Combined Military Service Digital Photographic Files
The one piece of annual federal legislation that seems to work is the National Defense Authorization Act (The “NDAA”). The NDAA is still gargantuan at 973 pages of House Resolution (HR) 2670 and the accompanying Conference Report, at 1,627 pages, that resolves the difference between the House and the Senate. However, as opposed to national health care that also comes in at thousands of pages, the NDAA is rote and most mere mortals can rapidly search, find, and see the relevant text.
Federal legislation needs both an Authorization (the NDAA) and Appropriation to be implemented. Something can be authorized and not have any Appropriation (i.e. funding). The inverse can be true also (funding, but no Authorization). Why is there both an Authorization and an Appropriation? Go ask your Mom and Dad as Dr. Suess would say, or better yet, see the Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report on this topic. CRS reports are excellent at explaining the byzantine nature of the largest bureaucracy in the universe, the U.S. Government.
The purpose of the NDAA is that the NDAA, “…authorizes FY2024 appropriations and sets forth policies for Department of Defense (DOD) programs and activities, military construction, the national security programs of the Department of Energy (DOE), and the Maritime Administration. It also authorizes appropriations for the Defense Nuclear Safety Board and the Naval Petroleum Reserves. The bill authorizes appropriations but it does not provide budget authority, which is provided by appropriations legislation.”
Having developed Jedi likes skills from years on the Joint Staff, the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) Staff, and being the OSD representative to the National Security Council, blasting through voluminous pieces of legislation and action packages with light saber speed and accuracy, here is the Good, the Bad, and the Could have Been Better of key portions of the NDAA.
SEC. 252. AUDIT TO IDENTIFY DIVERSION OF DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE FUNDING TO CHINA’S RESEARCH LABS
This Section is an important step forward in discovering truth on Wuhan and the EcoHealth Alliance/Dr. Fauci deadly canard. Other important sections addressing these matters and related CCP research efforts with U.S. Government funds include Section 1811.
SEC. 401. END STRENGTHS FOR ACTIVE FORCES.
The Armed Forces are authorized strengths for active-duty personnel as of September 30, 2024, as follows:
- The Army, 445,000.
- The Navy, 337,800.
- The Marine Corps, 172,300.
- The Air Force, 320,000.
- The Space Force, 9,400.
As open conflict approaches with China and the national security apparatus has to deal with arson fires set by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Ukraine, Hamas attacks against Israel, a rapidly expanding attack on merchant shipping across the broad Middle East, and Venezuela threatening to attack Guyana, the question is, “Is the Military large enough?”. Well except for perhaps the Marines, the Services are failing significantly to meet these authorized end strengths. The “W” (Wokeness) word must be addressed as a foundational matter causing historic recruiting and retention matters. I would further posit that since deterring China from broader conflict is primarily a Navy and Air Force mission, that perhaps Army should magnanimously offer some of its non-Special Operations end strength to Navy and Air Force. Army Engineers, Military Police, and Air Defense transferred from Army would be most appreciated as Navy and Air Force harden and disperse a much larger basing footprint across the Western Pacific.
SEC. 526. CONSIDERATION OF REINSTATEMENT OF A MEMBER OF THE ARMED FORCES INVOLUNTARILY SEPARATED ON THE BASIS OF REFUSAL TO RECEIVE A VACCINATION AGAINST COVID-19.
Sections 527 and 528 are also related. The language in these sections starts to address the unprecedented behavior of senior military leadership to the vaccination requirements. There needs to be an accounting for the decision process and implementation efforts during this dark period. The Military, normally in the long run, gets things right and makes amends, this is an area where intellectual honesty, transparency, and accountability is needed to restore faith in the military. It may very well assist in pushing recruiting and retention rates higher. The House receded on their assertion of a prohibition against forced masking (Section 736) which has been obvious virtue signaling.
SEC. 1101. DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION PERSONNEL GRADE CAP
There is good and bad in this Section. We’ll call this the Bishop Garrison memorial clause. Bishop is the highly partisan activist appointed by the Secretary of Defense to obsess over race issues, thus making them worse. This Section limits the appointment level to a GS-10 equivalent for anyone involved in DEI matters, a relatively low paying position that would strongly deter the appointment of any noteworthy personality to such a position. The authority to appoint a DEI commissar is still there, but at a low pay rate. Section 529B also puts a hiring freeze on such positions, but the House relented on the original Section 904 which was to eliminate these positions.
SEC. 1013—DISRUPTION OF FENTANYL TRAFFICKING
A bit watered down from the original House version (Section 1009), the conference version directs the Secretary of Defense to present a report by May 2024 on a number of matters related to whole of U.S. Government and key partner (Mexico and Canada) efforts in stopping Fentanyl production and distribution across the open American border. The language could have been stronger and more prescriptive, but this is an important step toward an authorization to use military force (AUMF) against Chinese oversight of production of Fentanyl by the Cartels in Northern Mexico.
SEC. 1250B OVERSIGHT OF PROGRAMS AND OPERATIONS FUNDED WITH AMOUNTS APPROPRIATED BY THE UNITED STATES FOR UKRAINE. (a) SPECIAL INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR OPERATION ATLANTIC RE- SOLVE
Although a blackbelt Jedi on legislation, I found this section a bit confusing. Up until September 2023, there apparently was no Inspector General (IG) for Operation Atlantic Resolve (OAR), the official title for US support to Ukraine. In September 2023, US Agency for International Development (USAID) announced the appointment of Robert Storch, the Department of Defense (DOD) IG as the IG for OAR. This and Section 1250B are a much belated and needed activity for any aid to Ukraine (or any country) which has had no real oversight until this appointment. Did weapons given to Ukraine appear in the hands of Hamas? Unclear and now overtaken by information warfare by all sides, but my gut instinct places this in the world of the possible.
SEC. 1640. MATTERS RELATING TO THE NUCLEAR-ARMED, SEALAUNCHED CRUISE MISSILE
This may be the most important Section of the entire NDAA. The Biden Team has fought the return of nuclear Tomahawks with the W-80 warhead (dialable between 5 and 150 kilotons) tooth and nail. It was pure virtue signaling. Their preferred weapon was the B-61-12 with tailkit which meant the pilot had to overfly the target like it was 1960. Multiple Generals and Admirals asked for the re-introduction of Nuclear Tomahawks although the Chief of Naval Operations at the time drug his feet and was concerned that putting these back on ships and submarines distracted from other missions (such as Critical Race Theory apparently). The re-introduction date is not later than 2034, which needs to be greatly accelerated to counter the wildly expanding Chinese nuclear force.
SEC. 1309. TRAINING, ADVISING, AND INSTITUTIONAL CAPACITYBUILDING PROGRAM FOR MILITARY FORCES OF TAIWAN
There are many references of support to Taiwan, but this is the most important one and accelerates the training and equipping of Taiwanese military elements which is shadowy and on-going and conducted mainly by Special Operations Command Pacific.
This is just the wavetops of the behemoth NDAA. Far more exists in the NDAA and can be rapidly searched and found. The 2023 and 2024 NDAAs represent a shift in momentum in building up American military capacity and capabilities – but without America First Leadership and an explicit expungement of Wokeness, serious drag co-efficient will impede the timely and effective spin-up of the Arsenal of Democracy to protect our Constitutional Republic and the Free World from the malign efforts of the Chinese Communist Party to replace America, peacefully or otherwise.
All viewpoints are personal and do not reflect the viewpoints of any organization.