National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018

July 10, 2017
July 10, 2017
Ordered to be reported

This annual, multi-faceted, must-pass bill authorizes all U.S. defense spending. Relevant provisions concern joint U.S.-Israeli military programs, congressional oversight on Iran, and U.S. activities in Syria. The summary below reflects the draft of the bill that the Senate Armed Services Comm. reported on 7/10/17.

Israeli cooperative programs

This bill would authorize $332 m. to be made available for the various U.S.-Israeli joint missile defense programs. This total includes no more than $92 m. for the Iron Dome missile defense system, so long as any disbursals comport with the 3/5/14 U.S.-Israeli Memorandum of Understanding on the Iron Dome program (see JPS 43 [4]). The remaining authorizations under this provision were as follows: $120 m. for Israel to procure the David’s Sling weapon system and $120 m. to support Israel’s Arrow 3 upper tier interceptor program. That David’s Sling funding would be conditional on the Israeli government reaching certain milestones and completing certain production readiness reviews, and that at least 50% of the components are produced in the U.S. The Arrow 3 funding would be conditional on the under secretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment certifying that Israel has reached certain milestones, agreed to match at least a fraction of the U.S. support, and reached an agreement for co-production in the U.S. The undersecretary would be allowed to waive this certification requirement if Israel has demonstrated that U.S. support for these programs will only be used for the “procurement of long-lead components and critical hardware in accordance with a production plan”; that such components fulfill certain technical benchmarks; and that such procurement will maximize co-production in the U.S.

This bill would also extend the secretary of defense’s authority to establish joint anti-tunneling research and development with Israel, which was codified in the NDAA for FY 2016 (*S. 1356 of 5/14/15). The program’s $50 m. annual appropriation cap and semiannual reporting requirements would be carried over, and a requirement for at least 50% of the research, development, testing, and evaluation activities to take place in the U.S. would be added.

Iran policy oversight

Existing law directing the secretary of defense to submit an annual report to Congress on Iran’s military power would be amended to require new sections of the report assessing the Iranian government’s use of civilian transportation infrastructure to transport “illicit military cargo” and Iranian military cooperation with Cuba, North Korea, Pakistan, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, and any other country “designated by the Secretary of Defense with additional reference to cooperation and collaboration on the development of nuclear, biological, chemical, and advanced conventional weapons, weapon systems, and delivery vehicles.”

Hezbollah policy oversight

The comm. directed the secretary of defense to report to Congress on the military capabilities of Hezbollah, including both conventional and non-conventional forces, its presence in Syria, and its cooperation with the Syrian and Iranian militaries.

U.S. intervention in Syria

Among a slew of provisions tweaking U.S. activities in Syria or implementing new oversight procedures, this bill would extend for another year the authorization for the secretary of defense to provide assistance to counter the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and authorize $1.269 b. for the effort (Only $630 m. was authorized in FY 2017).

See also: the House’s version of the NDAA *H.R. 2810 of 6/7/17, which passed into law on 12/12/17.



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