The Most Important Middle East Provisions in the FY2023 National Defense Authorization Act

Negotiations between the Senate and House Armed Services Committees have successfully concluded with both chambers agreeing to a final version of the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The final, massive 4,000-page bill passed the House with a strong bipartisan vote of 350-80 and likewise in the Senate with a vote of 83-11. It has multiple notable provisions related to Middle East security. Also telling are several proposals that Con­gress considered and rejected.

The most significant contribution the NDAA makes to Middle East security is the inclusion of a version of the Deterring Enemy Forces and Enabling National Defenses (DEFEND) Act of 2022 (Section 1658), which calls for the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) to cre­ate and send to Congress a strategy and acquisition approach for standing up regional air defense net­works in the Middle East to protect U.S. allies and partners from missile and rocket attacks from Iran or its proxies. This provision was directly inspired by recommendations in JINSA’s January 2022 report “A Stronger, Wider Peace: A U.S. Strategy for Advancing the Abraham Accords.”