The legislation is a compromise version of the NDAA that was already passed by the House and now just needs President Biden’s signature to become law. Congress added $25 billion more to the spending bill than Biden requested.
The bill authorizes $740.3 billion for the Pentagon, $27.8 billion for the Energy Department’s nuclear weapons program, and $9.9 billion for “Defense-related Activities Outside NDAA Jurisdiction.”
In September, the House passed a different version of the NDAA that included an amendment from Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) that would have ended US support for the war in Yemen, but the measure was stripped from the compromise version. A provision that would have required women to register for the military draft was also removed.
The NDAA passage comes amid heightened tensions between the US and Russia, and the bill includes $300 million for military aid to Ukraine, $50 million more than what the Pentagon requested. According to The Wall Street Journal, at least $75 million of the Ukraine aid will be “lethal,” meaning it will be spent on offensive weapons, such as Javelin anti-tank missiles the US has already provided to Kyiv.
With the Pentagon focused on countering China, the NDAA includes $7.1 billion for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative (PDI). The PDI is meant to build up US forces in the Asia Pacific to better confront China. Part of the plan is to establish a network of long-range missiles near China’s coast.