The Mississippi Senator has been a strong advocate for increasing size, capabilities of U.S. Navy fleet.

Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, voted Thursday to advance the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (FY 22 NDAA) to the full Senate. The committee-passed legislation outlines America’s military priorities and national security interests for the coming years.

“Today the Senate Armed Services Committee advanced a strong, bipartisan proposal to support our nation’s military service members and to enhance our national security,” Wicker said. “I appreciate Chairman Reed and Ranking Member Inhofe for their work on this legislation.”

Wicker has been critical of the President’s budget, saying it did not address the needs of the U.S. military, particularly the Navy. The legislation as it stands would authorize a topline figure of $777.9 billion for national defense, which is $25 billion over President Biden’s budget request. It would also provide a 2.7 percent pay raise for all members of the armed forces and an additional $2.5 billion for the U.S. Navy’s shipbuilding plan over the President’s budget request.

“I am especially heartened to see the bipartisan backing for an increase in funding for the U.S. Navy over and above the President’s budget request. As our nation’s adversaries rush to increase the size and capabilities of their fleets, it is important that we make the investments necessary to retain our competitive edge and deter future conflict.”

The Senate’s defense proposal contains several of Senator Wicker’s priorities to boost America’s Navy, including language that would:

  • Authorize the acquisition of an additional Arleigh-Burke class destroyer (DDG) above and beyond the President’s budget request;
  • Request the Navy support a new multi-year procurement of destroyers into FY 23 until the next generation of destroyers are ready to go into production;
  • Extend authorization through FY 22 for a block buy of amphibious ships, including LPDs 31, 32, and 33, and LHA 9;
  • Recommend an increase in funding of $100 million for LHA-9;
  • Recommend $250 million in advanced procurement funding for LPD 32 to acquire long lead time material as part of the amphibious ship bundle; and
  • Encourage multi-ship block buys for amphibious ships and direct the Navy to do a cost analysis of potential savings for several potential acquisition strategies.

Wicker’s office says the defense proposal also contains the Senator’s requests to support cutting edge research and development and other Mississippi priorities, including language that would:

  • Fulfill a Mississippi Army National Guard requirement to construct a MATES facility at Camp Shelby;
  • Authorize funds to harden and underground electrical infrastructure and construct a 10 megawatt electrical generation plant at Camp Shelby;
  • Prohibit the Air Force from reducing KC-135 Air National Guard aircraft designated as Primary Mission Aircraft Inventory (PAI) from bases in Mississippi and across the country in FY 22;
  • Recommend additional funding for research on applications of graphene for military engineering; and
  • Recommend additional funding toward high performance computing and advanced networking for research engineering needs of the DoD.

You can read the full executive summary of the National Defense bill by clicking here.