(Senate - June 19, 2019)

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[Pages S3834-S3836]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, I have a unanimous consent request that 
the Senate resume consideration of the motion to proceed to S. 1790.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from Rhode Island.
  Mr. REED. Mr. President, I rise to join my colleague Senator Inhofe 
to discuss the fiscal year 2020 national defense authorization bill. I 
want to begin by thanking Senator Inhofe for his leadership and 
bipartisanship throughout the drafting of this bill.
  Like you, Senator, I was living through the draft period, but when 
you join the Army at 17, you don't worry about the draft at 18, but we 
share that in common also.
  The Armed Services Committee, as the chairman indicated, held a 
series of very thoughtful hearings that greatly informed the shaping of 
this bill. During last month's markup of the bill, we had a day of good 
discussion and debate, and the bill was voted out of the committee by a 
strong bipartisan vote of 25 to 2. I hope we can now have an equally 
productive consideration of this bill on the floor. I know Senator 
Inhofe and I are interested in having votes on amendments, including as 
many cleared amendments as possible.
  I believe this bill contains many provisions that will benefit the 
Department and our servicemembers. There are a few areas I want to 
highlight, and then I look forward to turning to the consideration of 
  Several months ago--again, as the chairman indicated--this committee 
became acutely aware of a crisis in quality and safety of privatized 
military housing. After many weeks of visiting these houses, talking 
with the affected families, and holding two hearings, the committee 
included 32 separate provisions in this bill, addressing housing 
concerns. Several provisions address the need for increasing 
transparency, providing better controls on incentive payments to 
companies, requiring standardized leases and satisfaction surveys, and 
creating a discrete resolution process.
  In some instances, the Department has already begun implementing some 
of the provisions, such as instituting a Tenant Bill of Rights.
  Privatized housing is still a long way from where it needs to be in 
terms of providing quality homes for our military families, but this 
bill will begin to hold private companies accountable and ensure that 
the military services have new tools and capabilities to exercise 
oversight so we can all honor our commitment to our warfighters and to 
their families.
  The bill includes a number of other provisions that support the 
quality of life for our military personnel, including a 3.1-percent pay 
raise, $40 million in supplemental impact aid for federally impacted 
local school districts, and $10 million in impact aid for severely 
disabled military children.
  Unfortunately, the bill does not authorize additional funding to 
support pay raises for the Department's civilian workforce, as the 
administration proposed a pay freeze for the Federal Government 
civilian workforce for 2020.
  I hope that as we move through this bill and the appropriations bill, 
we can rectify this error. The gap between the military pay raise and 
civilian pay raise has never been greater than what the administration 
has proposed in this year's budget. This is a shortsighted measure that 
will ultimately harm our national security.
  We cannot hope to recruit and retain highly qualified individuals 
into the civil service and our military departments if salaries do not 
keep pace with the private sector or inflation. The Department's 
civilian workforce is a critical component of the total force and 
across the government a vital component to our national defense and 
national security.

                       Sexual Assault Prevention

  Mr. President, the committee continues to enhance sexual assault 
prevention response efforts in the military. Over the years, we have 
enacted more than 100 provisions to address sexual assault. This year, 
we require the GAO to examine all sexual assault provisions enacted 
since 2003 to help us determine how they have been implemented and if 
they are making a difference.
  This year's bill pays particular attention to prevention of sexual 
assault. It requires a comprehensive policy to improve education, 
training, empower and enhance the role of noncommissioned officers in 
the prevention of sexual assault, promote healthy relationships by 
addressing behaviors across the continuum of harm related to sexual 
assault, and foster the social courage to promote interventions.
  This provision also addresses alcohol abuse, which is commonly 
associated with sexual assault.
  Although the issue of sexual assault is a national problem--not just 
a military problem--we remain committed to ensuring the military is at 
the forefront of combating this scourge.
  If the problem of sexual assault in the military is not adequately 
addressed, it will continue to undermine good order and discipline in 
our Armed Forces.
  In the area of acquisition reform, the bill continues to improve the 
Pentagon's ability to build and buy the technologies and systems it 
needs to protect our national security while responsibly spending 
taxpayer money. For example, the bill mandates that the Defense 
Department continue to streamline acquisition and contracting 
processes, including through the use of small, focused teams, in 
accordance with the recommendations of the GAO.
  The bill also seeks to ensure that the Defense Department is aware of 
the state of its industrial base and has better knowledge of the 
contractors with whom it works. The bill includes a provision that 
directs the Department to establish processes by which it can determine 
the actual ownership of the companies with which it signs contracts. We 
have seen instances where Chinese and Russian interests are the actual 
owners of some of the companies in our defense supply chain, raising 
grave concerns with the security and reliability of those contractors. 
We need to take steps to make sure that industrial base is secure.
  The bill also strengthens the Department's ability to secure fair 
prices and good value from its contractors. The bill directs the 
Department to ensure that contractors supply accurate information on 
the price of goods, technologies, and services, and to report instances 
where contractors are not providing required pricing information. It 
also directs the Department to engage the academic community in order 
to develop more streamlined and data-driven methods to determine fair 
and reasonable pricing.

[[Page S3835]]

  In the area of science and technology, I am pleased that the bill 
authorizes increases in funding for critical technology areas like 
cyber security, undersea warfare, and manufacturing.
  The bill also directs the Department to develop a coordinated 
research program in emerging biotechnologies. Every day, we learn about 
new advances in biotechnology, ranging from gene editing to high-speed 
vaccine development and even cloning. We need to make sure the Defense 
Department has robust and informed research efforts in these areas, as 
well as initiatives to monitor the potential threats to our forces and 
the public that may emerge as a result of these technologies.
  In addition, the bill includes multiple provisions related to the 5G 
wireless competition--a competition that the United States and its 
allies and partners cannot afford to lose as 5G becomes the foundation 
for the next set of world-changing technological advances that will 
power the global economy. Driverless cars, the internet of things, 
advanced manufacturing, smart cities, and telemedicine are just a 
sample of what will depend on high-speed, high-capacity, and low-
latency wireless networks. We must have a national and indeed 
international strategy to secure these networks and electronics supply 
chains, and this bill sets out the role the Defense Department should 
play in that effort.
  This year's bill also encourages the Department to continue its 
engagement with the university community, whose work and basic research 
generate the innovations that drive our economic growth and bolster our 
national security. We must promote U.S. university research in both the 
Defense Department and civilian agencies, protect the innovations that 
result from that work, and set up mechanisms to welcome the best and 
brightest technical minds to stay in our Nation after their academic 
studies in order to benefit from their contributions in these important 
fields, which have ramifications for our economy and our national 
  I am turning now to some other areas.
  This bill supports the Army of today, as well as ensures that our 
soldiers are well prepared for the challenges of tomorrow. The bill 
also authorizes funds for critical legacy platforms that the Army must 
rely upon until new systems are fielded in the future, including 
upgrades to the M1 Abrams tank and Stryker platform. The bill supports 
many Army modernization objectives, including long-range precision 
fires, next-generation combat vehicles, and the Army's Future Vertical 
Lift Program. The bill also seeks to fill some capability gaps in the 
Army by authorizing additional funding for hypersonic weapons 
development and increased investments in Army artillery systems.
  In the area of ship construction, the bill approves the continued 
construction of two Virginia-class submarines in fiscal year 2020 and 
authorizes advance procurement for a third boat in fiscal year 2023. 
The bill also authorizes an additional $522 million to make sure that 
both attack submarines planned in fiscal year 2020 are built with the 
Virginia Payload Module.
  Regarding other Navy ship construction programs, the bill ensures 
responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars. It expands the cost cap 
for the Ford-class aircraft carrier program to cover the recently 
signed contract for a two-carrier buy. This language will ensure that 
the Navy and the contractor actually deliver on the cost savings 
promised when the two-ship deal was signed. The bill also tightens the 
cost cap on the Ford-class carriers since the design for the Ford-class 
should be stable for the carriers built after the lead ship, the USS 
Gerald R. Ford.
  In addition, the bill requires the Secretary of the Navy to designate 
a senior technical authority for each class of naval vessels. This 
senior technical authority would be a professional engineer in the Navy 
Sea Systems Command who could counterbalance the input from the 
uniformed Navy in pursuing ship acquisition programs.
  In the area of strategic systems, the bill continues to support 
modernization of all three legs of the nuclear triad: the Columbia-
class submarine, the B-21 bomber, and the ground-based strategic 
deterrent. All are major acquisition programs that will take decades to 
  As we move forward, bipartisan support for these programs will remain 
essential. If we are to maintain a sea-based deterrent, we must begin 
to replace our current fleet of 14 Ohio-class submarines in 2027. The 
bill provides funds for advance procurement for the Columbia-class 
ballistic missile submarine program and authorizes an additional $125 
billion to expand the capabilities of the second- and third-tier 
contractors in the submarine industrial base. Ensuring that these 
second- and third-tier contractors are ready to expand their production 
will be important, indeed critical to keep the Columbia-class program 
on track.
  Turning to the air leg of the triad, the B-52 bomber was fielded in 
1962. While its longevity is impressive, we need to bring its 
replacement, the B-21, online, we hope, in the 2030s. The bill also 
continues to support the replacement for the cruise missile, which is 
our principal stand-off weapon for the B-52 and an important signaling 
hedge under the New START treaty.
  Turning to the administration's proposal for a Space Force, I would 
like to briefly highlight what this bill includes.
  In reviewing the administration's proposal, the committee held 
numerous briefings on the importance of space to national security and 
the protection of our space assets. The committee developed a 
bipartisan proposal for a Space Force that minimizes the overhead costs 
by keeping the Space Force within the Air Force since this force will 
be comprised of about 15,000 Active-Duty members who are almost 
exclusively Air Force personnel. I believe this was a reasonable and 
cost-effective approach to stand up the Space Force during its first 
few years.
  I do have concerns about two provisions added during the markup 
process, one which makes the Space Force chief a member of the Joint 
Chiefs and a second provision that requires the Space Force chief to 
report directly to the Secretary of the Air Force. This latter 
provision will require an additional staff of up to 2,000 people, with 
an annual cost of somewhere between $200 million to $500 million. I am 
hopeful that we can address these issues during conference to find the 
best way forward to ensure our Nation is adequately organized and 
focused on the space mission.
  Turning to countering the continued threat posed by ISIS and other 
violent extremist groups, the bill extends the Iraq and Syria train-
and-equip programs at the requested funding level, while ensuring 
appropriate congressional oversight of the use of such funds. 
Additionally, the bill begins to normalize security assistance to Iraq 
by transitioning funding to enduring authorities.
  The bill also includes important authorities to enable more effective 
information operations by the Department of Defense to counter 
influence activities by violent extremist groups and near-peer 
strategic competitors.
  In the area of special operations, the bill extends and strengthens 
various authorities utilized by our special operations forces and 
empowers the Assistant Secretary for Special Operations and Low-
Intensity Conflict to provide advocacy and oversight of special 
operations forces.
  In addition, the bill ensures adequate congressional oversight of the 
activities conducted by the U.S. military, including special operations 
forces, by ensuring appropriate access to policy and other documents 
that authorize operations overseas.
  Having recently returned from Afghanistan, I am pleased the bill 
authorizes the administration's full request for funds to support the 
ongoing U.S. military efforts as part of Operation Freedom's Sentinel 
and Operation Resolute Support in Afghanistan and includes a new 
reporting requirement to enhance oversight of the ongoing advisory 
mission there.
  The bill contains a number of provisions to build capabilities for 
our strategic competition with Russia. This includes authorizing full 
funding of the budget request for the European Deterrence Initiative, 
or the EDI, to support the U.S. military presence in Europe, enhance 
multilateral training and exercises, and build partner capacity.

[[Page S3836]]

  The bill also authorizes an increase in funding for the Ukraine 
Security Assistance Initiative, for a total of $300 million, of which 
$100 million is available only for lethal assistance. This sends an 
important signal to Russia that its aggression against Ukraine, 
including its attack on Ukrainian naval vessels in the Kerch Strait, 
has consequences. The bill also renews an authority to provide security 
assistance to the Baltic countries for a joint procurement program.
  With regard to Turkey, the committee worked closely with Senators 
Lankford, Shaheen, Van Hollen, and Tillis to include a provision that 
prohibits the transfer of the F-35 aircraft to Turkey, which can only 
be waived if the Secretary of Defense, with the concurrence of the 
Secretary of State, can certify to Congress that Turkey has not 
accepted delivery of the Russian S-400 air defense system and has 
provided reliable assurances that it will not do so in the future. This 
sends a strong message to President Erdogan that he will not have both 
the Russian S-400 and the F-35 co-located on Turkish soil.
  The bill also includes provisions that prioritize defense investments 
to deter Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific region, including 
adding Pacific Island nations to the Indo-Pacific Maritime Security 
Initiative and supporting a multi-domain task force to develop 
capabilities and operational concepts to improve our posture in the 
  To conclude, this bill authorizes $665.7 billion in base funding, 
which is roughly $90 billion above the Budget Control Act, or BCA, 
caps. I want to applaud the chairman's decision to move about $98 
billion of funding the President requested for base requirements in OCO 
back into the base budget where it belongs.
  The Department needs additional resources, particularly to restore 
readiness, to invest in emerging technologies, and to address 
unforeseen situations, such as hurricane damage, but as it stands now, 
this bill, if fully funded, would trigger sequestration. Until Congress 
either repeals the BCA or reaches a new budget agreement, the extra $90 
billion is aspirational, but not real money. I think we are creating 
difficulties for ourselves and the Department if suddenly this funding 
must be stripped out.
  Of all the issues we are considering in Congress, the budget 
situation is, to my mind, the most critical and urgent one, and I hope 
my colleagues are as eager as I am to address this issue.
  Again, let me commend Chairman Inhofe for his efforts in getting us 
to this point. Let me also thank our staffs, who did a superb job and 
continue to do a superb job. Let me thank my colleagues on the 
committee, including the Presiding Officer, for their thoughtful, 
creative, responsible, and very hard work in getting this bill done.
  Mr. Chairman, I look forward to working with you and to an open 
debate on the floor, voting on the bill, and getting this legislation 
passed and moving forward.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, let me say also that Senator Reed and I 
worked together on a lot of these over the years, and this is not going 
to be any different than before. We can get it done. We will get it 
done on time. We will get it done to put us back in the position we 
should be in, the United States of America with our military 
  With that, I appreciate it and look forward to working together.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.