Bennet Celebrates Senate Passage of National Defense Authorization Act

Bennet Continues Working to Pass Critical Investments to Boost U.S. Security and Competitiveness in the Intelligence Authorization Act

Washington, D.C. – Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement after the U.S. Senate passed the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) 88-11:

“From protecting our ports and related infrastructure to supporting our military families, the NDAA makes critical investments in our nation’s armed forces to boost our national security and military capabilities. This bill also includes a provision we introduced to establish a commission to study the Afghanistan War — an important step to help our nation examine the serial misjudgments across administrations for the duration of this war.”

Bennet-backed provisions in the FY22 NDAA:

Countering Threats to Strategic Port Infrastructure: This provision, based on an amendment that Bennet led, requires the Secretary of Defense to report on Chinese government-linked investments in ports and port-related infrastructure that is critical to U.S. interests and national security.

Afghanistan Oversight Reports: This provision, based on a bipartisan amendment that Bennet led in the Senate and U.S. Representative Jason Crow (D-Colo.) led in the House, requires the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Director of National Intelligence, to report on plans related to the continued evacuation of at-risk Afghan allies, and our counterterrorism capabilities in Afghanistan. 

Afghanistan War Commission: Led by U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and backed by Bennet, this provision establishes a commission to study American engagement in the Afghanistan War. 

Pueblo Chemical Depot: This provision, based on an amendment Bennet led in the Senate and U.S. Representative Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) led in the House, would require the Secretary of the Army to issue a report with a plan for the final closure of Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado, upon the completion of the chemical demilitarization mission, and a plan for the disposal of all remaining land, buildings, facilities, and equipment at Pueblo Chemical Depot. 

Digital Career Fields: This provision directs the Director of the Office of Personnel Management to establish or update one or more occupational series for digital career fields. It mirrors an amendment that Bennet initially introduced with U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) to the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA). 

Digital Development Infrastructure Plan: This provision requires the Secretary of Defense to plan for a modern information technology infrastructure to enable efficient development, testing, fielding, and continuous updating of AI capabilities. It also draws from an amendment that Bennet initially introduced with Senator Sasse to USICA.

Military Child Care Expansion: This provision expands the in-home child care pilot program providing financial assistance for in-home childcare. Bennet introduced the original bill with Senator Duckworth.

Bennet introduced three amendments not included in the final NDAA that would formally establish a university-led consortium with the U.S. Space Force for space technology R&D, reimburse local water districts for PFAS contamination cleanup, and pass the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act — which would protect over 400,000 acres of public land in Colorado and boost the state’s outdoor economy.

Bennet-led provisions he will continue to push for in the Intelligence Authorization Act:

Technology Strategy for the Intelligence Community (IC): Backed by Bennet and Sasse, this bipartisan provision requires the DNI to develop a Technology Strategy to identify emerging technologies with serious implications for U.S. security and competitiveness in support of a coherent approach to ensure U.S. leadership in these areas. This draws upon Bennet and Sasse’s National Technology Strategy.  

Supporting Innovation in Space: This provision requires the DNI to report on the IC’s efforts to build a hybrid space architecture that integrates national and commercial capabilities, along with both large and small satellites.

Enhancing IC Adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI): Backed by Bennet and Sasse, this provision requires the IC to develop a plan to strengthen collaboration between the public and private sectors to enable continuous, timely updates for AI-powered applications critical to national security. It also requires a roadmap for making it easier for small and medium-sized businesses to access classified space. The provision requires recommendations to ensure the use of AI and associated data comports with privacy and civil rights. 

Bolstering Analysis on Emerging Technologies: This provision requires the DNI to assess commercial and foreign trends in technologies of strategic importance to the United States, including top technology focus areas where adversaries are poised to match or surpass U.S. leadership.