National Defense Authorization Act Includes 12 Sasse-led Priorities 

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse issued the following statement regarding the Senate Armed Services Committee’s markup of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2019, which included 12 Sasse-led priorities. 

"Washington isn’t often a serious place, but writing the defense bill in committee this week was infinitely more productive than the camera strutting Congress usually does," said Senator Sasse. "Our committee’s debate isn’t glamorous but it’s critically important because national defense is the federal government’s first priority. There’s a lot Washington doesn’t get right but this was an encouraging step."

While the final text of the NDAA is embargoed by the Senate Armed Services Committee, a short description of the Senator Sasse’s initiatives that were adopted are found below.  

  1. Cyber Solarium Commission – This is the committee’s largest cyber security undertaking and something Senator Sasse has worked on for more than a year. More on the commission, a bold project to forge consensus around an American cyber strategy for the 21st century, can be found here.

  2. Personnel Management Authority for Director of Strategic Capabilities Office – Extends direct hiring authority for experts in science and engineering to the Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO) and the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx).

  3. Meeting demand for cyberspace career fields in the Reserve Component – Encourages DoD to use innovative approaches to incorporate the reserve component of the military into Cyber Command’s Cyber Mission Force.

  4. Hyper Velocity Projectile (HVP) – Requires the Director of the Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO) to deliver a report to the congressional defense committees on the status of the Hyper Velocity Projectile (HVP) program. The increased velocity, precision, and extended range of the HVP will provide the Navy, Army, and Marine Corps with the capability to address a variety of current and future threats from the land, sea, and air.

  5. Hybrid Warfare in DOD Professional Military Education curriculum – Requires DoD to submit a report to the congressional defense committees explaining how it will emphasize intellectual leadership and military professionalism in the art and science of warfighting, including how the Department is integrating the study of hybrid warfare into its Professional Military Education (PME) curriculum. Hybrid warfare entails adversaries using nonmilitary tools to pursue their interests. This emphasis on PME is in line with the 2018 National Defense Strategy.

  6. Using data analytics to develop advanced assignment matching systems – Encourages DoD to continue developing advanced assignment matching systems and policies based on data analytics to more efficiently match military personnel with open billets. This will reduce the need for Permanent Change of Station (PCS) moves by military families.

  7. Extended Range Cannon Artillery program – Invests in the accelerated development of extended range cannon artillery.

  8. Land-Based Anti-Ship Missile (LBASM) – Requires the Secretary of the Army to brief congressional defense committees on how the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force are collaborating to field compatible sensor technology and fire control systems that will allow Army and Marine Corps rocket artillery to sink enemy ships with land-based anti-ship missiles.

  9. Low-Cost Tactical Extended Range Missile (LC-TERM) – Encourages collaboration between the Army and Marine Corps to field a mobile, surface-to-surface missile to provide all-weather fire support at distances between 200 and 499 kilometers. Such an effort would fill an immediate capability gap until the Army’s Long-Range Precision Fires (LRPF) program fields a more advanced capability in 2025.

  10. Supporting Partnerships between University Affiliated Research Centers and the Department of Defense - Invests in research and development partnerships with institutions like the University of Nebraska.

  11. Air Force Light Attack Aircraft Program - Invests in greater interoperability with a range of allies, frees high-end aircraft to focus on deterring near-peer adversaries, and better tailors Air Force resources to accomplish its assigned missions and support the Joint Force.

  12. Department of Defense Professional Military Education (PME) Review – Requires a non-DoD entity with expertise in higher education analysis to review senior level DoD schools to find ways to increase their rigor and effectiveness. This emphasis on PME is in line with the 2018 National Defense Strategy.

UPDATE: NDDAA Cybersecurity Solarium Commission text available here.