December 14, 2023

Ricketts Supports Defense Bill with Major Conservative & Nebraska Wins

December 14, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Pete Ricketts (R-NE) released the following statement on his vote to support Senate passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA):

“At a time of growing threats from adversaries like the People’s Republic of China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea, this defense bill focuses on deterring aggression and keeping Americans safe. It has critical funding for Nebraska’s National Guard and Offutt Air Force Base. The bill gives our troops a much-deserved pay raise, rejects Biden’s reckless plan to shrink our Navy, modernizes our nuclear deterrent, and ensures oversight of our aid to Ukraine. This bill also delivers a major conservative win by demanding the Pentagon re-focus on readiness instead of letting bureaucrats push divisive Critical Race Theory and DEI practices on our ranks. Lastly, this bill includes Senator Lankford and my amendments to improve customer service and transparency in the Biden administration’s backlogged passport office.”

Ricketts spoke about the NDAA yesterday with Kris Pierce on NewsRadio 1110 KFAB. Listen to the radio interview here.


The NDAA lays out spending priorities for the Department of Defense (DOD) and some non-defense authorizations, including the State Department. There are also several Nebraska-specific wins. The bill: 

  • Authorizes critical funding for the 55th Wing and the 557th Weather Wing at Offutt AFB,
  • Authorizes full funding for the Sentinel ICBM weapon system and provides the program with multiyear procurement authority to stabilize supply chains and increase program efficiency,
  • Supports requested funding for military construction projects at Offutt AFB and various Nebraska National Guard sites throughout the state,
  • Authorizes additional resources for STRATCOM’s Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications (NC3) modernization, and
  • Authorizes full funding for the recapitalization and modernization of our nuclear triad.

The NDAA also includes many legislative efforts supported by Ricketts. The bill:

  • Includes two Ricketts-sponsored amendments that provide taxpayers with more visibility into the processing of their passports and improved customer service,  
  • Supports $886 billion in FY 2024 funding for our national security,
  • Secures a 5.2% pay raise for servicemembers,
  • Establishes a new U.S. training program for the military forces in Taiwan,
  • Expands the Pacific Deterrence Initiative to enhance U.S. basing and logistics in the Western Pacific,
  • Enables the security partnership among Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, known as AUKUS, by providing the necessary ship transfer authority and streamlining of export controls,
  • Requires a full public accounting of CCP military spending to ensure the rest of the world understands the Chinese Communist Party’s global military goals,
  • Restricts the DOD from supporting Hollywood film projects that have ties to the CCP,
  • Encourages development of new homeland air defense protocols to avoid future violations of U.S. airspace,
  • Fully funds the European Deterrence Initiative to boost the military readiness of European allies and deter Russian aggression,
  • Fully funds and extends the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) through fiscal year 2027,
  • Mandates a review of U.S. precision-guided munitions stockpiled in Israel and an assessment of the types of munitions Israel would need to respond to a sustained multi-front war, to update and modernize the stockpile,
  • Facilitates training Israeli pilots on new aerial refueling aircraft that Israel has ordered and to expedite the delivery of those tankers,
  • Creates a dedicated State Department envoy for the Abraham Accords, Negev Forum and other regional normalization efforts,
  • Includes the FINISH IT Act to ensure border wall panels already owned by the U.S. government are used or transferred to state governments for use in building the border wall,
  • Directs DOD to develop a strategy for countering fentanyl trafficking, and imposes sanctions on transnational criminal organizations, including drug cartels, and others who traffic illicit fentanyl and its precursors,
  • Includes the Merit Act to replace all DOD “equity” programming with initiatives focused on equal opportunity, including at service academies, and
  • Freezes DEI hiring until a full accounting of all DOD DEI programming and costs