(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), Chairman of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, secured several key provisions for Louisiana and small businesses in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2017, which passed through the Senate earlier today and is heading to the President’s desk to be signed into law. For several years, Vitter has been fighting against attempts to lower the military’s standards and requirements, including proposed cuts to troop levels. Additionally, Vitter successfully elevated the Global Strike Command at Barksdale Air Force Base, thus giving Barksdale a seat at the table during key decisions and ensuring its long-term viability in Louisiana.

“Despite several political attempts to weaken our nation’s military standing by lowering standards and requirements over the years, I’ve been fighting to ensure our military has the strength and resources it needs to meet the increasing threats around the world and also preserve Louisiana’s important role in our national security,” said Vitter. “In passing today’s major defense funding bill, we were able to make major advancements for some of my top priorities including protecting our troop levels, improving cyber security, and providing long-term certainty for Louisiana small businesses.”

Included in the NDAA was Vitter’s bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs for five years. The two programs ensure that small businesses are able to compete for research contracts from various federal agencies, including the Department of Defense.

“Today’s inclusion of long-term reauthorization of SBIR and STTR is a major mark of success after 14 short-term extensions that businesses have had to endure in previous years,” said Vitter. “With today’s successful vote, Louisiana small businesses, particularly in the technology sector, will be able to continue their rapid growth and success in driving innovation and creating more jobs.”

Vitter successfully included several provisions in the FY 2017 NDAA conference report, including:

Barksdale Air Force Base: Vitter successfully included $21 million in funding for modernization of a Consolidated Communications Facility recapitalization project at Barksdale Air Force Base (AFB). Previously, Vitter had successfully fought to elevate Barksdale AFB Global Strike Commander to a four-star general position, which gives Barksdale a seat at the national table during key decisions.
Cyber Security Improvements: Vitter’s bipartisan legislation, the Small Business Cyber Security Improvements Act of 2016, was included as part of the NDAA, which will enable the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Centers to work with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to help small businesses develop and enhance their cyber security infrastructure, cyber threat awareness, and cyber training programs for employees
Fort Polk, Force Structure of the U.S. Army: Vitter advanced an important provision that reverses U.S. Army end-strength decreases and also restores the Army’s end-strength to 476,000. Vitter has played an active role in protecting troop levels and ensuring that force restructuring result in minimal impact to the force capabilities of the Army and at Fort Polk.
SBIR/STTR Reauthorization: As the Senate Small Business Committee Chairman, Vitter has prioritized the reauthorization of the SBA’s SBIR/STTR programs, which are set to expire in September 2017. Two of SBA’s most successful and productive programs, SBIR and STTR partner small business and federal agencies to meet research and development goals in the technology sector through administering competitive contract awards to small technology firms. The SBIR/STTR programs have helped to create thousands of new jobs by fostering innovation and stimulating the economy through public-private partnerships.