U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the second-ranking Democrat of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Chairman of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, released the following statement on the National Defense Authorization Act of 2024 (NDAA), which the Senate approved on Thursday, July 27, by a bipartisan 86-11 vote.
“Each year, Congress comes together on a bipartisan basis to support our brave troops and their families, and strengthen our national security and defense. The Senate has shown that such bipartisanship still is possible. By working together, we are providing a pay increase for our servicemembers and making tangible improvements to housing for them and their families to ease the burden of service. We are modernizing our Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Space Force to meet the challenges of our time, and we are reinforcing our commitments to NA TO, Ukraine, and other critical allies and partners. These investments hit close to home for Maryland, which has about 100,000 activeduty, reserve and National Guard service members, and nearly 375,000 jobs across 15 military installations.”
Earlier in the day, the Senate unanimously approved an amendment to the NDAA Senator Cardin authored to require the State Department to publish an annual list of countries, ranked in three tiers according to the degree to which the governments are fulfilling the commitments they have made to combat corruption in international covenants. “Global corruption erodes trust and confidence in democratic institutions, the rule of law, and human rights protections,” Senator Cardin added. “Our bipartisan legislation, which matches President Biden’s assertion that fighting corruption is a core national security priority, will provide a new tool to encourage other governments to cooperate with America’s global fight against corrupt actors.”
As Chairman of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, Senator Cardin worked to ensure that the NDAA includes key contracting provisions that will bolster small businesses in Maryland and nationwide by increasing the size of defense contracts available to firms that are socially-and-economically disadvantaged; certified to be owned by women, veterans, or service-disabled veterans; or located in HUBZones. Senator Cardin: “Contracting changes may not be the flashiest of legislative fixes in NDAA, but these technical changes
will make a substantial difference for the small business owners providing innovative products and services to the DOD and other agencies across the federal government.”
Among the provisions specific to Maryland, the NDAA:
· Authorizes $61 million for a Navy Cybersecurity Operations Facility at Ft. Meade;
· Authorizes $62 million for an aircraft development and maintenance facility at Naval Air Station Patuxent River;
· Authorizes $101 million for medical center construction at Bethesda Naval Hospital;
·Authorizes $38 million for a hydrant fueling system on Joint Base Andrews;
· Authorizes $13 million for a Child Development Center on Joint Base Andrews;
· Authorizes $885 million for joint military construction on Ft. Meade;
· Directs the consolidation of the Joint Spectrum Center from Annapolis to a modern facility on Ft. Meade;
· Directs the Navy to preserve public access to Greenbury Point Conservation Area, except for temporary restrictions to protect public safety such as live fire exercises.