SASC’s FY25 NDAA Mark-Up Retains Key S&T Support

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The SASC's mark on the FY25 NDAA supports increased US exercise engagement around the globe as represented by the above US naval participation with allied forces in Exercise Nordic Response 24. Source/credit: UK Mod/LPhot Belinda Alker.

The US Congress is doing its best to remains on a trajectory to deliver the FY2025 DoD budget to President Biden for signature before the start of the new fiscal year on October 1. This June 14, the US Senate Armed Services Committee completed its markup on the bill. A number of topics from this version of the FY25 National Defense Authorization Act are of interest to military simulation and industry members. Representative S&T highlights from the mark-up are provided below.

More Training with Partners and Allies

This Congress is in synch with the Biden Administration’s strategies and policies to expand the use of training, education and like activities to strengthen relations with allies and partners around the globe. These efforts typically cascade into opportunities for S&T companies to provide services, facilities and learning technologies for participating individuals, units and staffs.

In one case, the SASC “Requires an assessment of the feasibility of using DOD facilities in Guam to host the training of foreign partner military forces on a permanent or rotational basis.”

Also focused on the Indo-Pacific area of responsibility, the SASC mark “Authorizes an additional $100 million for the INDOPACOM Joint Training Team.” Shifting attention to Europe, another representative bill highlight, “Extends the authority to train Eastern European national security forces, and includes Cyprus among the countries eligible to receive training.”

Support of Training for High-Profile Missions

The US Congress is also supportive of using training as an instrument to better complete emerging, challenging missions across the battlespace.

The recent House Appropriations Committee mark on this NDAA focused attention on using more robust training and other tools to enhance US military capacity to conduct counter-tunneling missions. Similarly, the SASC mark on this NDAA “Increases support for U.S.-Israel counter-tunneling cooperation.”

In another effort to use training to help modernize the battlefield, this committee’s mark “Requires a full-scale counter-UAS exercise in DOD's special use airspace, and a briefing on the outcomes and lessons learned from the exercise.”

Cutting-Edge Technologies

MS&T reported on the fast-pace of defense learning organizations to embrace AI during 2023 I/ITSEC and 2024 IT2EC. The SASC mark on the FY25 NDAA addresses a number of committee concerns and interests related to US DoD’s integration of AI into the broad defense enterprise. These activities have implications certain to trickle down into the S&T community. Language in this SASC mark “Establishes a working group to develop and coordinate an AI initiative among US allies and partners,” and paves the way for other efforts.

Road to Enactment

The SASC and other congressional committees’ marks on the FY25 NDAA will be reconciled and advanced during conferences and similar sessions later this summer and fall, to allow the authorization and appropriation of defense funds, and advancement on areas of concern and interest to the US Congress. MS&T will continue to follow and report on the FY25 defense bill’s progress to enactment.


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