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CVA on NDAA: some good notes, but many lawmakers still missing mark

By Concerned Veterans for America

Grassroots veterans group praises efforts to restore Congress’ role in shaping strong national defense, calls out shortcomings 


ARLINGTON, Va.—Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) on Thursday responded to the House passage of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022, highlighting some key provisions that would wisely refocus the efforts of our defense budget and foreign policy, while broadly condemning the stale and misguided thinking of many that more money—even above what the Pentagon and White House requested—and more war are the only ways to make America safer.

Russ Duerstine, CVA’s Deputy Director, had this to say about the bill:

“For at least the last 20 years, our military has been consumed by the demands of fighting seemingly endless wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. Over this time, the defense budget increased to record levels. We have since ended our military entanglement in Afghanistan – a war that has cost taxpayers roughly $2 trillion. But while the country faces unprecedented debt levels and teeters on the verge of a government shutdown, lawmakers now want to spend more taxpayer dollars instead of re-prioritizing our military spending toward future threats to America’s safety and national interest.”

CVA was encouraged by the leadership of some lawmakers who chose to use the bill to forge a better American foreign policy and wisely invest defense funds in those things that would make our nation safer.

Duerstine continued:

“We applaud the principled stances of those lawmakers who listened to the American people over the din of those in Washington pushing for more spending and more war. We want them to know CVA’s grassroots army values their leadership and will continue to stand with them to forge a U.S. foreign policy rooted in a more realistic view of the world and restrained use of force as a first response.”

In particular, CVA commended the amendments from Reps. Bowman (N.Y.), Khanna (Calif.), and Lee (Calif.):

  • The Bowman amendment, which failed, would have ended the unauthorized U.S. military presence in Syria without Congressional approval within one year of enactment.
  • The Khanna amendment, which passed, would draw down U.S. involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen by ending U.S. military logistical support, intelligence sharing, and coordination efforts that facilitate offensive airstrikes against the Houthis.
  • The Lee amendment, which failed, would have removed an irresponsible defense spending increase of nearly $25 billion to the bill’s total topline. This increase was well beyond what the Pentagon requested, even though we have just ended a major war.

Duerstine concluded:

With each NDAA, lawmakers have an opportunity to reassert their Constitutional role in making decisions about war and peace, reduce wasteful spending that hurts our military readiness, and crack down on unnecessary and costly acquisitions. They have an opportunity to refocus our foreign policy and not repeat mistakes of the past by continuing unauthorized wars disconnected from our vital interests. Unfortunately, save for a few principled leaders, lawmakers in the House have again missed the mark.”


  • CVA recently released a poll showing a majority of the American people want domestic concerns to be a greater priority. The poll was conducted by YouGov from August 17th through the 19th and is representative of the American public. Findings include:
    • A majority of Americans (51%) believe the United States should be less militarily engaged in conflicts around the world. Only 7% think we should be more engaged.
    • Two-thirds of Americans (67%) think we should prioritize domestic policy issues over foreign policy issues.