National Defense Authorization Act passed the Senate on Thursday
Both houses of Congress have approved a defense bill that includes support for the space program at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
The National Defense Authorization Act features $5 million in funding for Space Force launch range services at several sites, including Vandenberg.
The bill also includes funding for military-university partnerships with UCSB and Cal Poly and protection for land in the Los Padres National Forest and the Carrizo Plain in San Luis Obispo County.
Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, secured the local priorities for the defense bill, which passed the House on Tuesday and the Senate on Thursday.
The bipartisan measure provides $741 billion in defense and security funding. It passed the Senate with a decisive 86-14 vote.
The bill passed in February in the House of Representatives. The House and Senate must now go to conference and reconcile their versions of the measure.
“I’m pleased to see our Central Coast values are strongly represented in this year’s NDAA. I fought to include protections for our public lands, bring offshore wind energy opportunities to Morro Bay and enhance our military-university partnerships,” Rep. Carbajal said in a statement.
“Every year that I have sat on the Armed Services Committee, we have been able to cross the aisle and find a bipartisan consensus on these impactful and complicated issues. This bill is proof that when we work together, we can make a difference for our communities and our
country,” he said.
The bill’s ultimate fate remains undecided. According to an Office of Management and Budget statement, President Donald Trump will veto the NDAA over “serious concerns.”
Those concerns included NDAA section 2829, which would require renaming of “certain military institutions” and provisions that “micromanage aspects of the executive branch’s authority.”
The bill would restrict support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen and establish congressional oversight on the president’s use of the Insurrection Act.
The NDAA also directs the U.S. Space Force to “report on efforts” to “sustain and improve” the resilience of infrastructure at the Vandenberg Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral ranges.
Under the bill, “funding will go toward modernizing the physical infrastructure at VAFB to help the base conduct and expand launch opportunities.”
“We have advocated to make Vandenberg the future home for the U.S. Space Command,” said Mannal Haddad, communications director for Rep. Carbajal.
Rep. Carbajal also secured funding for military-university partnerships, including partnerships at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and UCSB.
“If awarded, the funding would support the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies (ICB) at UCSB – which is a University Affiliated Research Center that advances biotechnology and biomedical research. Funding for Cal Poly would go to the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Lab,” Ms. Haddad said.
Cal Poly has a longstanding research partnership with the U.S. Air Force. In June, the school received a $2.5 million grant for its Aerospace Engineering Department and minisatellite program.
The NDAA includes environmental protections and incorporates the Protecting America’s Wilderness Act, which includes the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act. Under the CCHPA, the federal protections will be extended to 250,000 acres of land in the Carrizo Plain and Los
Padres National Forest.