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Congressman Young Commends Senate Passage of NDAA

Defense Authorization Now Moves to President’s Desk

Washington, D.C. – Alaskan Congressman Don Young today shared the following statement after Senate passage of S. 1847, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 (NDAA), which authorizes $521.3 billion in national defense spending, provides a number of key reforms for military operations across the nation, and approves a number of critical Alaska lands provisions.

 “While I would’ve preferred to see passage of this important legislation months ago, I’m pleased to see the House and Senate come together in our final days to find common ground,” said Congressman Don Young. “In these divided times, it’s often difficult to achieve perfect legislation, but this bipartisan, bicameral agreement works to put our military men and women first and provide them with the resources and reforms they need to train, fight, and protect our country.”

“In addition to making important reforms to stem the tide of sexual assault and suicide, this legislation also takes significant steps to support military operations in Alaska,” Young said. “I was proud to see the inclusion of language that reaffirms the F-35 basing at Eielson Air Force Base, begins the process of getting our 168th Air Refueling Wing the manpower they need to execute their missions, and makes a number of Alaskan land conveyances reality.”

S. 1847, a bipartisan compromise hatched between the House and Senate, also includes three Alaska public land provisions previously passed in the House under the leadership of Congressman Young.  The bill includes:

  • The conveyance of 1,518 acres of federal land at the former Distant Early Warning Site near Wainwright, Alaska to the Olgoonik Corporation. The House bill, H.R. 5167, passed by voice vote on November 13, 2014.
  • The Sealaska land entitlement finalization, which conveys 70,075 of acres of land to Sealaska. On September 10, 2013, the House Natural Resources Committee reported a version of this bill, which also passed in the House during the 112th Congress.
  • The removal of federal reversionary interest to three parcels of land conveyed to the Municipality of Anchorage. Under the existing title, a reversionary clause requires the land ownership revert back to the federal government should the land no longer be used for “municipal purposes.” This bill passed the House on February 6, 2014. 

 

Provisions included in the 2015 NDAA of Alaskan benefit and interest: 

  • Ground-Based Missile Defense:  Authorizes a $40 million increase to the Ballistic Missile Defense System at Ft. Greely for upgrades to the current system of ground-based missile interceptors.  This bill also blocks funding to explore an East Coast missile site and instead directs funding to improving Alaska’s capacity.
  • Ballistic Missile Defense Sensors:  Authorizes $392.9 million for Ballistic Missile Defense Sensors, one of which is located at Clear Air Force Station.
  • Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR):  This bill authorizes funding to begin building the LRDR, a vital missile defense radar which will be constructed in Alaska within ten years.
  • Clear Air Force Station Military Construction: Authorizes $11.5 million for an Emergency Power Plant fuel storage.
  • F-35:  $6.7 billion for the procurement for 34 aircraft and continued research and development.  Currently, Alaska is home to Eielson AFB the preferred location for the Air Force’s OCONUS F-35 basing of two squadrons for F-35As.
  • Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC): Includes a provision explicitly stating nothing with the NDAA should be construed as authorizing an additional round of BRAC.
  • National Guard Force Structure Adjustments: Includes a provision to have the Government Accountability Organization (GAO) study the appropriate balance between the Active force and the Guard. The re-distribution of important Guard aviation assets are also blocked in FY2015.
  • Nome Land Transfer: Transfers seven acres of federal land – the West Nome Fuel Tank Farm – from the Air Force to the City of Nome for future economic purposes.

 

 

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