The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) wants the Pentagon to lay out a counter unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) strategy and to establish a counter UAS (c-UAS) task force.

SASC would mandate the Pentagon develop a strategy “for countering drone technologies, referring drone offenses for investigation and prosecution, and assessing resources or authorities necessary for drone incursion response,” according to a summary of the committee’s version of the fiscal 2025 defense authorization bill.

The Senate defense authorizers also advise the DoD establishment of a c-UAS task force “to review guidance relating to c-UAS activities” and direct the Department of the Army, Air Force, and Navy “to provide briefings on respective service plans for counter-UAS capabilities,” the summary said.

After a 12 hour mark-up, SASC passed its version of the fiscal 2025 defense authorization bill early on June 13 on a vote of 22 to 3–a bill opposed by SASC Chairman Jack Reed (D-R.I.) for violating the Fiscal Responsibility Act cap on a one percent spending increase. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) also voted against the bill.

The Senate Historical Office said that records dating back to 1970 do not show any other SASC chairman who has voted against the committee bill. 1961 marked the first defense authorization bill.

The fiscal 2025 SASC measure approves a national defense topline of $923.3 billion–a $25 billion increase, SASC said. The bill authorizes $878.4 for the Pentagon, $33.4 billion for Department of Energy nuclear weapon programs, and $11.5 billion for defense-related programs outside of the defense authorizers’ jurisdiction, SASC said.

That $25 billion topline increase is $30 billion less than Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), the SASC ranking member, has sought (Defense Daily, May 29). Wicker has backed a build of three attack submarines per year, a 357-ship Navy by 2035, and a growth in defense spending from three percent of gross domestic product to five percent.

Among the areas of the $25 billion topline increase are $4 billion more for munitions, such as Lockheed Martin [LMT] Standard Missile variants for the U.S. Navy and Precision Strike Missiles for the U.S. Army, which are to replace the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) and which are to have a range of 300 miles.

On Navy programs, SASC would authorize a third Arleigh Burke destroyer in fiscal 2025 for $1.43 billion, about $1 billion for a full multi-year buy of amphibious ships, such as the Huntington Ingalls Industries [HII] LPD-17 class, and, like the House Armed Services Committee, a second Virginia-class submarine.

Also included in the $25 billion topline increase is $400 million extra to allow the Air Force to accelerate the Boeing [BA] E-7 Wedgetail advanced early warning aircraft for the U.S. Air Force to replace the E-3 AWACS–a replacement that SASC staff believe the Air Force has been too slow to prioritize. In addition, SASC would authorize an additional buy of six Boeing F-15EX fighters for the Air Force.

The sufficiency or lack thereof of the U.S. defense industrial base to meet U.S. and ally munitions needs has been a major touch point in the DoD discourse, and the SASC bill would require the Army “to provide options to establish secondary domestic production sources at existing arsenals, depots, and ammunition plants to address munition supply chain chokepoints,” according to a bill summary.