A $770 billion defense bill was signed by President Joe Biden. This means an increase in spending in almost every sector of the army.
Actually, the $770 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) ended up being more than Biden asked for, as it needed $24 billion more. Although it did face some opposition from certain Republican and Democratic lawmakers, it was bipartisan support, as it passed both the House and Senate.
The reason why the NDAA have increased their spending was aimed at helping Ukraine defend itself, countering military expansion in China and obtaining more advanced aircraft and ships.
“The discretionary request prioritizes the need to counter the threat from China as the Department’s top challenge. The Department would also seek to deter destabilizing behavior by Russia,” Biden’s budget request issued when asking for $715 billion.
The agreed-upon NDAA also increases pay for more service members by 2.7%.
“The Act authorizes fiscal year appropriations principally for the Department of Defense, for Department of Energy national security programs, and for the Department of State. The Act provides vital benefits and enhances access to justice for military personnel and their families, and includes critical authorities to support our country’s national defense,” Biden said in a statement following the bill’s signing.
The bill includes one agreement that will overhaul how the military handles internal criminal investigations, as, for example, military commanders will now lose much of the previous authority they had to prosecute sexual assault cases. Independent military prosecutors will be replacing them more often.
Sexual harassment in the military will now be criminalized under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
“These reforms, which are supported by longstanding advocates for survivors of the sexual assault crisis in the military, will take the prosecution of all sex crimes in the military away from the control of the military commander. Instead, qualified, independent, uniformed attorneys, ultimately overseen by the civilian service secretaries, will have the sole authority for charging decisions and the responsibility to prosecute those charges,” Adam Smith, a Democratic Washington Rep. said.
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