Size Of The National Defense Authorization Act Raises Concerns

On July 14, 2023, the House on Friday passed its version of the fiscal 2024 defense authorization bill after Republicans secured multiple partisan amendments on hot-button social issues, which resulted in most Democrats voting against it.

The House of Representatives must brace themselves for a showdown over military intervention and U.S. foreign policy. That is unless Republican lawmakers block a set of amendments from a bipartisan group of lawmakers challenging the status quo.

The amendments require approval from the House Rules Committee before being considered for a vote. The Rules Committee has 13 members, four Democrats and three Freedom Caucus Republicans, enough to approve an amendment acting in the coalition.

Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS) stated that he has some serious concerns regarding the size of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA.) The main issue is that it has grown from approximately $700 billion in 2019 to $800 billion in 2022. What have we done with all this funding to improve U.S. defense?

That number increased to over $850 million in 2023 despite a lack of accountability regarding Pentagon Assets. Despite the increases over the past 10 years, Marshall is concerned that the military-industrial complex hasn’t been putting it to good use.

Various scholars have understandably criticized the Military-industrial Complex because it can easily lead to political corruption and unnecessary government defense spending. President Dwight Eisenhower even warned against establishing a “military-industrial complex” in his farewell address in 1961.

Marshall said, “I’m very concerned. This is a $900 billion bill, a nation has a $33 trillion national debt. We’ve seen this bill grow from — over the past four or five years from 700 to 800, now 900 billion dollars.”

The Kansas Republican told POLITICO on Thursday that he is not trying to hold up any votes on the National Defense Authorization Act. However, he did express that he was deeply concerned with the amendment process. He said he has “no desire to derail the NDAA.”

Marshall said in a statement, “I want an open amendment process where we all have the opportunity to bring forth our priorities and make our case. This is a basic right for members of this Chamber, and I am not alone in my frustration with this process.”

The House NDAA authorizes $874.2 billion in national defense spending. The total amount includes $32.2 billion for national security programs within the Energy Department. It would also provide a 5.2% military pay increase.

The NDAA also authorizes full funding for designing and constructing the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence’s Signal School at Fort Gordon. It would also provide funding for the first construction phase for fiscal year 2024.