Romney Secures Utah Priorities in Annual Defense Bill

Senate bill includes protections against China and Russia 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 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorizes 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 five Romney measures aimed at protecting against threats from China and Russia and reaffirming the critical role Utah plays in our national security. The legislation is expected to be considered on the Senate floor as soon as next week.

“With the growing threats the United States faces from our adversaries, it is vital that our military has the resources, equipment, and capabilities it needs to keep our nation safe,” Senator Romney said. “I’m proud that this year’s Senate NDAA includes several provisions which I fought for to protect against these growing threats by modernizing our nuclear triad, fully understanding the extent of China’s defense-industrial complex, and bolstering our domestic critical mineral capabilities to reduce our dependence on China and Russia.

“Importantly, this year’s defense bill also includes several measures which will benefit Utah,” Romney continued. “The bill includes my legislation to help ensure Utah’s Dugway Proving Ground continues its efforts to prepare our military for evolving chemical and biological threats. By strengthening the Sentinel program, which has a major presence at Utah’s Hill Air Force Base, the NDAA also demonstrates our commitment to modernizing our nuclear triad at a time when deterrence against China and Russia is of paramount importance.

“The legislation will also help address the current military recruitment crisis—which has real impacts on our national security—by enhancing military recruiter access to high schools and college students. 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:

Supporting Dugway Proving Ground: Section 1042 of the bill is Senator Romney’s Chemical and Biological Defense Program Improvement Act, legislation to remove a bureaucratic roadblock that prevents the U.S. Army from requesting funding for military construction projects related to chem-bio program facilities like those at Utah’s Dugway Proving Ground. Senator Romney led the Utah delegation in introducing this legislation to help Dugway continue its vital work. (Cosponsored by Senator Lee and Representatives Stewart, Curtis, Owens, Moore)

Bolstering Sentinel Program and U.S Nuclear Deterrent: Section 1513 of the NDAA includes key components of Senator Romney’s Sentinel Nuclear Deterrence Act, including authorizing multiyear and advance procurement for the program. The committee report also includes language requested by Senator Romney to help stabilize key supply chains for the Sentinel program. (Cosponsored by Senators Fischer, Lee, Lummis, Barrasso, Ricketts, and Daines)

Advancing U.S. Critical Mineral Independence from China: Section 1057 includes an enhanced version of Senator Romney’s Critical Mineral Independence Act of 2023, bipartisan legislation to push the Department of Defense to achieve critical mineral supply chain independence from China, Russia, and other geostrategic competitors and adversaries. (Cosponsored by Senators Sullivan and Peters)

Promoting Military Service: Sections 591-593 include a version of Senator Romney’s Military Service Promotion Act of 2023, legislation aimed at addressing the current military recruitment crisis by enhancing military recruiter access to high schools andcolleges, a top priority for the Utah National Guard. (Cosponsored by Senators King and Cotton)

Exposing China’s Defense Spending: Section 1257 of the NDAA includes an updated version of Senator Romney’s China Defense Spending Transparency Act, bipartisan legislation requiring the Defense Intelligence Agency to publish a comprehensive analysis exposing the true extent of China’s defense-industrial build up. (Cosponsored by Senators Manchin, Sullivan, and King)