The Senate voted 91-3 on Tuesday to pass the revised Fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill, sending the legislation to President Obama, who is expected to sign it. The $600 billion bill authorizes defense spending and policies for Fiscal 2016; Obama vetoed an earlier version of the legislation, in part because of billions that had been placed in the overseas contingency operations fund to bypass budget caps. The National Defense Authorization Act was modified after the passage of the bipartisan budget deal. Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed, the senior Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the new bill “is a leaner, smarter NDAA than the vetoed version,” because it “responsibly provides the military with the resources and clarity it needs without an over reliance on OCO, and trims $5 billion in unneeded spending.” Sen. John McCain, SASC chairman, said the bill delivers some of the most significant reforms to the Defense Department in decades, and noted in a written statement that it prevents the Air Force from “prematurely retiring the A-10 fleet,” as well as seven EC-130H Compass Call aircraft stationed at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, called on Obama to sign the NDAA. “The President should sign this bill and pledge to never again use our troops as political bargaining chips,” he said.
Reports of production troubles on the SpaceX rocket that could contend for military cargo deliveries happened to coincide with a different company’s concept receiving an early nod—one that might not require a rocket at all.