June 14, 2019

Moulton Secures Local Wins in National Defense Authorization Act

Funding for GE’s Lynn ITEP program, MIT Lincoln Labs, US Naval Sea Cadets among priorities that clear important legislative hurdle

WASHINGTON —Early yesterday morning, the House Armed Services Committee passed the National Defense Authorization Act. It includes a number of locally-important measures Representative Seth Moulton has championed as a member of the committee. The bill will head to the floor of the House for a vote in July.

“In order to compete and win against rising powers like Russia and China, Congress needs to invest in cutting-edge technologies that strengthen our national and economic security. That means hard choices and smart investments when it comes to defense spending,” Moulton said. “Our region has a lot of skin in the game--more than 200,000 people in New England work on defense projects funded by Congress. So the effort to make America safer and stronger by developing a 21st Century national security strategy, is also an effort to deliver for families in our region.”

The National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, sets the funding levels, expenditures and authorizations for the Department of Defense. The House and Senate Armed Services Committee write the NDAA for their respective chambers of Congress. The House’s and Senate’s versions are then negotiated into a final bill which is sent to the president’s desk to be signed into law.

This week The Military Times reported that the NDAA “is seen as one of the few sure things in an increasingly divided Congress. It has passed annually for more than five decades.”

Moulton worked to ensure this year’s National Defense Authorization Act included the following locally-important items:


The FY 2020 NDAA includes full funding for the next installment of funding for GE’s Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP), which makes a new generation of helicopter engines for the military’s Blackhawk and Apache helicopters. Moulton has worked hard to secure funding for the ITEP program since his first days in Congress. Earlier this year, the federal government announced the GE Riverworks plant landed a half-billion dollar contract to build ITEP prototypes, the first stage towards full production. The Armed Services Committee-passed version of the NDAA includes a new installment of more than $200 million.


The MIT Lincoln Laboratory is a 75-acre campus on the eastern perimeter of Hanscom Air Force Base. It is designated as a federally-funded Research and Development Center for the Department of Defense which means it researches and develops new technology that supports several national security and public safety missions. This year’s NDAA paves the way for new multi-year investments in improvements at the labs that will guarantee it remains a world-leader in developing defense technologies.


Since the invention of radar at MIT, Massachusetts has been home to a large contingent of employers who develop missile and radar guidance systems. Moulton secured funding for the Missile Defense Agency’s Command and Control, Battle Management, & Communications (C2BMC) program as well as investments in a new generation of missile defense sensors that are being developed in the state. These sensors will be a key part of a next generation deterrence strategy that will protect American lives and interests around the world from hostile nations.


This year’s NDAA contains additional funding for several research programs on cybersecurity and drone technology. Northeastern University is leading the nation on this front. At a speech earlier this year at the Hudson Institute, Moulton outlined his view on the next generation of arms control the country will need to counter Russia and China. He pointed out that America should negotiate new arms control treaties for drones and other advanced technologies while it has a competitive advantage. Cutting-edge research conducted at Northeastern helps advance that discussion.


Moulton secured additional funding for energy resiliency research to ensure that the military has energy sources and power distribution that will help protect the grid from cyber attacks and other threats. Moulton also successfully included funding for a unique collaboration between Natick and UMASS Lowell to engineer better technologies to protect soldiers, including better body armor and more lightweight and thermally responsive materials.


Hacking 4 Defense teaches college students across the nation about a specific problem the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community faces, and then challenges them to develop prototypes that could solve the problem. The government can select prototypes for future development. Moulton helped secure $5 million in additional funding for the program in the Committee-passed version of the NDAA. By applying private sector approaches to solving government problems, Moulton believes Hacking 4 Defense will deliver on its goal to solve national security challenges faster.


The US Naval Sea Cadet Corps is a Navy-run program that promotes an interest and skill in naval disciplines, teaches life skills, and provides leadership lessons to American students aged 13 through the completion of high school. Moulton pushed the committee to increase funding for the program above the president’s budget request.

According to a 2015 study from the Donahue Institute for Economy and Public Policy Research at UMass the defense industry creates more than 200,000 jobs at more than 4,000 employers throughout New England.

Moulton has used his seat on the House Armed Services Committee to make sure the nation is making smart investments in next generation arms and technology. He has made a nationwide call for Congress to use the NDAA and other debates to define a next generation of defense policy that invests in cutting-edge technologies so America can keep its competitive defense and economic edge in the world.