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Virginia set to benefit from defense budget

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(The Center Square) — Negotiations are underway for the Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act, which currently contains some hefty defense investments for Virginia.

The NDAA has been passed and enacted for 62 years, allowing Congress to authorize and provide guidance on defense policy and military spending. This NDAA seeks to authorize a total of $886.3 billion for national defense funding in FY 2024, with $844.3 billion going to the Department of Defense, $32.4 billion to the Department of Energy and $9.5 billion for “defense-related activities outside of NDAA jurisdiction.”

“The United States must invest in the necessary capabilities to secure our national defense today, tomorrow, and for generations to come,” said Rep. Rob Wittman, vice chair of the House Armed Services Committee.

The defense industry generates $103 billion in total economic impact in Virginia, and defense spending comprises more of Virginia’s economy than any other state, according to Department of Defense statistics.

The commonwealth is home to approximately 130,000 active duty military personnel, the Pentagon, Marine Corps Base Quantico and the world’s largest concentration of naval forces — the Hamptons Road region, according to a release from Wittman’s office.

Unsurprisingly, the DOD also spends more per capita in Virginia than in any other state.

The bill includes funding for Virginia’s shipbuilding industry, submarine industrial base and measures to support service members and military families in the commonwealth.

Specifically, it’s set to authorize $963 million for military construction funding at installations across the commonwealth, prevent the early retirement of F-22s and five Navy ships, ensure continued investment in amphibious landing vehicles and establish a grant program for expanding private shipyard construction capacity.

The bill also supports the Biden-proposed 5.2% increase in service member basic pay, the largest pay raise in over 40 years, according to the Federal News Network.

It will authorize one or more Navy contracts for the next 10 Virginia-class submarines and “establish the joint program of the DOD and the National Nuclear Security Administration to build a nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missile,” according to ExecutiveGov.

“Our Commonwealth leads the nation in supporting our men and women in uniform, and one of my top priorities is ensuring that we continue to have a strong national defense to protect our interests at home and abroad,” Wittman said.

“I’m thrilled about the advancements made in this year’s NDAA. I look forward to the positive impacts it will have on Virginia, the nation and the world.”

Though the bill has made it out of committee in both chambers, it still has a long way to go before Senate and House differences are reconciled, and its final version is approved.

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