Defense Bill Fully Funds Military Operations In Alaska

Appropriations Committee Approves Defense Spending, JPARC Support

WASHINGTON, DC – The Senate Appropriations Committee today passed a $630.6 billion defense appropriations bill that fully funds military operations in Alaska and America’s ongoing overseas contingency operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to Senator Lisa Murkowski – a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee and the Appropriations Committee. The bill also includes a 1.6% across the board pay raise for military personnel.

“I am proud that we were able to support our troops both on American soil and around the world while supporting our shared goal of rethinking funding levels across the board,” Murkowski said.  “America’s troops deserve to know that their service is going to be rewarded, but with the same discipline that they exhibit in their day-to-day work.”

Although the bill contains no earmarks in accordance with the agreed-upon earmark moratorium, in a number of cases the Senate Appropriations Committee exercised its authority to increase and reduce appropriations proposed by the administration. For example:

The committee added $15 million in funding for Joint Training Ranges, as requested by Senator Murkowski.   Alaska is proud to host the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex (JPARC), one of the Nation’s premier training ranges. These additional funds can be used to keep the range state-of-the-art.

The Appropriations Committee added $50 million to fund state activities under the National Guard Counterdrug Program, as requested by Senator Murkowski.  The committee also proposed increased funding for the Civil Air Patrol and the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program, operated in Alaska by the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. It has also added $500 million in funding to the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account which can be drawn upon by the Alaska Army National Guard and Air National Guard to fund critical equipment requirements.

The Senate Appropriations Committee has fully funded the President’s FY 2012 request for Innovative Readiness Training (IRT). Alaska has benefited in recent years from the Department of Defense IRT program which deploy servicemembers to remote communities whose conditions resemble those of foreign countries to which they may be sent in the future. This program supports projects like Operation Arctic Care through which military health providers deliver medical, dental and veterinary care in remote Alaska villages.   Other IRT projects have contributed military support to building a road in Metlakatla, as well as assisting residents of Newtok in relocating to Metarvik.

The bill now goes to the Senate floor for consideration.