June 11, 2020

Manchin Secures West Virginia Priorities In FY21 National Defense Authorization Act

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), secured provisions in the SASC markup of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21), a vital piece of legislation that authorizes defense funding and provides authorities for our military to defend the nation. On Wednesday, the SASC voted to report the NDAA to the full Senate. The FY21 NDAA authorizes $740.5 billion dollars including $636.4 billion for the Department of Defense (DoD), $25.9 billion for Department of Energy (DOE) national security programs, $8.15 billion for military construction, and $69 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations.

“As our nation continues to face threats at home and abroad, we must ensure our military is prepared to combat our nation’s enemies while maintaining fiscal responsibility,” Senator Manchin said. “This vital, bipartisan legislation includes necessary funding for our troops to defend America and provides support to West Virginia’s brave service members and other priorities across the state. I am pleased with our bipartisan efforts to include important provisions and West Virginia priorities, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to secure this significant legislation.”

Below is a list of West Virginia provisions included in the SASC approved FY21 NDAA:

  • Supplying Our Troops with Materials Made in America- Securing our national defense means reducing our dependence on foreign nations for critically important materials, such as:
    • Synthetic Graphite- Senator Manchin’s provision ensures that DoD studies the military applications of domestic supplies of synthetic graphite. This supports the important work of companies like Amsted Industries in West Virginia that are proven industry leaders in the development of synthetic graphite.
    • Rare Earth Elements (REE) from Coal Sludge- This provision builds on Senator Manchin’s ongoing efforts to increase our domestic production of REEs. It is consistent with the ongoing, innovative research at West Virginia University (WVU) to extract REEs from coal and coal byproducts and supports the possible applications of this research in fulfilling DoD’s warfighting needs.
    • Coal Carbon Fibers- Senator Manchin’s provision ensures that coal based carbon fibers are studied by the DoD to provide greater capability within our defense industrial base to supply critical materials domestically. This could bring jobs and investment to West Virginia which is uniquely positioned to support the development of these materials.
  • Helping Our Local Broadcasters and Rural Papers- Senator Manchin secured language encouraging the Department of recruiting commands to give all due consideration towards the use of local broadcasting and traditional media sources such as, rural newspapers. DoD advertising, including major sporting events and typical recruiting advertisements have been cut back due to COVID-19. This provision is consistent with Senator Manchin’s ongoing efforts to help West Virginia broadcasters and newspapers make up for lost advertising revenue at a time when demand for their services has never been higher.
  • Bringing Jobs to West Virginia- Senator Manchin’s provision provides place of performance contract flexibility that enables the Department of the Navy to expand its employee base beyond the immediate Capital Region to areas like Rocket Center, WV which will generate economic growth and save taxpayer dollars. This builds on Senator Manchin’s related efforts in last year’s NDAA to bring more jobs to West Virginia.
  • Special Operations Forces (SOF) Training on restored Surface Mine Sites- Encourages DoD to look at former surface mine sites, like those in West Virginia, for SOF training opportunities because of their austere, remote, and rough terrain.
  • National Guard Cyber Pilot- This language authorizes the Secretaries of the Army and Air Force to conduct pilot programs to develop and use cyber capabilities within the National Guard.
  • Expeditionary Solid Waste Disposal System- $15.9 million increase for the Army to procure mobile, deployable incinerators to get rid of equipment that is contaminated. This will serve as an alternative to the military having to use burn pits, which cause health complications to service members.

  • Audit the Pentagon- Senator Manchin secured a provision to retain the Chief Management Officer (CMO) of the Department of Defense in order to push for transformational business practices that will result in better stewardship of taxpayer money. The CMO position was initially proposed in the bipartisan 2012 Audit the Pentagon Act led by Senator Manchin and his friend, the late Senator Coburn, a Republican from Oklahoma.