Key Middle East Provisions in the Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act
Congress moved swiftly this week to approve this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), with an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 87-13 in the Senate on Wednesday, followed shortly thereafter by a House vote of 310-118 on Thursday. The bill now heads to President Biden’s desk, and he is expected to sign it into law shortly.
Several key provisions that JINSA played a key role in inspiring and developing that will help strengthen U.S. national security in the Middle East and the U.S.-Israel security relationship were included in the final NDAA conference report, including:
- The “Expediting Israeli Aerial Refueling Act of 2023” requires the Department of Defense to expedite training for Israeli pilots and mechanics on Boeing’s KC-46A aerial refueling tankers before they are delivered to Israel. It also requires the Secretary of Defense to brief Congress on its efforts to expedite delivery of KC-46 aircraft to Israel, and on the potential costs and benefits of surging United States KC-46 aircraft to Israel prior to the delivery of the planes Israel has purchased.
- The “Maritime Architecture and Response to International Terrorism In the Middle East (MARITIME) Act of 2023” requires the Secretary of Defense to develop a strategy to counter maritime threats posed by Iran and other terrorist or criminal groups within 60 days. This provision is of increased relevance in light of the surge of recent attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea by the Houthis in Yemen.
- The “Ensuring Peace Through Strength in Israel Act” requires an assessment of precision-guided munitions in America’s War Reserve Stockpile in Israel (WRSA-I), which are necessary for Israel to protect itself against Iran and its proxies including Hamas and Hezbollah.
- The “Special Envoy for the Abraham Accords Act” authorizes the establishment of a Presidential Envoy that directly report to the Secretary of State to send an unmistakable signal that strengthening the Abraham Accords and expanding membership is a top diplomatic priority of the United States.