Defense Bill Containing Key Alaska Benefits Passes Senate
Murkowski’s Work to Support Alaska’s Military Community, Boost the Nation’s Defense Heads to President’s Desk
Senator Lisa Murkowski today proudly cast her vote for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that funds America’s military for the upcoming year and contains a wide array of key Alaskan priorities she worked with Congressional leadership to advance. The NDAA passed the Senate 89-11 and will head to the President’s desk for a signature.
“The provisions in the NDAA for Alaska show the importance of our state to the nation’s defense – both current and long-term,” said Murkowski. “I’m pleased that Congress passed this bill on a bipartisan basis and sent it to the President’s desk for the 54th straight year.”
Among the results for Alaska:
- $40 Million – and Certainty – for Missile Defense in Alaska: With the momentum of June’s successful interceptor test, the bill contains $40 million for improvements and expansions to the missile defense system at Fort Greely. Of similar importance, the NDAA also blocks funding for consideration of an East Coast missile site – demonstrating the Pentagon’s focus on Alaska’s capacity rather than envisioning alternatives elsewhere.
(Murkowski questions MDA Director about missile test prior to June success.)
- Long Range Discrimination Radar Project Gets Green Light: A priority the Missile Defense Agency described as ‘absolutely vital’ to Senator Murkowski in June, this year’s NDAA authorizes funding to begin design of a missile defense radar that will be built within Alaska – with a construction timeframe of roughly five years.
(Murkowski stresses need for Long Range Discrimination Radar in Alaska.)
- Affirming Eielson’s F-35s: The NDAA’s ‘explanatory report’ that details the reasoning behind the bill’s provisions clearly states that Eielson Air Force Base is the preferred location for two squadrons of F-35s and delivers full funding to keep the goal of 2019 aircraft basing on track. Congressman Don Young successfully included language in the House to express Congress’ support for stationing the F-35 at Eielson AFB.
- Additional Considerations for Eielson AFB: The Defense authorization bill requires the United States Air Force to conduct an analysis of the merits of having additional KC-135 refueling aircraft at Eielson that would require more Air Force personnel to man and maintain, where this is currently only an Alaska Air National Guard operation. The language, which the Alaska National Guard considered their top priority for FY2015, was included by Congressman Young as an amendment in the House.
- Nome Land Transfer: The NDAA also transfers 7 acres of land in Nome near the Port from the U.S. Air Force to the City of Nome in order to expand possible economic development opportunities.