(WASHINGTON) – Indiana Rep. Jim Banks has been named to the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Committee, where he will play a leadership role in the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act for the third year in a row.
The bipartisan, bicameral committee consists of 32 members and is responsible for reconciling differences between the current House NDAA and the Senate’s version. Once complete, the committee will refer the amended bill to both chambers for a final vote. Upon passage, the FY21 NDAA will be presented to the president for signature to become law, authorizing next fiscal year’s funding level for our military.
Congressman Banks knows what the defense budget means for boots on the ground. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2014 and 2015.
In the House Armed Services Committee NDAA markup this summer, Congressman Banks advocated for the following provisions:
Rep. Banks advocated for the vital national security work of Hoosiers at companies like Ultra Electronics, AM General, Rolls-Royce, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Cummins, Allision Transmission, GE, Hendrix International, BWXT, Gradient, PMI, and others. These companies both big and small, employ tens of thousands of Indiana residents and contribute significantly to securing our nation.
The programs Rep Banks championed represent over $4 billion in authorized defense budget spending, funding everything from advanced research initiatives such as materials science, synthetic training environments, and next generation combat vehicles; to securing the authorization of major national defense procurements, such as the P-8 Poseidon aircraft, Stryker Tactical vehicles, F-15EX fighter jets, and state of the art sonobuoys.
Rep. Banks passed several amendments unanimously, including language on the Future Tactical Unmanned Aerial System (FTUAS), cutting edge waterjet demilitarization disposal technology, hypersonic and high mach aircraft capabilities, RF and EMP protection technologies, and defensive support for partner nations like Taiwan.
“I am once again honored to join my colleagues on the NDAA conference committee,” said Banks. “This will be the third time I’ll serve as a conferee to fight for Hoosier defense priorities. As co-chair of the HASC Future of Defense Task Force over the past year, I’ve learned what the DoD and Indiana need to do to prepare our warfighters for an era of great power competition. I am proud of the work of Hoosiers throughout the state leading the way in key defense technologies and defense manufacturing.”
Said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, “Jim is a patriot who understands that freedom is a precious gift that we must work to pass on to the next generation. As a member of the China Task Force and Armed Services Committee, he led numerous efforts to end our dependence on China and strengthen our national defense. And like any good leader, he leads by example — serving in the Naval Reserves and even taking a leave of absence to serve in Afghanistan. Jim is a natural fit to help get the NDAA signed into law and he will bring a close eye for detail and a firm determination to ensure the next century is an American century.”
Indiana Priorities and Key House NDAA National Security Provisions:
- SMART Program Amendment – Rep. Banks’ amendment utilities key principles from his standalone bill HR 6526, known as the STEM Corps Act, and incorporated them into DOD scholarship programs. The program advocates for student financial assistance, close partnerships with industry, and competitive salaries for talented STEM graduates. These initiatives will help address critical STEM workforce demands and attract more STEM talent to government service.
- Protecting Sensitive University Research – This amendment furthered Rep. Banks’ efforts to protect our university research programs from nefarious foreign actors. The amendment sought to address concerns initially raised in a bill Rep. Banks introduced last year, the Protect Our Universities Act. Taking the lead on a heated markup floor debate, Rep. Banks was able to win bipartisan support to remove a loophole in the existing policy, allowing and directing the DOD to now be able to gather information on, and understand who exactly is working on DOD funded research programs that have direct national security interests. This opens the door to an open and transparent research and development program, permitting the DOD to identify potential adversarial threats earlier on in the process.
- Professional Military Education Amendment – Rep. Banks was able to achieve unanimous support for the establishment of a new program to develop a “Public-Private Consortium to Improve Professional Military Education.” The consortium would advance the training and development of junior and senior warfighters.