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House, Senate Conferees to Discuss F-35, JSTARS in Fiscal 2019 NDAA Reconciliation

House and Senate conference members are expected to address F-35 fighter jet procurements, troop levels and proposed budget cuts to “fourth estate” or support agencies within the Defense Department as they begin to reconcile the two versions of the fiscal 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, Defense News reported Wednesday.

Conferees on Wednesday started closed-door negotiations on the fiscal 2019 NDAA a day after the Senate passed a measure that reaffirms support for NATO and expands the authority of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. to investigate foreign deals.

The Washington Examiner reported that conference members will need to reach a compromise on the U.S. Air Force’s plan to drop the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System recapitalization program, establishment of a “space force” as a new service branch and penalties imposed on Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE.

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) told the publication he expects conferees to come up with a reconciled $716 billion defense policy bill for fiscal 2019 by the end of July.

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