(PresidentialInsider.com)- On December 27 President Biden signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal-year 2022, which passed both the House and Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support.
In a statement after signing the bill which authorizes $770 billion in defense spending, President Biden said the NDAA will provide “vital benefits” and “enhances access to justice for military personnel and their families.”
What? “Enhances access to justice?” What does that even mean?
The act authorizes an increase of 5 percent to last year’s military spending, including a 2.7 percent pay increase for the troops, the purchase of more aircraft and Navy vessels, as well as outlining strategies to deal with current geopolitical threats primarily from Russia and China.
Also included in the spending is $300 million for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, $4 billion for the European Defense Initiative, and $150 million for Baltic security cooperation.
China features prominently in the 2022 NDAA, including $7.1 billion in funding for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative. The language of the act also includes a statement of congressional support for the defense of Taiwan and language barring the Department of Defense from purchasing products produced through forced labor in China’s Xinjiang province.
The NDAA will also create a 16-member commission to study the war in Afghanistan.
While the president signed the spending bill, the White House wasn’t entirely happy with everything included. It criticized the provisions in the bill that barred the use of funds to transfer detainees from Guantanamo Bay into the custody of certain foreign countries or the US unless certain conditions are first met.
In his statement, Biden (or whoever wrote the statement for Biden) said the provisions “impair the ability of the executive branch” from determining when and where Gitmo detainees are prosecuted and where to send them when they are released.
Biden, like Obama before him, has vowed to close Guantanamo Bay before he leaves office. Which gives him three years to do it, and only one year before he loses his slim Democrat majorities in Congress.