Murkowski Applauds Major National Security Bill Passing Senate
Increases Salaries for Troops, Invests in Military Modernization, Bolsters U.S. Presence in Arctic
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) today voted in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), legislation that authorizes $731.6 billion in national defense funding for Fiscal Year 2021. The bill authorizes funding for modernizing military technology, improving the livelihoods of troops and their families, and military construction—including in Alaska. The legislation includes Senator Murkowski’s Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (NELA), which aims to reestablish U.S. leadership in nuclear energy. The bill also includes portions of a bill introduced by Senators Murkowski and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) which authorizes a new regional Department of Defense (DoD) Center named the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies, which would be the first DoD Regional Center focused on the Arctic and to improve infrastructure and America’s leadership in the region. The bill passed by a vote of 86-14.
“As emerging conflicts and security challenges continue around the globe, it is important our military has the necessary equipment, personnel, and training to serve and protect, both domestically and abroad, while strengthening our alliances and partnerships around the world. The NDAA includes measures to improve the quality of life of our Armed Forces by including a pay raise for troops, providing new military construction, shoring up mental and behavioral health needs and ensuring we are retaining and recruiting talented military personnel from all walks of life,” said Senator Murkowski. “I’m proud this legislation authorizes the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies, a new DoD Center in Alaska. This center will aid in improving America’s national security, as well as improve our presence and understanding of the Arctic. Building on these efforts to strengthen America’s presence in the Arctic, the bill includes provisions that improve Arctic security, enhance communications infrastructure, procures Arctic equipment, and focuses our military and national security leadership of defense and strategies in the region. And of great benefit to Alaska, We authorized funding for important military construction projects in Alaska at Fort Greely, Fort Wainright, and Eielson Air Force Base. I thank Senator Sullivan for all his work on the Senate Armed Services Committee. I will continue to work in my role to ensure America’s military readiness and national security remain a top priority. On behalf of Alaska and the nation, we remain committed to ensuring our national security remains a top priority.”
- Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies: The bill includes key provisions from legislation introduced by Senators Murkowski and Sullivan creating a new Department of Defense (DoD) Regional Center focused on the Arctic, specifically Alaska, named in honor of the late U.S. Senator Ted Stevens. If enacted, the Ted Stevens Arctic Center for Security Studies would be the first DoD Regional Center in the Arctic. The centers aim to support defense strategy objectives and policy priorities through a unique academic forum and to foster strong international networks of security leaders.
- Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (NELA): The bill includes Senator Murkowski’s Nuclear Energy Leadership Act, which aims to reestablish U.S. leadership in nuclear energy. The bill focuses the Department of Energy on demonstrating advanced reactor concepts, providing fuel for initial advanced nuclear reactors, and developing the nuclear energy workforce. The advanced reactors supported by NELA have potential to provide clean, safe, and affordable energy.
- Military Construction: Includes $193M for projects and improvements, nationwide.
- Fort Greely Communications Center: Authorizes the construction of a $48 million Communications Center in support of the critical missile defense assets at Fort Greely to house mission communication equipment.
- Fort Wainwright Unaccompanied Enlisted Personnel Housing: Authorizes a $59 million Army unfunded priority for a dorm-style barracks at Fort Wainwright.
- Fort Wainwright Child Development Center: Authorizes a $55 million Army unfunded priority for a Child Development Center at Fort Wainwright.
- Arctic Security Initiative: The bill includes a provision that Senator Murkowski helped secure, the Arctic Security Initiative, which would provide direct enhancement to the Department of Defense’s posture in the Arctic. This initiative would allow the Department of Defense to reaffirm its commitments in the Arctic by funding necessary requirements to effectively engage in the North American and European Arctic.
- Kodiak Launch Site and Aleutian Islands Test Range: This provision recognizes and encourages the use of launch and range complexes, like the Pacific Spaceport Complex – Alaska, for long-range hypersonic flight tests and national security space launch priorities and recognizes the importance of developing new launch and range complexes, like the Aleutian Test Range.
- Strategic Arctic Port Construction Plan: The bill authorizes the construction of a Strategic Arctic Port to meet the requirements of national security needs to defend the United States and allow the U.S. to remain an active voice in the competition for Arctic control.
- Permafrost Studies: Directs the Secretary of Defense to complete a study on the impact of a warming climate, creating changes in the Arctic, such as permafrost in areas that possess critical infrastructure vital to national defense.
- Arctic Communications: Authorizes $46 million to establish more robust communications in the Arctic to support an initial satellite capability for the region.
- North Warning System: The North Warning System is a series of long– and short–range radar stations which provide observation and surveillance capability for cruise missiles. The bill directs the Secretary of Defense to develop a report on the status of the North Warning System infrastructure and to create a plan to modernize the system.
- Collaboration in the Arctic: The legislation encourages the Department of Defense to improve communication efforts among U.S. government agencies serving in the Arctic to help address the emerging power struggle in the region, as well as to create an interagency task force.
- Pay Raise for Troops: Includes a 3% pay raise for troops.
- Suicide Prevention Initiative: The bill includes several provisions to address the disproportionate rates of suicide among the military community, including requiring the Comptroller General to conduct a study, within one year, of Federal, State, and private mental health services offered to members of the reserve components of the armed forces to determine what services are offered, what barriers are present for members, and offer recommendations to strengthen mental health services.
- Native American lands environmental mitigation program: a program to mitigate the environmental effects of actions by the Department of Defense on Indian lands and culturally connected locations. The term ‘culturally connected location’ means a location or place that has demonstrable significance to Indians or Alaska Natives based on its association with the traditional beliefs, customs, and practices of a living community, including locations or places where religious, ceremonial, subsistence, medicinal, economic, or other lifeways practices have historically taken place.