Today, President Trump signed into law the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (H.R. 5515). The bill passed both houses with broad bipartisan support. The House approved the bill by a vote of 359 to 54 and the Senate by a vote of 87 to 10. The law authorizes FY 2019 appropriations and sets forth policies for Department of Defense programs and activities, including military personnel strengths.
According to a DoD statement, the law, which authorizes a $717 billion national defense budget, “rebuilds our military, increases lethality, strengthens our alliances and partnerships and reforms the way we do business.” The discretionary base budget topline for the appropriations is $639.1 billion, which includes significant increases for improving the readiness of military forces. The budget also includes $69 billion for overseas contingency operations and $8.9 billion in defense mandatory spending.
The DoD statement noted the NDAA:
- Increases the military’s authorized active-duty end strength by 15,600;
- Raises service member pay by6 percent, the largest raise in 9 years;
- Recognizes the importance of modernizing and strengthening the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to more effectively guard against the risk to national security posed by certain types of foreign investment;
- Strengthens cyber defenses, prioritizes U.S. Cyber Command readiness and affirms the cyber authorities of the Secretary of Defense; and
- Provides waiver relief to key U.S. partners and allies from certain Russian-related sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act.
With regard to DoD procurements, the NDAA FY 2019 expands and clarifies the definition of “commercial products” and “commercial services” across government procurement statutes, with the goal of increasing commercial product procurements in the future. Also, the law reduces requirements for annual reports and unnecessary acquisition offices, and repeals out-of-date acquisition legislation. Other provisions include an increase of DoD’s micro-purchase threshold to $10,000, expanded authority to implement e-commerce purchases, additional limitations on the use of lowest-priced, technically-acceptable competitions, and increased oversight of other transaction authority agreements.