William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021

(P. L. 116-)

How To Use the WMTNDAA 2021 Suite of Pages

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On March 26, 2020, H.R.6395, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 was introduced in the House of Representatives.

On July 9, 2020, it was reported by the House Committee on Armed Services, with H. Rpt. 116-442.

On July 21, 2020, H. R. 6395, Passed the House of Representatives.

On June 23, 2020, S. 4049, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, was introduced in the Senate.

On June 24, 2020, S. 4049, was reported by the Senate Committee on Armed Services with S. Rpt. 116-236.

On July 23, 2020, S. 4049, passed the Senate.

On November 16, 2020, the Senate passed H.R.6395 by deleting all of H. R. 6395 and replacing it with its amendment which was S. 4049.

A conference between the House and the Senate was held and Conference Report H. Rpt. 116-617 was filed on December 3, 2020.

On December 8, 2020, the Conference Report was agreed to in the House.

On December 11, 2020, the Conference Report was agreed to in the Senate.

On December 23, 2020, H. R. 6395, the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, was vetoed.

On December 28, 2020, the veto was overridden in the House.

On January 1, 2021, the veto was overridden in the Senate.

This analysis begins with Title VIII which annually contains the main contracting related sections.  There may be other  sections sprinkled throughout the law.  Additionally this year, there is TITLE XVIII--TRANSFER AND REORGANIZATION OF DEFENSE ACQUISITION STATUTES.  That Title explains itself.  It exists because of the Advisory Panel on Streamlining and Codifying Acquisition Regulations, established by the Congress under section 809 of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2016 (Public Law 114-92).

These sections are listed on a page which appears to be a table of contents.  That is where the analysis begins.  Each section is linked to another page which shows the section of the NDAA on the left and the sections of congressional reports of the right.  The top-listed report is the Conference Report which is voted on in both Houses of Congress after all congressional arguments are ironed out.  Since both Houses of Congress voted on the Conference Report, in theory, it is the best source of congressional intent.  Congressional intent may exist, at times, when a Court tries to figure out what Congress meant in a section of the NDAA.  You can also use the Conference Report to settle arguments in your office, or between colleagues, as to what a section means.  Just remember, congressional intent is a theory that exists that may have a stronger place in reality than the Easter Bunny.

After the Conference Report you may notice one or two other Reports mentioned under it.  In the second session of the 116th Congress, each House of Congress, as usual, passed its own NDAA, H.R. 6395 in the House and S. 4049 in the Senate.  Each of those bills was reported out of its own Armed Services Committee with a report.  In this case, H. R. 6395 was accompanied by H. Rpt. 116-442 and S. 4049 was accompanied by S. Rpt. 116-236.  If the Conference Report mentions a section of the Senate or House bill as a source for the section of the law, it is listed as a possible explanation of that section of a bill in the House or Senate and added under the Conference Report.

After H. Rpt. 116-442 and S. Rpt. 116-236 were issued in the first half of 2020, both bills which they accompanied were amended several or many times before the bills were passed in their respective Houses of Congress. If that was the case, you will not find a mention of it under the Conference Report.  However, you might still be able to search for and find a reason that the section of a bill exists because it may be mentioned with comments from its sponsor in the Congressional Record..  If you find something about a section mentioned in the Congressional Record you are there for your own personal satisfaction.



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