AIA: FY18 NDAA a Positive Step Forward

Statement by AIA President and CEO David F. Melcher calling for Congress to pass the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act.

Arlington, Va. — The Aerospace Industries Association welcomes the completion of successful negotiations and release of the conference report for the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (FY18 NDAA). The topline budget of nearly $700 billion for national security accounts and Overseas Contingency Operations along with significant increases for the investment accounts is an outstanding first step towards providing the robust, balanced and stable funding DOD needs to address serious readiness shortcomings across the services. We urge Congress to pass the bill and President Trump to sign it into law.

Many of the provisions in the FY18 NDAA target acquisition reforms that support government and industry’s mutual goals of delivering the best possible capabilities to the warfighter at the best bargain for the taxpayer. AIA, in coalition with other business associations, worked aggressively to urge the FY18 NDAA conference committee to modify the “Blacklisting” provision which resurfaced in the Senate-passed NDAA and assure due process for government contractors. The original provision was substantially similar to the Obama Administration Fair Pay, Safe Workplaces Executive Order repealed earlier this year by the Congressional Review Act.

AIA applauds the negotiators for making modifications to the Senate’s original proposal requiring industry to reimburse the Department of Defense for its administrative costs in denied bid protests filed with the Government Accountability Office. In the final legislation, this was changed to a three-year pilot program, with a specific sunset date, to determine the effectiveness of such a procedure. We believe this pilot program will demonstrate the negative effects on DOD’s acquisition process if industry is discouraged from filing legitimate bid protests.

Looking ahead, the aging fleet of ships, aircraft and land systems poses a mid- and long-term readiness issue that can only be addressed through a multi-year plan to recapitalize equipment for our warfighters. The new ships, aircraft, land systems and munitions we need require significantly bolstered spending in the investment accounts – procurement and research and development – for the long-term. The administration must tie the next Future Years’ Defense Program to the National Military Strategy to ensure that future defense budgets clearly support our strategic national security objectives.

AIA looks forward to working with Congress and the Administration in the years ahead to ensure defense budgets are robust enough to meet our national security strategy, balanced between current operating needs and future readiness requirements, and stable across multiple years so that DOD and industry can adequately plan to meet our national security objectives well into the future.