In a major congressional victory for the Biden administration, the US Senate has passed a major defense policy bill containing budget increases for the Pentagon with bipartisan support. This legislation serves as an important step towards modernizing the American military while also preventing a last-minute brawl over unrelated culture-war demands. Known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the sweeping military policy bill sets defense spending for the coming fiscal year, which begins October 1st. The current proposal passed with an 84-13 vote, with bipartisan support from both sides of the aisle. It allocates a budget of $715 billion for national defense, a figure that will represent a roughly 3% increase over current spending levels. These numbers are expected to rise even more significantly in subsequent bills, as the Biden administration’s efforts to modernize the US military have grown in scope. The latest NDAA lays a cornerstone for further investments, which will presumably come as the White House drafts a sweeping infrastructure bill and a Washington agreement is made to fund it. The NDAA also excluded provisions pushed by GOP lawmakers that do not have popular bipartisan support. These include language that aimed to remove the Confederate names of military bases, ban Confederate flags at military installations, and restrict the Pentagon’s ability to provide gender reassignment surgery to troops. Such restrictions are widely considered to be GOP efforts to generate culture war flashpoints rather than sensible civil policy. Civil liberties and labor organizations have expressed positive sentiments regarding the passage of this NDAA. While they acknowledge that further reforms are necessary and potential infringement of human rights remain, most are viewing the passage as a largely beneficial step for the US military. One key detail of the newly-passed NDAA is its ability to combat the White House’s growing military commitments in the Middle East. Under its terms, the US will reduce its involvement in Yemen’s civil war and take steps to potentially end the conflict as a whole within the next year. Time will tell if this latest NDAA will bring about the policy reforms that the Biden administration is pursuing, though it marks an encouraging step in that direction. With this key piece of budgeting legislation passed, the US should be able to begin modernizing its military and infrastructure in the near future.