KINY: Legislation filed to support, improve quality of life for military serving in Alaska
U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan have introduced the Don Young Arctic Warrior Act.
In a press release, the senators state the legislation would alleviate the hardships faced by service members in Alaska.
Sullivan also offered the legislation as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for the fiscal year 2023, which will be considered next week in the Senate Armed Services Committee.
In addition to proficiency pay and allowances for basic necessities, the bill increases the Department of Defense’s ability to address the shortfall of behavioral health providers by establishing a graduate program in counseling and social work at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.
The bill also provides for scholarships and retention bonuses for those serving in the behavioral health field.
“Since coming to the Senate, ensuring Alaska's service members and their families are properly cared for has remained one of my highest priorities,” Sen. Sullivan said. “Alaska is home to thousands of military service members and more veterans per capita than any other state. The Don Young Arctic Warrior Act, which Senator Murkowski and I are introducing today—our late great congressman’s birthday—is the result of dozens of hours spent listening to soldiers and their families throughout our state, most recently alongside Congresswoman Speier, chair of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel, who I want to thank again for her focus on Alaska military personnel and their families. It's no secret that training and living in the Arctic can at times present challenges relative to other duty stations. As a Marine, I have witnessed firsthand the training and toughness required of our military in Alaska. Our legislation aims to provide better access to the resources and support Alaska's service members and their families deserve in order to thrive in our unique environment.”
The Don Young Arctic Warrior Act provisions focus on Arctic pay, a basic allowance for internet access, free flight home, military family life counseling, retention bonuses, and a weapons safe storage pilot program.