U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today spoke from the Senate floor in support of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The annual national defense bill authorizes all spending for the Department of Defense.

“The NDAA is a critical part of keeping this nation safe. It’s a critical part of giving our service men and women the training, the equipment, and the resources that they need,” Wicker said in his remarks.

As the former chairman of the Seapower Subcommittee, Wicker has been a long-time advocate for expanding the Navy’s fleet to meet rising threats from nations like China and Russia. Wicker noted in his remarks that the FY2021 NDAA would fund seven new battle force ships and authorize procurement of four new amphibious assault ships to be built in American shipyards.

“These projects would bring our Navy closer to the total of 355 ships, which is part of the requirement that we get from our admirals and generals from around the world,” Wicker said.

Wicker also highlighted the damage the coronavirus has done to the defense manufacturing base, which has struggled to retain employees as companies adapt their operations. Wicker has supported additional military procurement as a means to stabilize production lines for ships and aircraft.

“We’ve had this dip in military manufacturing that affects both ships and aircraft manufacturing, and I would just point out to my colleagues that we are going to need to restore that dip outside the regular appropriations process,” Wicker said. “I would commend to my colleagues the possibility of putting the job creation part of this equation in phase four of our COVID-19 response bill, which I think will come before the Senate in the second part of July.”

Wicker also praised the inclusion of additional funding for Junior ROTC programs. Wicker hassponsored legislation that would increase support for JROTC programs across the country.

“Junior ROTC is a fantastic way to build character and build ability and education in our high school students. If you take a school that is fortunate enough to have one of these programs, the statistics are absolutely astounding. Students that participate in Junior ROTC consistently statistically have better grades. They have fewer dropouts. There’s a better graduation rate and there’s higher post-secondary participation among the small set of people within a school who participated in Junior ROTC.”

“I’ve visited these programs in the state of Mississippi. They work and they’re good. They’re not only good for national defense. They’re just good for America and for citizenship.”

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Release from Senator Roger Wicker.