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NDAA Passes Senate with Rounds Support, Includes a Number of South Dakota Priorities

WASHINGTON– U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement on the Senate’s passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020. It now heads to the president’s desk for signature.


“Providing our troops with the tools they need to complete their missions fulfills one of our most fundamental duties: to provide for our national defense,” said Rounds. “This year’s NDAA continues to rebuild our military, gives our service members additional resources to meet new challenges and takes care of military families. I look forward to the president signing it into law.”

“Mike has been an important voice on the Armed Services Committee and throughout negotiations on the final Defense Authorization Act,” said Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe. “As chairman of the Cybersecurity Subcommittee, he spearheaded numerous provisions in this year’s bill that will protect our networks from our adversaries and expand our cyber capabilities to maintain our technological edge. I thank him for his leadership on these and other critical defense issues.”


Bill Highlights:

  • Implements the National Defense Strategy, which provides clear direction for restoring our military’s competitive edge in an era of re-emerging, long-term power competition.
  • Authorizes a 3.1 percent pay raise for our troops, the largest in a decade.
  • Authorizes full funding for the B-21 Raider bombers, to be stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base.
  • Creates a Space Force as a sixth branch, under the Air Force, devoted to military operations in space.
  • Provides additional resources to research and begin cleanup of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination.
    • PFAS substances have emerged as a widespread contaminant to the drinking water sources of communities across the country, as well as military installations, largely due to their use in firefighting foam used by the Department of Defense.

Rounds Major Provisions Included:

  • Cybersecurity of the Defense Industrial Base - Requires the Department of Defense (DOD) to create a framework for the cybersecurity of the defense industrial base, particularly with regard to the myriad subcontractors who demonstrate tremendous cyber vulnerabilities. This results from a major cyber breach of a Navy contractor resulting in serious theft of information. 
  • Readiness of the DOD Cyber Force to Accomplish its Mission - Requires DOD to develop readiness metrics for the cyber force and, based upon these metrics, brief the armed services committees on a quarterly basis.
  • Establishment of a Cyber Consortia for Centers of Academic Excellence like Dakota State University (DSU) in Madison – Requires the DOD to establish a university consortia to advise and assist DOD on cybersecurity. It would provide a single portal for DOD to access the expertise of universities designated as National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Centers of Academic Excellence, such as DSU.
  • Establishment of Principal Cyber Advisors Within Each Branch – Creates a “Principal Cyber Advisor” position within each of the services to act as a single point of responsibility for cybersecurity. The goal is to bridge the gaps, seams and fragmentation within the services’ cyber postures.
  • Innovation Pilots - Requires a pilot program to produce dual-use startups in defense technology that would attract funding from the public and private sector to include venture capital firms in the United States. 
  • Streamline Defense Acquisition Milestone Decision Process – Establishes a pilot program to improve DOD’s acquisition milestone decision process.
  • Better Tracking of Troop Deployment Rates - Directs senior military leaders to establish and maintain "specific and measurable deployment thresholds” to help control the amount of time that troops are away from home.