U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Ranking Member of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, announced Friday that, following a conference report agreement between the Senate and the House, that Congress has passed the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act. Sessions, who worked on the legislation throughout, issued the following remarks and legislative summary:
"Alabama's men and women in uniform are among the finest in the military and in the world. They represent every day the highest ideals of our state. During this Christmas season when so many of our service members are deployed in harm's way, we are reminded of their sacrifice and humbled by their patriotism. We must always ensure these men and women remain the best supported and equipped in the world—both now and when they come home.
In order to maintain our unrivaled military dominance, we must prevent a debt crisis. And while every department of government will have to achieve savings to prevent a financial crisis from occurring, budget reductions must be made wisely and strategically. They cannot fall disproportionately on defense. Unlike so much of what Washington does—defense is a core, constitutional function of government."
I can report that, after successful bipartisan cooperation in the Senate and the House, Alabama's contribution to our nation's security was vigorously defended, unwise cuts were redirected, and some valuable gains were achieved. Many of the measures I authored in Committee prevailed through this deliberative process, showing how the Senate—when given opportunity— can achieve meaningful, bipartisan policies that serve the national interest."
"The 908th Airlift Wing at Maxwell Air Force Base is one of the most exceptional units in the country and is the perfect example of why funding decisions should be based on merit. I am proud to say that the Air Force has been allowed to offer an alternative force structure plan that saves the 908th from being inactivated and adds back its eighth authorized C-130 aircraft. The proposal also restores the 187th Civil Engineering Squadron at Dannelly Field from inactivation and secures the status of the 187th Fighter Wing and its 23 F-16 aircraft which was an important development."
Sessions on the sequester: "The Defense Department is working hard to be more efficient and to maintain strength in the face of the already imposed cuts. But, if the sequester were to take full effect the DOD would sustain severe damage."
Summary of main provisions:
"As Ranking Member of the Senate Strategic Forces Subcommittee I worked to improve efficiency and savings in the nuclear weapons enterprise while forestalling unsafe reductions in our arsenal. I am proud that the Congress recognizes the importance of having a safe and reliable nuclear triad. Our nuclear weapons and nuclear complex are aging and must be modernized and maintained."
"Another provision I recently worked on regarding the important, ongoing negotiations with the government of Afghanistan also prevailed in our conference committee discussions. This provision requires that the President share with Congress any future security agreements between the U.S. and Afghanistan."
"I was pleased that the conference committee felt that the President had the authority to affect an honorary posthumous promotion for Sergeant Paschal Conley, a Civil War Buffalo Soldier. I will take this matter up with the Department of Defense to get the long overdue recognition that he and his family deserve."
"Huntsville's dedicated workforce makes an irreplaceable contribution to our nation's security and our journey into space. The authorizations in this bill, totaling $9.8 billion, an increase of $152 million above the President's request for missile defense, are positive news for Redstone and the entire community, particularly during these tight budget times."
"The Littoral Combat Ship, as the Secretary of the Navy has said before our committee, will play a huge role in the future of our navy. This bill fully supports both the LCS and the Joint High Speed Vessel programs, which have proven to be vital assets to the future of our Navy. This is a good value for the taxpayer, the right choice for our county, and the delegation must remain vigilant in supporting this important feature of our nation's defense structure."
"This bill recognizes the great contribution the Anniston Army Depot makes to our nation's military and I worked to ensure we fully repealed last year's damaging provision that could upset and weaken the current and future workload plans at Anniston. By repealing that legislation Anniston Army Depot is protected from unwise legislation that would have a detrimental impact on Anniston's world-class operation. I am pleased that the final outcome of our deliberations resulted in a full repeal."
INFORMATION SOURCE: Senator Session's press office