Senate panel advances $858 billion bill that supports Ukraine, Taiwan, boosts munition production, kills the A-10, and requires women register for draft | #Education

FIRST DRAFT OF SENATE NDAA: The Senate Armed Services Committee, on a strong, bipartisan 23-3 vote, has sent to the full Senate its version of the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, the annual bill that sets policy for the Department of Defense.
The bill calls for $857.6 billion in defense spending, a $45 billion plus-up, over the budget requested by the Biden administration, largely to cover the effects of inflation, to address the need to replace munitions sent to Ukraine, and provide additional resources for the unfunded priorities of U.S. combatant commanders.
“The committee held a robust debate and came together to support a bill that will help safeguard the nation against a range of evolving threats while supporting our troops both on and off the battlefield,” said Committee Chairman Sen. Jack Reed, D- R.I., who said he was proud to have named the bill for retiring ranking member and Former Chairman Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla, who was known for his bipartisanship.
“This markup was bittersweet, because it’s my last after 27 years as a member of this committee. As this committee has always done for as long as I can remember, we came together in a bipartisan way to build a strong bill, said Inhofe. “I am especially proud that for the second year in a row, the committee almost unanimously voted to approve my amendment with the chairman that would boost the defense budget — this year by $45 billion.”
BY THE NUMBERS: Here’s the breakdown of the NDAA for the fiscal year that starts in October:

  • Department of Defense: $817.33 billion 
  • Department of Energy: $29.67  billion
  • NDAA topline: $847.04 billion 
  • Defense-related activities outside NDAA jurisdiction: $10.6  billion 
  • Total “topline” defense spending: $857.64 billion

TROOP STRENGTH: Here are the authorized active-duty end strengths by service

  • Army: 473,000
  • Navy: 354,000
  • Marine Corps: 177,000
  • Air Force: 325,344
  • Space Force: 8,600

UKRAINE: The bill extends and modifies the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which is the program that allows the Pentagon to buy new weapons and ammunition to supply to Ukraine as opposed to drawing from the current U.S. military inventory.
In the last $1 billion in military assistance to Ukraine announced this week, $650 million came from the USAI program. The committee bill authorizes $800 million in fiscal year 2023, while also requiring the Government Accountability Office to review Pentagon efforts to monitor and ensure accountability for how Ukraine uses the weapons provided by the U.S.
The bill also authorizes more than $2.7 billion for the U.S. to ramp up munitions production and expand the for future production to replenish the tens of thousands of artillery rounds, rockets, and missiles supplied to Ukraine.
It also contains a “sense of the Senate” provision stating that “the United States stands with the people of Ukraine as they defend their freedom, sovereignty, and pursuit of further Euro-Atlantic integration.”
TAIWAN: The bill would make it the official policy of the United States to maintain the ability of the U.S. armed forces “to deny a fait accompli” against Taiwan. This would mandate that the U.S. develop and maintain the military capability in the Indo-Pacific sufficient to deter China from “using military force to unilaterally change the status quo with Taiwan.”
It also seeks to bolster Taiwanese defenses by requiring Taipei to “develop and implement a multi-year plan to provide for the acquisition of appropriate defensive capabilities,” as well as for the U.S. military to engage in a series of combined planning and training exercises with Taiwan.
WOMEN AND THE DRAFT: One of the more controversial provisions would amend the Military Selective Service Act to require women to register for the draft. Republicans succeeded in striking the proposal in last year’s NDAA, but it made it through the committee over the objections of three members, Sens. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss.
Hawley was joined by fellow Senate Republicans Marco Rubio, Fla.; James Lankford, Okla.; Roger Marshall, Kan.; Cindy Hyde-Smith, Miss.; John Boozman, Ark.; Steve Daines, Mont.; Mike Lee, Utah; Ted Cruz, Texas; and Jim Risch, Idaho, in urging Chairman Jack Reed in “the strongest possible terms” not to “force America’s women to register for the military draft.”
In a letter to Reed before the vote, the senators wrote, “Reviving these efforts would be a grave mistake and would needlessly inject divisive social policies into important debates over our national security.”
“Women have served in and alongside the Armed Forces since our nation’s founding. Time and again, they have answered the call of duty and served honorably – often heroically – when our nation needed them. But they have done so of their own will. While American men are required to register for the military draft and fight if needed, these requirements have never been applied to American women. Where they have fought, they have done so freely.”
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HAPPENING TODAY: The Faith and Freedom Coalition is holding its “Road to the Majority Policy Conference” in Nashville, Tennessee, with speakers including former President Donald Trump; Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.; Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla.; Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn.; Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla.; Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas; Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio; former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos; and Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, R-N.C.
THE A-10 UNDER FIRE, AGAIN: It’s a perennial battle that the venerable warbird, the A-10 “Warthog,” almost always wins. For years now, the Air Force had proposed retiring the beloved 1970s ground attack plane known for its legendary ability to withstand ground fire and shred tanks with its 30 mm cannon firing depleted uranium shells.
But the Senate Armed Services Committee version of the 2023 NDAA supports the Air Force plan to phase out the A-10s over the next six years and assign its close air support mission to F-16s.
The plan, which would retire 21 A-10s from the Air National Guard over the next year, still has to get by the A-10 lobby in Congress.
NOT SO FAST WITH F-22s: The committee’s NDAA put the brakes on the Air Force plan to retire 33 older “block 20” F-22 Raptors, considered by many to be the world’s best air-to-air fighter.
The bill “prohibits the retirement of F-22 Block 20 aircraft until submission of a detailed written plan for training F-22 aircrew while avoiding any degradation in readiness or reduction in combat capability.”
The Air Force says the older jets are primarily used for training and are expensive to maintain.
MORE F-35s: The Biden Pentagon budget included 33 new F-35As for the Air Force, but the committee added seven more based on the Air Force’s “unfunded priorities list.”
The bill also authorizes funding for 13 F-35C aircraft for the Navy and 15 F-35Bs for the Marines.

  • Authorizes a 4.6% pay raise for both the military and the DOD civilian workforce.
  • Requires a naval combat force structure to include a minimum of 31 amphibious warfare ships, of which no fewer than 10 shall be amphibious assault ships.
  • Authorizes the procurement of eight battle force ships: two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers; two Virginia-class submarines; one Constellation-class frigate; one San Antonio-class amphibious ship; one John Lewis-class oiler; and one Navajo-class towing, salvage, and rescue ship.
  • Authorizes multiyear or block buy contracts for the procurement of up to 15 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, 10 ship to shore connectors, eight Lewis-class oilers, and CH-53K helicopters.
  • Continues research and development of the nuclear sea-launched cruise missile, which the Biden administration proposed eliminating.
  • Authorizes the procurement of the Iron Dome short-range rocket defense system, David’s Sling Weapon System, and Arrow 3 Upper Tier Interceptor Program.
  • Authorizes $140.8 million for additional female/small stature body armor and cold weather gear.
  • Requires quarterly briefings on the DOD southwest border support mission and the security situation along that border.
  • Requires an independent assessment of DOD efforts to train, advise, assist, and equip the military forces of Somalia.
  • Authorizes the closure of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility in Hawaii, requires a plan for the cleanup, monitoring, and maintenance of the facility following closure, and requires an independent assessment on the optimal post-closure care of Red Hill.


The Rundown

Washington Examiner: Senate Armed Services Committee adds $45B to Biden’s national defense spending
Washington Examiner: ‘They can go to hell!’: Right rejects push to force women to register for the draft
Washington Examiner: Suicide spike among Navy carrier crew spotlights soul-crushing conditions for junior sailors
Washington Examiner: White House acknowledges ‘tension’ between Biden and staff statements on Taiwan
Washington Examiner: Russian spy caught trying to embed in International Criminal Court
Washington Examiner: Third American missing in Ukraine
Washington Examiner: Five Jan. 6 hearing takeaways on Pence bucking Trump over the 2020 election count
Washington Examiner: US troops detain ‘experienced bomb maker’ who was ‘instructing others’ in Syria
Washington Examiner: Senate passes legislation to expand veterans’ healthcare, help burn pit victims
Washington Examiner: Police group sues Biden administration over Border Patrol ‘whipping’ investigation
Defense News: Five Years Later: Inside The Navy’s Data-Driven Quest To Avert A Future Fitzgerald Or McCain Collision
Stars and Stripes: Navy Relieves Seventh Leader Over Past Two Weeks
Reuters: Tanker Owner Owes $44.6 Mln Over 2017 Fatal Crash With U.S. Navy Destroyer — Judge
Washington Post: Russian army ramps up recruitment as steep casualties thin the ranks
Washington Post: China launches cutting-edge aircraft carrier, first to be locally designed
Air Force Magazine: Senate Panel Allows A-10 Cuts, But Not F-22s
Air Force Magazine: Top Pentagon Aide, Former Tech Executive Nominated as No. 2 Weapons Buyer
The Drive: Navy Could End Up Decommissioning Only Four Littoral Combat Ships
Breaking Defense: ‘Not Making ****ing Widgets Here’: Smith Defends Acquisition Process
USNI News: HASC Chair Smith To White House: Send More Missiles And Drones To Ukraine
Air Force Magazine: Space Force Accepting Transfer Applications, Plans to Add 243 Guardians The Russian Army Is Taking Massive Losses in Eastern Ukraine What To Do If North Korea Tests a Nuclear Weapon Again A Chinese Invasion of Taiwan Could Unleash an Economic Disaster Can the Littoral Combat Ship Be Saved?
Washington Post: Army-Navy Games To Be Played At Five Northeast Sites The Next Five Seasons


1 p.m. — Government Executive Media Group Defense One Tech Summit, with House Intelligence ranking member Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio; Mark Munsell, deputy director of the Data and Digital Innovation Directorate at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency; David van Weel, assistant NATO secretary general for emerging security challenges; and Michael Brown, director of the Defense Innovation Unit
TBA — House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., will release the text of his “Chairman’s Mark” of the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act.
8 a.m. 2401 M St., N.W. — George Washington University Project for Media and National Security iDefense Writers Group conversation with Meredith Berger, acting Undersecretary of the Navy/assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations, and the environment Email Thom Shanker at
1 p.m. 390 Cannon — House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol hearing on “the January 6th Investigation.”
10 a.m. 2118 Rayburn — House Armed Services Committee full committee markup of H.R.7900, the FY2023 NDAA
10 a.m. — House Appropriations Committee markup of the FY2023 Defense Appropriations bill; and the FY2023 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill.
2:45 p.m. 419 Dirksen — Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing: “NATO Enlargement: Examining the Proposed Accession of Sweden and Finland,” with testimony from Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Karen Donfried; and Assistant Defense Secretary of for International Security Affairs Celeste Wallander
7 a.m. — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg briefs reporters ahead of the Madrid Summit for heads of state and government.
9:30 a.m. — Summit of NATO Heads of State and Government in Madrid, Spain, with an opening speech from Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
4 p.m. 1616 Rhode Island Ave N.W. — Center for Strategic and International Studies hybrid event: “National Security and Artificial Intelligence: Global Trends and Challenges,” with Paul “PJ” Maykish, senior director of research and analysis for future technology platforms at the Special Competitive Studies Project; David Spirk, former DOD chief data officer; Neil Serebryany, CEO of CalypsoAI; Margaret Palmieri, deputy chief digital and AI officer, Department of Defense; and Jake Harrington, intelligence fellow, International Security Program, CSIS
2 a.m. — Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg speaks to reporters as he arrives at the Summit of NATO Heads of State and Government in Madrid, Spain, followed by an opening ceremony at 4 a.m., and an end of day briefing by Stoltenberg at 7:45 a.m. (All times eastern).
10 a.m. — House Appropriations Committee markup of the FY2023 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations bill
6:15 a.m. — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg press conference at the conclusion of the Summit of NATO Heads of State and Government in Madrid, Spain.
Aspen Meadows Resort, Colorado — Aspen Strategy Group three-day (19-22) Aspen Security Forum with Air Force Chief of Staff Charles Q. Brown; former Defense Secretary Robert Gates; Army Gen. Richard Clarke, commander U.S. Special Operations Command; Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.; former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; Kay Bailey Hutchison, former U.S. ambassador to NATO; and others.
Fort Bragg, N.C. — Association of the U.S. Army two-day, in-person “Warfighter Summit and Exposition,” with Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville; Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston; Alejandro Villanueva, former Army Ranger and former offensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens; as well as leaders from Army Forces Command, the XVIII Airborne Corps and the 82nd Airborne Division. Register at


“Donald Trump and his allies and supporters are a clear and present danger to American democracy. That’s not because of what happened on January 6th. It’s because to this very day the former president, his allies, and supporters pledge that in the presidential election of 2024 if the former president or his anointed successor of the Republican Party presidential candidate were to lose that election that they would attempt to overturn that 2024 election in the same way that they attempted to overturn the 2020 election but succeed in 2024 where they failed in 2020.”

Retired Federal Judge J. Michael Luttig, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, testifying before House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol.

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