This story is a staff report from The Paper.


From the Office of U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich News:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Ranking Member of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, and co-founder of the Senate Artificial Intelligence Caucus, has secured major wins for New Mexico in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021.

The wins support New Mexico’s men and women in uniform, military installations, national laboratories, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), Artificial Intelligence and job-creating initiatives throughout the state.

The legislation has passed the House and Senate with strong bipartisan support, and is expected to be signed into law.

“The people of New Mexico make tremendous contributions to our national security and work at the forefront of cutting-edge research and development,” Heinrich said. “This bipartisan bill supports our servicemembers and their families, and includes provisions I fought for to strengthen New Mexico’s military installations, national laboratories, WIPP, Spaceport America, and leadership in the future of technologies like Artificial Intelligence, directed energy, and space.

“This bill makes major investments to ensure our Armed Forces are equipped with the state-of-the-art technology needed to stay ahead of our adversaries. New Mexico is the center of excellence for small satellites and for directed energy weapons, and this bill increases funding and streamlines authorities to bolster those missions. I am also proud to have incorporated language that will advance the Department of Defense’s Artificial Intelligence capabilities, and ensure that America stays at the cutting edge of technological advancement. I will continue fighting to include language to maintain the independence of Kirtland Air Force Base’s Space Rapid Capabilities Office and placing a Space Training and Readiness command program in New Mexico.”

The NDAA sets the Department of Defense spending levels and policies for the upcoming fiscal year and authorizes funding for the U.S. Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons programs at Los Alamos National  Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories, as well as the Department of Energy’s environmental cleanup programs including WIPP.

“These provisions, among many others, benefit New Mexico’s economy, and advance New Mexico’s steadfast position as a leader in national security for years to come,” Heinrich said.

A list of many of the programs and provisions Sen. Heinrich advocated for during the bill writing process that were included in the FY21 NDAA is available as a PDF HERE.