted at universities including Rowan, which will improve the survivability of servicemembers in combat.
Thanks to the leadership of House Democrats, the FY22 NDAA:
- Secures a 2.7 percent pay increase for our men and women in uniform.
- Makes historic and significant changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice to combat sexual assault and related crimes in the military.
- Invests in Historically Black Colleges and Universities to help build a fairer and more diverse Armed Services.
- Makes key investments to address the threat of climate change and bolster energy resiliency.
- Continues aggressive oversight of DOD’s most complex and expensive weapons programs.
- Authorizes 2 weeks of paid parental bereavement leave for all federal employees.
A summary of the provisions in the FY22 NDAA is available here.