US President Biden signs $770 billion defense bill | USA News®

(Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden has signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, for fiscal year 2022, which authorizes $770 billion in defense spending, the White House said on Monday.

Earlier this month, the Senate and House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly for the defense bill 770-billion-defense-bill-2021-12-15 with strong support from Democrats and Republicans for the Department of Defense’s annual law-making policy.

“The law provides vital benefits and improves access to justice for military personnel and their families, and includes authorities essential to supporting our nation’s national defense,” Biden said in a statement after the bill was signed. law.

The NDAA is closely watched by a wide range of industries and other interests because it is one of the only major pieces of legislation that becomes law each year and because it addresses a wide range of issues. The NDAA has become law every year for six decades.

Authorizing about 5% more military spending than last year, the NDAA for fiscal year 2022 is a compromise after intense negotiations between House and Senate Democrats and Republicans after being stymied by disputes on the politics of China and Russia.

It includes a 2.7% salary increase for troops, and more purchases of Navy planes and ships, in addition to strategies to deal with geopolitical threats, particularly Russia and China.

The NDAA includes $300 million for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which provides support to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, $4 billion for the European Defense Initiative and $150 million for Baltic Security Cooperation. .

Regarding China, the bill includes $7.1 billion for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative and a statement of Congressional support for Taiwan’s defense, as well as a ban on the Department of Defense buying products made with forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region.

He created a 16-member commission to study the war in Afghanistan. Biden ended the dispute — by far the country’s longest war — in August.

Even as the White House announced the passage of the NDAA, it criticized the bill’s provisions prohibiting the use of funds to transfer Guantánamo Bay detainees to the custody of certain foreign countries or to the United States unless certain conditions are met.

“It is the long-standing position of [the White House] that these provisions unduly impede the ability of the executive to determine when and where to prosecute Guantánamo Bay detainees and where to send them upon release,” Biden said in a statement.

Created to house foreign suspects following the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington, the prison has become a symbol of the excesses of the United States’ “war on terror” due to harsh interrogation methods which critics say amounts to torture.

Biden said he hopes to close the prison before his term ends, but the law still prohibits the federal government from transferring inmates to prisons in the continental United States. Even with Democrats now in control of Congress, Biden has such slim majorities that he would struggle to secure legislative changes because some Democrats might oppose them as well.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Alexandra Alper; Editing by Mark Porter, Matthew Lewis and David Gregorio)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

Kevin E. Boling