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Weekly Column: Providing For The Common Defense

Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

“We should deal in a spirit of justice and fairness with weaker nations, and we should show to the strongest that we are able to maintain our rights. . . . Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready.”--26th President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt,

speech on May 13, 1903 

In December, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  This yearly legislation backs this sensible approach--of speaking courteously, dealing fairly, and keeping ourselves armed and ready--highlighted in President Roosevelt’s speech as it meets Congress’s responsibility spelled out in our Constitution “to provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States.” 

Importantly, the FY 2023 NDAA supports Idaho’s women and men in uniform as they conduct their missions forcefully and efficiently, by:

  • Providing U.S. troops with a needed pay raise of 4.6 percent;
  • Permanently authorizing the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) SkillBridge program, which helps servicemembers in their initial stages of separation gain experience in a field of their interest and supports the transition of these selfless men and women back to civilian life;
  • Repealing the DOD vaccine mandate on active military personnel, while I continue to press for  all servicemembers or federal employees who were unfairly discharged or terminated due to these mandates be reinstated; and
  • Supporting parental rights at DOD schools, as I continue to fight to protect parents’ rights to be actively involved in their children’s education.


I worked with fellow U.S. Senator for Idaho Jim Risch to secure provisions for Idaho, including measures to:

  • Ensure the Idaho Air National Guard maintains it flying mission while allowing the Air Force to divest a certain number of A-10s;
  • Aid the development of digital night vision technology, in which Idaho industry plays a key role;
  • Provide resources for the Range Craft Berthing Facility at the Navy’s Acoustic Research Detachment in Bayview; and
  • Resources for cleanup, waste disposition, regulatory support and construction at the Idaho National Laboratory. 

The FY 2023 NDAA also backs a firm stance against world antagonists through supporting efforts to pushback on China and stay tough on Russia.  This includes sensible oversight requirements for the U.S. effort to arm Ukraine while it fights against Russian aggression.  The law also helps reinforce domestic security through provisions that include required updates about military support to law enforcement officers deployed to mitigate our border crisis.  Additionally, the law requires the development of a plan for integrated air and missile defense in the Middle East to protect Israel and other allies from Iran. 

Further, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) was enacted with the FY 2023 NDAA.  Congress generally enacts WRDA legislation every two years to support the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) water resource development programs and projects.  The recently enacted WRDA helps advance the Little Wood River project in Gooding, supporting completion of the full project including the four bridges.  The law also contained a provision to study the granting of Good Neighbor Authority (GNA) to the Corps to improve federal lands in Idaho.  Senator Jim Risch, Governor Brad Little and I have pressed for the establishment of a GNA pilot project in Idaho to reduce fire risk around Corps projects.  This study is a step in the right direction. 

In closing his speech highlighted above, President Roosevelt stressed the importance of making our nation one where both “the spirit of peace and of justice” and “the spirit of courage, of hardihood, the spirit which while refusing to wrong the weak is incapable of flinching from any fear of the strong” are exemplified for the world.  I am proud to support policies that embolden these important American traits and our country continuing to be “incapable of flinching from any fear of the strong.” 


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