Rep. Elissa Slotkin Secures NDAA Provisions to Strengthen Defense Capabilities in Michigan, Help Local Communities
WASHINGTON –– U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) secured measures as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), that will help grow Michigan’s defense capabilities and support local Michigan communities. The major annual defense funding bill passed the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) early this morning.
The HASC held a full committee markup all day Wednesday, during which Slotkin, a former Pentagon official and member of the committee, offered specific amendments to capitalize on the power of Michigan’s auto industry to inform defense innovation, stem the flow of PFAS contamination, and connect veterans with good-paying jobs. The bill also includes a 3.1 percent increase in military pay. Watch the markup here.
“Michigan’s workforce and expertise have much to offer the Department of Defense as it modernizes to include automation, robotics, cyber, and a new generation of vehicles — some of Michigan’s core competencies,” Slotkin said. “That’s in addition to our unique geography, which offers the opportunity for multilateral, multidomain exercises and missions. Harnessing Michigan’s power to grow our defense capabilities, support local businesses, and strengthen our economy is a priority of mine, and I’m so glad to see the measures I’ve been pushing for that will help support that growth pass as part of the NDAA.”
Slotkin’s CODER Act also passed as part of the House version of the NDAA. The bill would overhaul and modernize the DoD’s software-acquisition process, while opening the door for small and medium-sized businesses in Michigan to compete for those contracts.
The HASC is responsible for passing the NDAA, which authorizes the DoD’s funding each year.
Slotkin’s amendments and provisions secured as part of NDAA help pave the way for Michigan to lead in defense industry and missions by:
- Harnessing power of Michigan’s auto industry for defense innovation by encouraging the DoD to consider Michigan’s areas of expertise to inform defense innovation and equipment modernization: Slotkin offered an amendment that directs the DoD to consider how the Department can capitalize on commercial innovation in the auto industry, including considering establishing an innovation center focused on defense and automotive, and report back to the committee. It requires the DoD to report back to the committee on its activities in these areas, including in relation to the Ground Vehicle Support Center (GVSC) and the Detroit Arsenal in Warren, Mich.
- Requesting a strategy from DoD regarding development and deployment of vehicle Active Protection Systems (APS), on ground vehicle platforms, which are core competencies of Michigan’s defense manufacturers.
- Highlighting Northern Strike as a uniquely valuable multi-lateral, multi-domain joint exercise that should be appropriately resourced. The Michigan National Guard hosts Northern Strike in northern Michigan each year. The exercise involves approximately 5,000 Army, Air Force, Marine, and Special Forces service members from 20 states and three coalition countries. Northern Strike has experienced inconsistent funding in years past. The NDAA includes provisions to ensure Northern Strike is consistently and appropriately funded, and requires a report to the HASC on the benefits of and funding needed to support future exercises.
- Helping Michigan businesses compete for defense contracts: Slotkin’s CODER Act, passed as part of the NDAA, would overhaul and modernize the DoD’s software-acquisition process, while opening the door for small and medium-sized businesses in Michigan to compete for those contracts.
- Building the STEM pipeline by leveraging centers like GVSC in Michigan: It is critical to maintain a robust and appropriately trained pipeline of recruits who can help the nation defend against ever-evolving threats. As part of the NDAA’s overall emphasis on the importance of STEM as the DoD modernizes its workforce, the bill emphasizes the importance of Science, Technology and Research Labs, such as the Ground Vehicle Support Center in Warren, Michigan, and requires the DoD to provide a master plan explaining how the department will modernize its workforce and capabilities to get ahead of emerging and future threats.
Slotkin’s amendments help stem the flow of PFAS contamination and hold the Department of Defense accountable for future cleanup. In addition to the numerous PFAS remediation provisions Slotkin secured as part of the base text of the NDAA, she also offered amendments to:
- Encourage the DoD to stop using AFFF (the firefighting foam that has been causing PFAS contamination in and around military bases) to accelerate that timeline.
- Prohibit the use of AFFF in training exercises.
Slotkin offered amendments and secured provisions as part of the NDAA to support veterans and local communities in Michigan that would:
- Expand job placement services for veterans and military families: Slotkin co-led a bipartisan amendment to enable the Secretary of Defense to establish a pilot program based on the successful Work for Warriors program, which helps provides veterans, military families, Gold Star Families, and active duty National Guardsmen and Reservists with job placement and employment assistance. The program would provide matching funds to any state that participates.
- Require evaluating veterans’ exposure to burn pits and other toxic airborne contaminants: The open burning of trash as a waste disposal mechanism, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan, has exposed veterans to a variety of health challenges. Slotkin strongly supported provisions in the NDAA to ensure that periodic health assessments and physical examinations provided by the DoD include specific information related to exposure to burn pits, toxic airborne chemicals, and other airborne contaminants. This information would also be shared between the DoD and the Department of Veteran Affairs.
- Increase military pay by 3.1%.