Congress Approves National Defense Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 2017
One of Congress’ most reliably-passed bills, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (S. 2943) sits on President Obama’s desk after passing both chambers late last week with a veto-proof majority (375-34 in the House and 92-7 in the Senate). The president issued veto threats on previous versions of the annual bill, which authorizes activities for the Department of Defense (DoD) and the national security activities of the Department of Energy for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017; however, many provisions he objected to have been removed. This year’s bill has several items of interest to the scientific community. As part of a laboratory quality enhancement program for the Naval Research Laboratory and Office of Naval Research (among other military laboratories), the NDAA would establish a panel of DoD officials to recommend improvements to the workforce, facilities, research strategies, partnerships, and oversight processes. The bill also authorizes close to $17.5 billion for naval shipbuilding and mandates improved coordination and collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for space-based environmental monitoring, which uses satellites and remote sensing to gather environmental data, observations, and imagery.