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Blumenthal Champions Wins for Connecticut in National Defense Authorization Bill

Blumenthal secures $1.1 billion for second Virginia Class submarine, and additional funding for dozens of new heavy lift, medium lift, and combat rescue helicopters

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, applauded the Committee’s approval of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2025. The NDAA includes a number of provisions championed by Blumenthal in support of U.S. national security, Connecticut’s defense industrial base and its workers, and service members across the Department of Defense (DOD). The bill passed out of Committee by a vote of 22-3 and will now move to the full Senate for consideration.

“This bipartisan defense authorization bill makes critical investments in the two pillars of our national defense: advanced technologies and the talented workforce that build them, and the brave men and women dedicated to defending our nation. This national security support package recognizes the central role Connecticut plays in our nation's defense efforts. During the markup, I won $1.13 billion in funding for a second Virginia-class submarine essential to our continued undersea superiority,” Blumenthal said.

“I am also proud of a provision I fought for to expand suicide prevention efforts—in honor of Seaman Xavier Sandor and inspired by the Seaman Xavier Sandor Support for Sailors Act. This NDAA redoubles our commitment to our allies and solidifies our dedication to defending democracy for all. This funding ensures that our nation is fully equipped to protect Americans and safeguard our freedom, security, and interests at home and abroad.”

As a member of the Committee tasked with crafting the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2025, Blumenthal successfully advocated for the inclusion of several provisions that invest in Connecticut-based manufacturers and suppliers of vital national security assets, including:

Demonstrating Unwavering Support in Connecticut’s Submarine Industrial Base: Blumenthal fought for increased funding to safeguard Connecticut’s submarine industry, ensuring the preservation of key businesses whose products uphold a vital segment of Connecticut’s economy and provide the nation with an asymmetric advantage. Blumenthal delivered:

  • $8.2 billion to fully fund one Virginia Class submarine, adding another world-class vessel to the silent service’s arsenal while supporting hundreds of suppliers. The bill also provides incremental funding authority and $1.13 billion for a second Virginia Class submarine, enabling the purchase of long lead-time material by critical suppliers in the submarine industrial base.
  • $9.8 billion for the ongoing design and construction of the Columbia Class ballistic missile submarine, ensuring full funding of this strategic asset and top acquisition priority of the Navy.
  • A total of $115.6 million for undersea warfare support equipment and systems, including the procurement of an upgraded Submarine Acoustic Warfare System.  
  • $106 million to fund the research and development of advanced submarine hull coatings—making the fleet faster, quieter, and more fuel efficient.
  • $4 billion in total authorized funding for submarine industrial base growth and sustainment. This represents a reaffirmation of Congressional support for a close and continuing partnership between the U.S. Navy and industry, with the aim of making targeted, enduring investments in the submarine workforce.

Boosting the Production of Proven Helicopters: Blumenthal continued his ironclad support of Connecticut’s helicopter industrial base, securing funding for the production of multiple rotary-wing platforms by Sikorsky Aircraft and supporting Connecticut suppliers that sustain such efforts. Blumenthal delivered:

  • A block-buy contract for the procurement of 37 of Sikorsky’s CH-53K heavy-lift air frames over the course of fiscal years 2025 and 2026. 21 King Stallions are slated for production in the coming fiscal year, which includes two additional CH-53Ks that Blumenthal fought to procure. 
  • $792 million for the procurement of 24 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, with an additional $25 million authorized to enhance the capabilities of the Army’s multi-role workhorse.
  • $210 million to procure 5 Sikorsky-built HH-60W Jolly Green II aircraft, providing the U.S. Air Force with additional platforms to accomplish combat search-and-rescue and personnel recovery missions that save service members’ lives.
  • $220 million to fund the development and sustainment of emerging helicopter capabilities, including many that are produced in Aerospace Alley and elsewhere throughout Connecticut.

Expanding the F-35 Fleet and Laying the Groundwork for Future Upgrades: Building on his longstanding support of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, Blumenthal delivered:

  • $12.4 billion for the procurement of 68 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters across the Joint Force.
  • A directive that strengthens the requirement for the integration of an upgraded Power and Thermal Management System by 2030—a step that will help to mitigate costly aircraft delivery delays.

Developing New Capabilities: Blumenthal led provisions that directed the Secretary of Defense to invest in the development of the following operational energy, offensive strike, and force protection capabilities, including:

  • Ground-based and maritime systems that use directed energy to counter drone swarms.
  • Power systems that drastically reduce the footprint of troops in the field without compromising reliability or durability.
  • $212 million to improve long-range precision fires technology, which supports emerging warfighting concepts and deters adversaries in ground and maritime environments.
  • $102 million to research, develop, test, and evaluate hypersonic weapons that will increase the competitiveness of our intercontinental strike capabilities relative to near-peer adversaries.
  • $32.5 million for the development of low-cost, vertical-take-off-and-landing loitering munitions that can put any enemy position at risk at any time.

Improving Service Member Quality of Life: In recognition of the sacrifice that all service members make and the impact of their contributions on our national defense, Blumenthal championed the following provisions:

  • A 4.5 percent pay increase for all service members.
  • An additional monthly pay raise for junior service members in the grades of E-1 through E-3.
  • Launch of an independent commission on quality-of-life issues for the all-volunteer force with the intent of improving conditions for current and future service members.
  • A ban on illegal products that are marketed to servicemembers as dietary supplements. Passage of this provision will ensure that products containing harmful ingredients, such as tianeptine, andarine, galantamine, and dimethylamine, do not cause adverse health outcomes for service members.

Suicide Prevention: After championing the Seaman Xavier Sandor Support for Sailors Act last year, Blumenthal expanded support to service members who are at risk of suicide by delivering the following provisions:

  • A basic allowance for housing for all unaccompanied Sailors below the grade of E-6 who perform sea duty aboard naval vessels. This will allow eligible service members to access and afford quality housing outside the confines of the shipyard.
  • Initiation of a monthly briefing requirement for the DOD to provide Congress with data on service member suicides. This report will categorize deaths by service, grade, sex, and installation, in order to enable Congress to more effectively combat the scourge of suicides in the ranks.

Recruiting and Retention: Blumenthal spearheaded a provision granting greater high school access to military recruiters, with the aim of educating students about the benefits of service to our nation. 

PFAS Mitigation and Prevention: Blumenthal’s ongoing efforts to rid communities of harmful chemicals extends to the military as well. To that end, he secured:

  • A provision that requires site assessments at all DOD installations to identify and counteract chemicals that affect drinking water. This measure also requires installation officials to arrange for bottled water or water filtration at installations where PFAS is found to be impacting the water supply.
  • Authorized funding for the Department of Energy’s defense environmental cleanup activities.

Support to Key Partners and Allies: In recognition of the ongoing fight against unwarranted aggression and terror, Blumenthal delivered the following provisions:

  • Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative: A statement of policy that unequivocally asserts a policy of support for Ukraine now and into the future. This policy ensures U.S. assistance to Ukraine’s democratic and economic institutions, with the twin benefit of enabling predictable assistance to Ukraine as it continues its defense and fostering closer partnerships with the U.S. and Europe in the face of Russian aggression. 
  • Hostage Release Efforts Update: Requires the DOD to update Congress on efforts to recover all citizens and lawful permanent residents of the U.S. who are being held by designated foreign terrorist organizations.