The House and Senate both passed their versions of the National Defense Authorization Act this week. The Senate’s version passed on Thursday, 86-14, and the House’s version passed on Tuesday, 295-125. The law sets policies that govern how we do national security in the following year.
Wesley Hallman, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Policy at the National Defense Industrial Association, says it’s a “great sign” that both houses of Congress seemed to easily pass their NDAA versions and get this done before the August recess. Alan Chvotkin, Executive VP & Counsel at the Professional Services Council, sees “a lot of very good in both of these bills.” He noted that the House is sending a signal that they intend to continue supporting the readiness of forces and the role of contractors, and that the Senate indicated support for the mission of the Department of Defense and COVID-19 recovery spending.
In terms of the impact that COVID-19 has had on the NDAA, Hallman believes that the situation has “brought us to be able to see what’s going on in the international environment, that the world remains a complex place and it’s not getting any easier … there are threats that remain across the board.”
Hallman and Chvotkin both pointed out that there do not seem to be as many contentious issues as there have been in the past. Hallman added that “the important piece of this is that it sets policy, and we can start going after those policies sooner rather than later.” Chvotkin added that there are a number of good provisions to strengthen the supply chain and enhance the role of the Defense Industrial Base.
Chvotkin also pointed out that “most of the bill is about the mission of the Department of Defense, and to its credit, most of the work that the department has done has not been affected significantly by the COVID pandemic,” adding, “kudos to the Department of Defense and its senior leadership for keeping their focus on the mission … and the role of contractors in support of that.”