National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 - H.R.2810 / S.1519

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Overview
Purpose: 
"To authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2018 for military activities of the Department of Defense and for military construction, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes."
Primary sponsors: 
Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) and Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) / Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
Latest major action: 
President signed conference bill H.R.2810 into law, Dec. 12, 2017
Summary of provisions

Provisions in the final bill

  • Establishes an Infrastructure Modernization Initiative for NNSA labs and facilities
  • Directs the under secretary of defense for research and engineering (USD(R&E)) to initiate reviews of DOD policies that inhibit the mission of the department's innovation, research, and engineering enterprise
  • Establishes USD(R&E) as the official with principal responsibility for directed energy weapons and authorizes $100 million to perform a program of prototyping and demonstration of those weapons
  • Establishes new mechanisms through which DOD can establish cooperative arrangements "to facilitate expedited access to university technical expertise"
  • Directs a series of reforms to Air Force and DOD space activities
  • For further information, see "Congress Passes National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018"

Provisions in the House bill

  • Establishes a Space Corps within the Department of the Air Force
  • Directs DOD and DOE to conduct a pilot program to facilitate the licensure, transfer, and commercialization of innovative technologies
  • Directs DOD to assess the status of its STEM, maintenance, and manufacturing workforce, and to develop a plan of action to address future needs
  • Makes permanent DOD's authority to award prizes for achievements in advanced technology and allows for the issuance of non-monetary awards
  • Directs DOD to conduct a nuclear weapon design competition
  • For further information, see "House and Senate Bringing Differing R&D Policies to Defense Bill Conference"

Provisions in the Senate bill

  • Directs the under secretary of defense for research and engineering (USD(R&E)) to initiate reviews of DOD policies that inhibit the mission of the department's innovation, research, and engineering enterprise
  • Establishes USD(R&E) as the official with principal responsibility for directed energy weapons and authorizes $200 million to perform a program of prototyping and demonstration of those weapons
  • Designates additional "Science and Technology Reinvention Laboratories," extending to them special authorities, such as hiring authorities, that are already granted to other such DOD research facilities
  • Establishes new mechanisms through which DOD can establish cooperative arrangements "to facilitate expedited access to university technical expertise"
  • Differentiates R&D activities from "service" activities to facilitate the implementation of contracting procedures designed to accommodate the peculiarities of R&D work
  • Modifies statutory language to expand competitive selection for awards from "basic research" to include all "research and development"
  • For further information, see "House and Senate Bringing Differing R&D Policies to Defense Bill Conference"
Actions
Actions on the House bill: 
House passed bill on a vote of 344 to 81
July 14, 2017
House Armed Services Committee approved bill
July 6, 2017
Bill introduced
June 7, 2017
Actions on the Senate bill: 
Senate passed bill on a vote of 89 to 8
(Passed bill is H.R.2810 with Senate bill text replacing text of House bill)
Sept. 18, 2017
Senate Armed Services Committee approved bill
July 10, 2017
Actions on the conference bill: 
President signed conference bill into law
Dec. 12, 2017
Senate passed conference bill by voice vote
Nov. 16, 2017
House passed conference bill on a vote of 356 to 70
Nov. 14, 2017