Romney Secures Utah Priorities in Annual Defense Bill

Senate bill includes safeguards against Indo-Pacific threats and reaffirms Utah’s role in our national security

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) this week secured several measures in the Fiscal Year 2025 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which passed the Senate Armed Services Committee last month. The bill would authorize funding levels and provides authorities for the U.S. military and other critical defense priorities, ensuring America’s forces have the training, equipment, and resources they need to carry out their missions. The bipartisan Senate NDAA includes twelve Romney requests aimed at protecting against threats from China, reaffirming the critical role Utah plays in our national security, and addressing the military recruiting crisis. The legislation is expected to be considered on the Senate floor in the coming weeks.

“The United States continues to face threats from our adversaries—countries like China, Russia, and Iran—as well threats from foreign terrorist organizations which are being aided by the modernization of warfare technologies. Now more than ever, we must ensure that our military has the resources, equipment, and capabilities it needs to keep our nation safe,” Senator Romney said. “This year’s Senate NDAA includes several provisions which I fought for to protect against these growing threats by modernizing our nuclear triad, shoring up U.S. military supply chains in the Indo-Pacific, and preventing terrorist groups from getting their hands on drones to conduct attacks or collect intelligence.

“Importantly, this year’s defense bill also includes several measures which will benefit Utah,” Romney continued. “The NDAA includes several provisions to strengthen the Sentinel program, which has a major presence at Utah’s Hill Air Force Base—reaffirming our commitment to modernizing our nuclear triad. Also included in the bill is a measure to address the technological and staffing challenges at Hill’s Ogden Air Logistics Center to better support the readiness of our Air Force.

“Our military is in the midst of a recruitment crisis—which has real impacts on our national security. Included in the NDAA are two of my provisions to promote military service among our young people by requiring high schools to host in-person recruiter visits and enabling our military recruiters to conduct better outreach to individuals who have dropped out of college. I look forward to getting this year’s NDAA through the finish line so that we can take continue to take important steps toward achieving our national security goals,” Romney concluded.

Romney Measures Included in the Senate NDAA:

Bolstering Sentinel Program and U.S Nuclear Deterrent: The Sentinel program is essential for the long-term strength of the ground-based leg of our nuclear triad. Section 1515 includes a Romney request that requires the Department of Defense to maintain no less than 400 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles. The NDAA Committee Report includes an additional four Romney requests, including provisions to: strengthen the Sentinel task force that oversees the military construction and installation of supporting systems for the program; assess whether a national land-based deterrence fund to be used on the construction of Sentinel facilities and infrastructure would save the program money; assess the sustainment measures required to maintain the Minuteman III system; and consider potential cost-savings opportunities by reusing parts of the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile weapon system for other applications.

Supporting Hill Air Force Base: The Air Force depot located at Hill Air Force Base faces technological and staffing challenges that can lead to delays in servicing aircraft. The NDAA Committee Report includes a Romney request that requires the Government Accountability Office to examine the challenges to productivity and performance at the Ogden Air Logistics Center and recommend measures to address those challenges and better support the readiness of the Air Force.

Promoting Military Service: The U.S. military failed to meet recruiting goals in FY 2023 by about 41,000 recruits. Section595 includes a measure from Romney’s Military Service Promotion Act of 2023, legislation cosponsored by Senators King and Cotton, which would require that recruiters have access to information about individuals who have dropped-out of college. Section 595 also includes a version of a Romney request to require high schools to provide a minimum number of in-person recruiting visits per year for each military service.

Shoring Up Military Supply Chains in the Indo-Pacific: In the event of a conflict in the Indo-Pacific, the U.S. would face challenges effectively moving personnel and equipment in an area that comprises about half of the earth’s surface. The NDAA contains a version of two provisions in Romney’s Bolstering Indo-Pacific Capabilities Act—Section 877 adds Japan and South Korea to the group of allies that could provide product support to the U.S. in a contested logistics environment and Section 1260 requires a DOD review and report of the logistics network across the Indo-Pacific region to better inform Congress. (Cosponsored by Senator Kelly)

Keeping Drones Out of the Hands of Foreign Terrorists: The use and lethality of unmanned aerial systems by state and non-state actors is evolving. Romney’s Combating Foreign Terrorist Drones Act of 2024, legislation aimed at preventing foreign terrorists—such as Al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and Iran-backed groups like the Houthis—from acquiring drones to conduct attacks, collect intelligence, and deliver weapons or supplies, was included in the NDAA Committee Report. (Cosponsored by Senator Rosen)

Increasing Security Cooperation with Allies: The magnitude of the threats in the Indo-Pacific and Europe, among other parts of the world, make U.S. cooperation with allies and partners essential. The NDAA Committee Report includes a Romney request that requires an evaluation of the Department of Defense’s progress in reducing barriers to information sharing with foreign partners.

Full text of the Senate’s Fiscal Year 2025 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) can be found here. The NDAA Committee Report can be found here.