June 19, 2019 - Issue: Vol. 165, No. 103 — Daily Edition116th Congress (2019 - 2020) - 1st Session
NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2020--MOTION TO PROCEED--Continued; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 103
(Senate - June 19, 2019)
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[Pages S3834-S3836] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2020--MOTION TO PROCEED--Continued 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 amendments. 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 security. 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 field. 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 region. 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 capability. 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. ____________________