The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 authorizes taxpayer funds for the U.S. Department of Defense to research and develop plant-based proteins for members of the military.
The congressional legislation, H.R. 7900, establishes a “Pilot Program on Research and Development of Plant-based Protein for the Navy.”
The bill stipulates that by March 1st, 2023, the Secretary of the Navy “shall establish and carry out a pilot program to offer plant-based protein options at forward operating bases for consumption by members of the Navy.” Plant-based protein options are defined as “edible vegan or vegetarian meat alternative products made using plant and other non-livestock-based proteins,” according to the bill.
At least two naval facilities will be made to participate in the pilot program and “prioritize facilities where livestock-based protein options may be costly to obtain or store.”
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2023, which dictates appropriations for military activities and programs run by the Department of Defense, explains that the pilot program will run for three years. Following its completion, the Secretary of the Navy will submit a report to Congress including the following findings:
(1) The consumption rate of plant-based protein options by members of the Navy under the pilot program.
(2) Effective criteria to increase plant-based protein options at naval facilities not identified under subsection (b).
(3) An analysis of the costs of obtaining and storing plant-based protein options compared to the costs of obtaining and storing livestock-based protein options at selected naval facilities.
On June 22nd, the Committee on Armed Services held a markup session to consider the bill, with the House of Representatives later voting 57 to 1 in favor of recommending it.
The pilot program comes amidst intense scrutiny over billionaires such as Bill Gates purchasing massive amounts of U.S. farmland to develop plant-based alternatives to animal meats. The Microsoft founder recently called on rich nations to switch entirely to synthetic beef.
The Chinese Communist Party has also collaborated on similar ventures, launching expansive influence operations targeting American agriculture officials with free trips to China.