Defense Bill Passes Senate

Murkowski Supports Troop Pay Raise, Infrastructure Developments, and Heightened Arctic

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) voted in favor of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019, legislation which supports our troops through the biggest pay raise in nearly ten years and provides our military with the resources needed to face emerging threats and protect Americans at home and abroad. The bill passed in a 85-10 vote.

“It is imperative that we support our troops with the resources, equipment, and training they need to do their jobs and keep our nation safe. It is our constitutional duty to provide for common defense and a responsibility I do not take lightly. This bill not only sufficiently addresses the national challenges we face, but also provides the flexibility needed for our military to make targeted investments for the future,” said Senator Murkowski. “I am proud that this legislation supports our military members and their families, which includes giving those in uniform a financial boost through a long-overdue pay raise. I applaud my colleague, Senator Sullivan, and the members of Senate Armed Services Committee for their good work on this bill.” 

The bill supports $716 billion in Fiscal Year 2019 for national defense, authorizing a base budget of $639 billion for the Department of Defense (DOD) and national security programs within the Department of Energy and $69 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations.

Bill Highlights:

  • Authorizes a 2.6 percent pay raise for members of the Armed Forces, the largest pay raise for service members in nearly a decade.
  • Authorizes programs to more carefully manage opioid prescriptions.
  • Authorizes $9.9 billion for the Missile Defense Agency in support of programs vital to developing advanced technology, protecting forces in South Korea, and countering emerging threats. Also, requires the Missile Defense Agency to begin the development of a space-based ballistic missile interceptor.
  • Requires the service secretaries to establish and maintain multidisciplinary teams on child abuse and other domestic violence at military installations.
  • Authorizes $40 million in supplemental impact aid and $10 million in impact aid for severally disabled military children.

Alaska Interest Provisions:

  • Icebreakers: Authorizes the Coast Guard to contract for and construct six polar icebreakers, both heavy and medium class, and directs the Navy to submit a report on the equipment it would want to include on Coast Guard icebreakers. 
  • Fort Greely Missile Field: Works to accelerate construction and deployment of Missile Field #4 at Fort Greely, by including a sense of the Senate that the Missile Defense Agency should accelerate the fielding of the 20 ground-based interceptors with the Redesigned Kill Vehicle, following a successful operationally realistic flight test.
  • Spaceports: Encourages the DOD and Armed Services use of private spaceports already developed or under development in Alaska, as well as Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Virginia.
  • Climate: Requires the DOD to assess permafrost impacts on the department’s facilities, including in Alaska; Encourages the Army to ensure its ground vehicles are capable of operating in the Arctic region and similar cold weather terrain through testing vehicles in snow and ice.
  • Arctic Strategy: Urges the Secretary of Defense to designate a Deputy Assistant Secretary with primary responsibilities for the Arctic region, and also requires a report from the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force on their Arctic strategies.
  • Infrastructure: Establishes a Defense Community Infrastructure Program, which authorizes DOD grants to communities to address deficiencies in community infrastructure which support military bases through 2023.

Related Issues: Defense