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Senate Panel OKs $740.5B National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2021

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The Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday passed a $740.5 billion defense policy bill for fiscal year 2021 in a 25-2 vote.

The proposed FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act will advance four priorities based on the National Defense Strategy: supporting troops, families and the civilian workforce; reinforcing and accelerating NDS implementation; building a modern, innovative and lethal force; and reshaping Pentagon management to maximize performance, lethality and accountability, according to a summary of the measure.

The Senate panel said the U.S. military advantage in ground, aerial, space, cyber space and maritime domains should be protected and the FY21 NDAA seeks accelerate innovation to allow the country to better compete with Russia and China.

The bill seeks to authorize over $300 million above the president’s budget request for the Department of Defense’s science and technology research efforts and supports the development of hypersonic weapons, 5G wireless networks, artificial intelligence and quantum information science, according to the summary.

The measure would earmark $21.3 billion for shipbuilding initiatives, $9.1 billion for the procurement of 95 F-35 fighter jets and $3.7 billion for weapons programs. It also details plans to further develop joint capabilities, strengthen alliances and maintain superiority in ground, air, cyber, maritime and space domains.