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Deborah Lee James, former Secretary of the Air Force, details her views on the House version of the NDAA, and why it might be lacking some large programs.

The House Armed Services Committee’s markup of the National Defense Authorization Act focuses heavily on the Air Force. As it stands, the 2020 NDAA recommends purchasing additional F-35 and F-15EX fighter jets, and increases recruitment goals for the branch. It also doesn’t take sides on some important Air Force issues, such as the creation of a Space Force. Deborah Lee James, former Secretary of the Air Force, says that this is due to disagreements within the committee.


“It’s a reflection of collegiality and respect. That the subcommittee chairman would not wish to put something into his mark which would then put the full committee chairman in a difficult position of trying to strike it,” James said. “Rather, this way they will have a debate in the full committee. Amendments will be offered, presumably one to have the Space Force, another maybe to prohibit it and maybe a third which would be to study it further, which is the approach that the house appropriations committee took. It is a debate, there will be votes and we will see where they will come out.”

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