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U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., applauded the U.S. Senate today for passing critical defense policy legislation that would strengthen our military, national security and domestic markets, while improving the quality of life for our nation’s service members.  

This year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) also includes Enzi priorities, such as securing crucial national security resources by fostering rare earth element mining.  

“I’m glad the Senate passed this defense bill that prioritizes quality of life for our troops and their families while also supporting our American energy industries, modernizing technologies and improving the transparency of the Pentagon’s business operations,” Enzi said. “It is vital that our nation is not reliant on foreign nations for key resources - such as rare earth elements - that play critical roles in our national security. That is why we must support the development of these strategic resources at home in places that have them in abundance, like Wyoming.”

The legislation would help support Enzi’s priority of protecting intercontinental ballistic missiles and developing a domestic supply chain for rare earth minerals. America currently relies on China for 80% of its rare earth elements, which play a critical role in U.S. military equipment.

The NDAA also includes one of Enzi’s amendments that requires a list of partnership opportunities on the government’s contracting website. Many small Department of Defense contractors, including those that produce rare earth elements, are often not aware of these partnership opportunities, making them disadvantaged relative to bigger contractors.

Additionally, the NDAA provides a 3% pay raise to troops, encourages innovative technological development, improves how the Pentagon manages its budget and makes the process more transparent and accountable.

The Senate passed the NDAA with a 86-14 vote. Before becoming law, it must be reconciled with similar legislation passed in the House and be signed by the president.