Press Releases

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), applauded congressional passage of the nation’s annual defense bill, which includes key priorities for Virginia and a series of measures championed and backed by Sen. Warner. 

“Despite all the current chaos in Congress, I’m encouraged that we were finally able to pass this annual defense spending bill that strengthens our military, provides support for our troops, bolsters our nation’s defense capabilities, and delivers for Virginia. Once signed by the president, this legislation will ensure that our military and Department of Defense have what they need to safeguard our national security interests and continue to keep Americans safe. I hope that my colleagues in both the House and the Senate will look to this deal, realize that bipartisan agreement is within reach, and reach the consensus needed to fund the government and fulfill our commitment to Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel.”  

The legislation supports $886.3 billion in funding for our nation’s defense, and includes crucial measures supported by Sen. Warner.

Servicemembers and the civilian defense workforce:

  • Authorizes a 5.2 percent pay raise for military servicemembers and Department of Defense (DoD) civilian workforce – the largest raise in two decades.
  • Improves living conditions for enlisted servicemembers by greenlighting improvements to the quality and oversight of barracks. This provision specifically authorizes the replacement of substandard barracks and establishes new requirements that enlisted housing meet the same basic standards as all other military housing.
  • Improves living conditions for junior Navy Sailors whose vessels are undergoing an extended maintenance overhaul. This legislation authorizes basic allowance for housing (BAH) payments that allow these servicemembers to live in commercial housing, rather than aboard the ship.
  • Supports more equitable housing rates in markets with limited housing inventory by modifying the calculation of basic allowance for housing (BAH) rates.
  • Allows for additional financial support for servicemembers, by reducing the threshold used to determine high cost-of-living areas for the purpose of providing a cost-of-living allowance to servicemembers assigned to locations in the continental United States.
  • Takes a number of steps to address critical childcare shortages and improve availability for military families. To help address the overwhelming demand for childcare, last year Sen. Warner was able to secure $3.5 million in planning & design funding to support two new child development centers at Hampton Roads installations. This bill authorizes $104 million to fund two Child Development Centers, one at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story and one at Naval Station Norfolk.

Strengthening our nation’s defense and cyber defense capabilities:

  • Authorizes funding, provides legal authorities, and enhances congressional oversight for the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) through inclusion of the Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA) for Fiscal Year 2024 – legislation authored by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Warner.
  • Authorizes $16.7 billion for military construction projects, including $570 million for 20 military construction projects in Virginia. This includes $104 million to fund two Child Development Centers, one at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story and one at Naval Station Norfolk. It also includes authorization for $20 million for a replacement hanger and additional airfield infrastructure in Sandston for the Virginia National Guard, and $4 million in planning and design funding for a new Army Reserve training center in Richmond.
  • Authorizes the Navy to enter into one or more contracts for the multiyear procurement of the next block of 13 Virginia-class submarines.
  • Requires the development of a regional cybersecurity strategy to support the operations of each geographic combatant command.
  • Requires the establishment of a dedicated cyber intelligence capability to support information-sharing on technology developments, capabilities, operations, and intentions of actors who pose cyber threats.
  • Directs DoD to support institutions of higher education on cyber workforce education and development efforts in the fields of cybersecurity, intelligence, data science, information security management, and quantum information science.
  • Increases transparency surrounding the DoD’s investments in Artificial Intelligence by requiring DoD to provide information to Congress by mid-June of 2024 detailing the applications of AI technologies and their respective investment amounts, and an analysis of how these investments align with the Department’s stated objectives regarding AI. This provision stems from an amendment led by Sen. Warner.
  • Takes steps towards securing the nation’s supply of domestic energy by establishing a Nuclear Fuel Security Program to boost domestic uranium mining, production, and enrichment for the types of nuclear fuel used in commercial reactors and anticipated for next-generation reactors, including small modular reactors (SMRs). Sen. Warner was an original cosponsor of this legislation.

Countering aggression by adversaries like Russia and China:

  • Prohibits the purchase of drones from countries like China that pose a national security concern. This provision, championed in part by Warner, prohibits federal dollars from being used to procure or operate drones from countries or companies identified as posing a national security threat. 
  • Authorizes the full budget request for the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI) and the Pacific Deterrence Initiative (PDI).
  • Underscores the United States’ commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and emphasizes the importance of maintaining a unified response to the Russian Federation’s unjust war in Ukraine. Sen. Warner has been a strong supporter of NATO, which conducts crucial work in Virginia at NATO Allied Command Transformation in Hampton Roads.
  • Supports Ukraine in its fight against Russian attacks and aggression by extending the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) through 2026 and authorizing $300 million in fiscal years 2024 and 2025. The USAI is one of the main tools used by the U.S. in support of Ukraine’s defensive needs. This legislation also extends waivers for the streamlined acquisition of defense stocks related to Ukraine and authorizes additional munitions eligible for multiyear procurement contracts.
  • Supports advancement of the AUKUS Partnership between the U.S., Australia, and the UK, including through additional funding and authorizations to operationalize the agreement, and support close engagement between these three nations – which has a particular relevance to Virginia’s naval and industrial base infrastructure.
  • Provides support to Taiwan by establishing a comprehensive training, advising, and institutional capacity-building program for the military forces of Taiwan.

Now that it’s been passed by the Senate and House of Representatives, this legislation will head to President Biden’s desk for his signature.