Major Defense Bill Heading to President
Murkowski: “Our National Security Must Always Remain a Top Priority”
Today U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) cast her vote in support of the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), legislation designed to keep our nation safe from enemies and provide support for our troops and their families. The bill passed in a vote of 92-7 and now heads to the President’s desk.
“With the countless threats facing our nation from all corners of the globe, this is one of the most crucial pieces of legislation for Congress to pass. Our national security must always remain a top priority, and we need to ensure that our military men and women have the tools and resources they need to defend our nation.
“I am proud that the NDAA increases Army and Air Force strength, contains the biggest troop pay increase in over five years, and recognizes the strategic importance of Alaska. I am pleased that we successfully protected the Basic Allowance for Housing that our servicemembers and their families rely on. The men and women in uniform need our unequivocal support.
“The breadth of this bill is proof positive of what we can accomplish with a united delegation. I applaud Senator Sullivan and Congressman Young for their tireless efforts to ensure Alaska remains in the forefront as defense decisions are made.”
Alaska Provisions in the Bill:
Basic Allowance for Housing: Senator Murkowski played a leading role in protecting the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) paid to active duty military. Previous versions of the bill contained significant cuts and sweeping changes to the BAH, which Murkowski adamantly opposed.
Davis Park: The bill contains a provision of Senator Murkowski’s which allows the Air Force to renew the existing rent free leases for Davis Park and Lions Park in Anchorage for 25 years, enabling the two parcels of military land to be preserved as open space for the mutual benefit of military families and the broader community.
HAARP: Authorizes transfer of the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) site to the University of Alaska Fairbanks and land not used for actual HAARP operations to Ahtna, Inc. Senator Murkowski began working with the Defense Department in 2014 to save HAARP from demolition and Senator Sullivan and Congressman Young were instrumental in obtaining the legislation authorizing the transfer.
Arctic Strategic Port Designation: Includes an amendment of Senator Dan Sullivan’s (R-AK) which requires the Secretary of Defense – in coordination with the Coast Guard and other relevant federal agencies – to create the designation and associated criteria for a “Strategic Arctic Port” and submit a plan, within two years, to begin the process of designating and developing the infrastructure needed.
Missile Defense Defend and Deter Act: Includes a provision of Senator Sullivan’s that mandates the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) conduct a flight test at least once per year to show Americans—and, more importantly, rogue nations like North Korea—that we have a missile defense system that will protect our nation from the irrational threats and actions of North Korea.
Galena Land Transfer: Following the devastating 2013 floods in Galena, this bill includes an amendment of Congressman Young’s which transfers 1,300 acres, the former Campion Air Force Station, to the community for expansion.
Rural Guard and Reserve Act: Includes the Rural Guard and Reserve Act, a bill introduced by Congressman Young to increase rural participation and remove cost-prohibitive factors in the National Guard and Reserves.