A service life extension would be authorized for the B83 megaton gravity bomb in 2022 and every new president would have to review U.S. nuclear force posture, if a Senate committee’s version of the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act becomes law.

The Senate Armed Services Committee approved its 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) behind closed doors in July by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 23-3. However, the Committee only published the text of the bill, and a lengthy explanatory report with line-item spending breakdowns

, on Wednesday.

The measure would authorize the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to spend more than $20 billion in the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. That’s a little more than the Biden administration’s request of roughly $19.7 billion. Like unreconciled 2022 appropriations bills working their way through Congress, the Senate Armed Services Committee’s NDAA would provide all the funding requested for the NNSA’s planned two-state plutonium pit production complex.

The NNSA is the part of the Department of Energy that maintains and refurbishes nuclear warheads and bombs.

As far as NNSA weapons programs go, authorizing the B83 bomb is the only substantial way the Senate committee’s bill differs from the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act the full House was debating at deadline Wednesday evening. Under the Senate committee’s bill, the megaton-capable gravity bomb, which the Trump administration pulled off the scrap heap where the Obama administration put it, would be authorized to begin a service life extension beginning with about $100 million in fiscal year 2022. 

The House’s 2022 NNSA appropriations bill denies funding for B83, but the Senate Appropriations Committee’s 2022 NNSA budget bill, approved in August, would conditionally provide the B83 funding the Biden administration requested this spring. To ungate the B83 funding in the Senate’s bill, the NNSA administrator would have to certify to Congress that there is an operational requirement for the weapon.

Meanwhile, the Senate Armed Services Committee’s NDAA would make the nuclear posture review a part of every U.S. presidency and give responsibility for the review to the under secretary of defense for policy and the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

The posture report would be due every fourth January as part of the national defense strategy, if the committee’s bill is signed, and would have to include, among many other things, “[t]he nuclear weapons complex that will be required for implementing the United States national and military strategy, including ongoing plans to modernize the complex,” according to bill language.

Nuclear posture reviews, sometimes published in several languages, are a public declaration of the nuclear arsenal the U.S. believes it needs to prevent nuclear attacks from other nuclear-armed militaries. Politically, they can be a means of winning congressional support for changes to deployed forces — at least to the extent permitted by law, and treaties such as New START nuclear arms-control agreement between Washington and Moscow.

The nuclear posture review wound up in the news this week when a reorganization of the Pentagon bureaucracy resulted in the ouster of Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear & Missile Defense Policy Leonor Tomero: the former lead staffer for House Armed Services Democrats who joined the Biden administration earlier this year to lead a nuclear posture review that some disarmament advocates saw as a chance to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. defense policy.

Tomero did not reply to a request for comment.