Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved H.R. 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018, bipartisan legislation that focuses on reforming, repairing and rebuilding our nation’s military. The bill authorizes $695.9 billion in national defense spending for both domestic and overseas contingency operations, including a 2.4% pay increase for our troops, increases in end strength for each of the Armed Forces, and robust support for facilities and equipment modernization.
Congressman Young speaking on the passage of the FY18 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (click here to watch).
“I’m happy to report to the Alaskan people that today we passed the National Defense Authorization Act; it was a good bill,” said Congressman Don Young. “It’s a bill that will train our troops, provide for our troops, give them raises, give them the equipment they need, and make sure the planes fly. Overall, it’s a good piece of legislation for the freedom of America. I’m very proud to be part of it and was happy to include a number of my amendments to the bill. One amendment would to authorize an addition of 28 ground-based interceptors – like those at Fort Greely. This is something Senator Sullivan and I have been working very hard on and we got it included in the House bill, which makes me very happy. We also have an authorization for icebreakers in the national defense bill. We believe this will allow the icebreakers to be built sooner than if the Coast Guard was operating on their own… I’m most proud of the fact that for the first time in eight years we’ll have the ability to ensure our troops are properly trained and properly provided with the equipment they need. I’m happy to report that we’ve been able to do this in a bipartisan way and it’s a very, very good bill. I feel much better today than I did yesterday about the security of this nation.”
The FY18 NDAA takes important steps to support our military men and women and their families, ensure our troops are trained and equipped, and restores military readiness. The bill outlines key national security policies, include efforts to combat ISIS, for the coming Fiscal Year. Congressman Young worked throughout the legislative process to include Alaska-focused priorities within the House-passed NDAA:
Advancing America's Missile Defense (Young Amendment):
- Authorizes an additional 28 Ground-Based Interceptors (GBIs)
- Accelerates the completion of an outstanding environmental impact statement (EIS) for an additional interceptor site on the East Coast and in the Midwest regions of the U.S.
- Requires a Department of Defense report on increasing the number of interceptions distributed across the U.S. to 100; includes specifics on their optimal locations and studies on the possibility of transportable GBIs.
- Promotes an integrated, layered ballistic missile defense system incorporating THAAD, Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense, Aegis Ashore, and Patriot Air and Missile Defense Systems.
- Accelerates the development and deployment of a space-based sensor layer, and advanced interceptor technologies.
Arctic Security Capability and Resources Gap (Young Amendment):
- Requires the Secretary of Defense to submit a report to Congress on DOD efforts to resolve Arctic security capability and resource gaps, and the requirements and investment plans for military infrastructure required to protect United States national security interests in the arctic region.
Additional language in the NDAA secured by Congressman Young:
- H.R.1816, the Icebreaker Act: Authorizes the U.S. Navy to partner with the U.S. Coast Guard to procure up to six new icebreakers – three medium-class and three heavy-class – which are desperately needed to ensure the nation’s security and maritime interests are protected in the Arctic.
- Modernization of JPARC to support Eielson F-35 Squadrons: Requires the Secretary of the Air Force to submit to the congressional defense committees a report regarding proposed improvements to the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex.
- Army’s Small Unit Support Vehicle (Report Language): Directs the Secretary of the Army to conduct a business case analysis (BCA) to determine whether the Army should develop or procure a replacement for the small unit support vehicle designated SUSV.
Additional Items of Interest Included in the FY17 NDAA:
- Military Pay Raises: The NDAA fully funds the 2.4% pay raise our troops are entitled to under law.
- F-35 Procurement: Authorizes full funding for the procurement of F-35A Fighters. This funding continues progress on stationing two squadrons of F-35’s at Eielson Air Force Base, and is critical to ensuring the on-time delivery of these aircraft to Interior Alaska.
- Strengthening Military Force Structure: The NDAA authorizes increasing the size of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Army Guard and Reserve, Naval and Air Reserve, and Air Guard.
- Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC): Includes a provision explicitly stating nothing in the NDAA should be construed as authorizing an additional round of BRAC. Alaska Congressman Young helped defeat an amendment to the NDAA that would have removed this provision.