A fleet oiler under construction at NASSCO in Barrio Logan. Photo courtesy of the shipyard

President Biden signed into law Monday the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2022, which authorizes $770 billion in defense spending.

The NDAA includes funding for 13 new ships, including two two John Lewis-class fleet oilers to be built by NASSCO in Barrio Logan.

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

The NDAA is closely watched by a broad swath of industry and other interests because it is one of the only major pieces of legislation that becomes law every year and because it addresses a wide range of issues. The NDAA has become law every year for six decades.

Authorizing about 5% more military spending than last year, the fiscal 2022 NDAA is a compromise after intense negotiations between House and Senate Democrats and Republicans after being stalled by disputes over China and Russia policy.

It includes a 2.7% pay increase for the troops, and more aircraft and Navy ship purchases, in addition to strategies for dealing with geopolitical threats, especially Russia and China.

The new ships include three Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, two Virginia-class attack submarines, the first of a new class of frigates, two Expeditionary Fast Transport vessels, two John Lewis-class fleet oilers, two Navajo-class towing, salvage and rescue ships, and one T-AGOS(X) ocean surveillance ship.

The NDAA includes $300 million for the Ukraine 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.

It creates a 16-member commission to study the war in Afghanistan. Biden ended the conflict — by far the country’s longest war – in August.

Reuters contributed to this article.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.