Statement On The Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act

The National Defense Authorization Act sets policies and priorities for the Department of Defense.  The Appropriations Committee determines which of those priorities are actually funded.  This year the Senate has approved an authorization bill that will support our troops, their families, and their missions.  I am particularly pleased that it continues support for a project I have worked on many years to heal the wounds of the Vietnam War with an authorization for a partnership with the Vietnamese government for recovering remains of missing in action in Vietnam.

But this bill also includes authorization to set the stage for renewed testing of nuclear devices.  This should be alarming to us all, especially at a time when there are growing concerns that, under this Administration, we are inexorably trending toward a new nuclear arms race, where demonstrations of military power have taken the place of treaties that made the use of history’s most dangerous weapons less likely.

I hope that this nuclear testing authorization will be eliminated as we reconcile this bill with the House.  

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(See Senator Leahy’s full statement HERE).