US President Joe Biden signs 2022 defense bill into law

Biden signs massive annual defense bill into law

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United States President Joe Biden signed into law the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the White House said on Monday (Dec. 27),  amid protests from progressives and anti-war groups who had advocated for cutting military spending.

Under the bill, the country’s defense and national security will be funded with $770 billion in the next fiscal year.

Earlier this month, the Senate and the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly for the annual bill with strong support from both Democrats and Republicans for the legislation setting policy for the Department of Defense.

The NDAA provides $740 billion for the Department of Defense, which is $25 billion more than what the president requested for agency for fiscal year 2022.  It also includes $27.8 billion for defense-related activities in the Department of Energy and another $378 million for other defense-related activities.

It includes a 2.7% pay increase for military service members and Defense Department civilian employees, more aircraft and Navy ship purchases, and a “multi-year independent Afghanistan War Commission” to examine the war in Afghanistan after the US military withdrawal. In addition, it provided $300 million in military aid to the Ukrainian Security Assistance Initiative, which provides support to Ukraine’s armed forces, $4 billion for the European Defense Initiative and $150 million for Baltic security cooperation.

On China, the bill includes $7.1 billion for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative and a statement of congressional support for the defense of Taiwan, as well as a ban on the Department of Defense procuring products produced with forced labor from China’s Xinjiang region.

“But the defense policy bill only authorizes spending, and doesn’t actually allocate any money. Lawmakers must still strike a deal to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year for the defense increase to become reality” Politico wrote.

The first NDAA was passed in 1961, and a version has been signed into law every year since. The US military budget is by far the largest in the world – more than triple that of China, which is the second-biggest military spender.

With reporting by Reuters, Politico, Al Jazeera