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Congressman Don Young Stands Up for Servicemembers: Helps House Pass FY 2022 National Defense Authorization Act with Critical Alaska Provisions

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last night, with the support of Alaska Congressman Don Young, the House of Representatives passed S. 1605, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022 – legislation to set the annual budget for the Department of Defense (DoD). This bill authorizes needed funding for military expenditures, provides a 2.7% military pay raise, and enhances America’s global shared security commitments. This legislation also includes several Alaskan Community Project Funding requests that Congressman Young pushed for inclusion in the final bill.

After House passage of the NDAA, Congressman Young issued the following statement:

"Every year, Congress passes the NDAA to authorize national defense spending for domestic and overseas operations. This year's bill is an important one, and I am very proud of what my House colleagues accomplished on behalf of our military. This measure takes critical steps to strengthen our national defense, provide a well-deserved pay raise for the brave men and women serving in our Armed Forces, and equip our troops with the necessary resources to keep our country safe.

I will always be an unwavering advocate for our troops; they must have access to the equipment and training they need to do their jobs. Earlier this year, President Biden's botched withdrawal from Afghanistan shined a light on the importance of providing our troops with resources to help prevent devastating outcomes in the future. Congress must continue to be allies to those wearing the uniform, and that is what we did in this year's NDAA.

In Congress, relationships are crucial; this year, I successfully worked with my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee to include my Community Project Funding requests in the final bill. These requests, sometimes referred to as 'earmarks,' will help Alaska combat active-duty suicides, modernize our Permafrost Research Station near Fairbanks, and help fund an Alaska-developed Tactically Responsive Deployable Spaceport. I am also pleased that following my efforts and the advocacy of my colleagues, harmful anti-Second Amendment provisions were removed from the NDAA before passage. I would not have supported final passage of an NDAA that threatened the basic rights of men and women we trust to defend this great nation. Thankfully, we did not get to that point.

This is a good bill, and I am proud to see such broad bipartisan support for our nation's military. My commitment will always be to the men and women who risk their lives to keep us safe. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to do right by our troops and keep our country secure and prosperous."

Initiatives Successfully Secured by Congressman Young:

• Combat Rescue Aircraft: Congressman Young successfully fought on the House Floor for his inclusion of an amendment requiring the Air Force to develop a strategy for the acquisition of combat rescue aircraft aligning with the National Defense Strategy, including in the Arctic. This will help rescue forces, like Alaska’s 212th Rescue Squadron, modernize and expand their rescue capabilities. Alaska’s 212th Rescue Squadron is the busiest rescue force within the DoD.

• JBER Runway: The FY 2022 NDAA authorizes $79 million in MILCON funding for JBER’s runway extension, which was included following advocacy by Congressman Young.

• Hmong Veterans: Congressman Young cosponsored a successful amendment that expands eligibility for burial in U.S. national cemeteries for Hmong and Lao veterans who fought alongside U.S. servicemembers in the Vietnam War.

• Basic Needs Allowance: Congressman Young has long championed a Military Basic Needs Allowance (BNA) for servicemembers stationed in areas with high cost of living. The NDAA authorizes the Secretary of Defense to issue a BNA to qualified servicemembers. It also requires the Secretary to conduct a study on military food insecurity.

• Pay Parity: Congressman Young is a cosponsor of the National Guard and Reserve Incentive Pay Parity Act, which was included in the final bill. This initiative requires the military to provide Reserve and National Guard servicemembers incentive and special duty pay at the same rate as their active-duty counterparts.

Other Notable Initiatives

• Arctic Security: The NDAA includes a provision requiring an assessment of the resources, posture, and activities needed to meet U.S. defense policy objectives in the Arctic. Additionally, the provision permits the Secretary of Defense to plan for and establish an Arctic Security Initiative to further the military’s goals in the region.

• PFAS Remediation: The bill requires the DoD to report on the status of PFAS cleanup efforts at 50 contaminated sites across the country, including at Eielson Air Force Base and Galena Air Force Base.

    • $44.85 million is included to remove PFAS-contaminated soil at Eielson AFB.

Community Funding Requests Successfully Secured by Congressman Young:

• Suicide Prevention: The FY 2022 NDAA authorizes $2 million for the University of Alaska to conduct research to promote resilience and reduce suicide in active and active reserve military service members on rural, remote, and isolated installations.

• Permafrost Research Station: The NDAA authorizes $3 million to help complete the final phase of a multi-year modernization of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Permafrost Research Station, located near Fairbanks, Alaska.

• Aerospace: The bill authorizes $4 million continue the United States Space Force Rocket Systems Launch Program’s ongoing SRP-4 contract for enhanced flight and logistic planning.

• Spaceport: Additionally, the FY 2022 NDAA authorizes $7 million for a Tactically Responsive Launch/Deployable Spaceport to be developed in Alaska.

• Alaska National Guard: The legislation authorizes $5 million for the Alaska National Guard to plan and design a National Guard Readiness Center in Camp Carroll on Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson (JBER).

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