House passes 2022 defense policy bill

The House passed its version of the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act with a $24 billion topline spending increase over the Biden administration's budget proposal, potentially eliminating a major hurdle once the bill heads into conference with the Senate.

The House passed a $768 billion 2022 defense policy bill on a 316-113 vote late Thursday -- authorizing a $24 billion increase to topline spending over the Biden administration's budget proposal -- a move that potentially lessens debate conflict as the legislation moves forward.

The bill's passage came after the White House rebuffed several provisions that limited military services from divesting of legacy platforms and boasts significant policy changes including expanding the military draft to include all Americans, improvements to software acquisition, and cyber education for Defense Department personnel.

The bill also includes an amendment introduced by Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), who chairs the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Cyber, Innovative Technologies, and Information Systems, that seeks special immigrant status for science and technology workers deemed essential to national security innovation.

"The United States attracts and develops some of the brightest minds in the world," Langevin said. "However, our constricted pathways to residency and citizenship drive this talent into the arms of our adversaries; so we face intense competition from other countries who offer large research grants and expedited citizenship to lure this talent away."

Another amendment would create four critical technology security centers through competitive grants from the Department of Homeland Security to universities, federally funded research and development centers, or national laboratories. The centers would focus research in network technology, network industrial control systems, open source software, and federal critical software.

The Senate has yet to approve its version of the must-pass bill, which sets Defense Department policy priorities and authorizes spending limits. The Senate Armed Services Committee passed its version of the bill in July. Once the Senate passes its NDAA the two chambers will head to a conference to hammer out differences between the bills.

This article first appeared on FCW, a Defense Systems partner site.