The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) sets spending for military pay and benefits, defense operations and national-security programs for each fiscal year.
The United States Senate passed the 2022 defense budget on Wednesday, Dec. 15, after the House forwarded its version of the bill for consideration on Dec. 7.
Once the president signs the finalized NDAA, it will become law.
In all, the 2022 defense budget allots $768.2 billion for national defense programs – that’s about a 2% increase – or $25 billion – from the Biden administration’s original budget request.
It will provide $740 billion for the Department of Defense and roughly $27.8 billion for the Department of Energy’s nuclear defense activities.
What Does the 2022 Defense Budget Include?
Each fiscal year, the president sets a list of goals and priorities for Congress to consider. The Biden Administration’s 2022 defense budget goals included defeating COVID-19, prioritizing China as a pacing threat, military innovation and modernization and addressing “advanced and persistent threats” from Russia, Iran and North Korea.
The finalized 2022 NDAA focuses on strategic competition with China and Russia, military modernization, disruptive technologies like hypersonic weapons, artificial intelligence, 5G and quantum computing.
The budget includes provisions to reduce military commanders’ authority to investigate certain crimes like sexual assault; instead independent investigators outside the chain of command will lead the process.
The bill also makes sexual harassment a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and allocates significant investments for military family, education and aid programs.
Basic Needs Allowance for Low-Income Military Families
The 2022 NDAA created a new basic needs allowance for low-income service members. The allowance would provide extra monthly income for military families with household incomes at or below 130% of the federal poverty rate.
For example, an E-3 with two children whose spouse is unemployed could qualify for an extra $250 per month.
In the past, qualifying families have been eligible for food stamps or other state low-income assistance such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) benefits. However, changes in recent years to the formulas have counted other military payouts such as Basic Allowance for Housing, or BAH.
2022 Defense Budget Approximate Approval Timeline:
May 28, 2021 – The President and DoD Released the FY2022 Budget Proposal.
Dec. 7, 2021 – The House Passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act.
Dec. 15, 2021 – The Senate passed the NDAA and sent it to President Joe Biden to sign the bill into law.
What Does the Federal Budget Include?
The overall federal budget consists of different types of spending–there are mandatory spending requirements and “discretionary” spending requirements.
On the “mandatory” side there are federal programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, unemployment programs, etc.
The “discretionary” spending side includes funding for federal departments including the DoD. Other departments include the Food & Drug Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.
The budget includes 12 different areas and 12 separate funding proposals for discretionary spending; these are often combined into an omnibus bill that would include the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act.