Murkowski: Defense Bill Highlights Alaska’s Key Military Role
Final Bill Passes, with Senator’s C-23 Amendment, Military Construction Boosts and Sexual Assault Protections
Senator Lisa Murkowski tonight voted in favor of the HR 3304 the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act to give military members a one percent raise and enact certain policies for the upcoming year – including her amendment making 8 C-23 aircraft available to the State of Alaska. The bill, which passed overwhelmingly 84-15, also contains numerous provisions that underscore Alaska’s prominence for the military, given the Pentagon’s focus on the Asia-Pacific region – as well as including dozens of directives that will protect sexual assault victims in the military. It now heads to the White House for the President’s signature.
“Nearly 80 years ago, General Billy Mitchell said that Alaska is the most strategic location in the world, and the 21st century is proving him a true visionary,” said Murkowski. “With emerging threats in the Pacific region, Alaska lies at the frontlines of a new era in national defense and it is encouraging that the Department of Defense is investing in our ground-based missile defense, Alaska’s military footprint and also providing eight valuable aircraft to our state for emergency responses like the Galena flood or the storms we’ve recently seen in Western Alaska.”
Alaska-specific items in the NDAA bill include:
- Murkowski’s amendment requiring the U.S. Army to offer title to eight specific C-23 Sherpa aircraft, pre-selected by the State of Alaska to Governor Parnell free of charge in early 2014.
- $202 million in military construction for projects and maintenance throughout Alaska:
- $82 million for an electrical/mechanical building on Missile Field #1 at Fort Greely.
- $17.2 million to upgrade early warning radars at Clear Air Force Station.
- $103 million to upgrade aviation (helicopter) facilities at Fort Wainwright.
Nationwide provisions with Alaskan impacts:
- A one percent pay increase for all military members.
- Three dozen provisions to improve protection for victims of sexual assault and military sexual trauma – an effort Murkowski advocated through several pieces of legislation– including:
- No longer permitting military commanders to dismiss a finding by a court martial or reduce guilty findings.
- Establishing minimum sentencing standards for those found guilty of sexual assault.
- Providing Special Victims’ Counsel to victims of sexual assault.
- A nationwide one-year moratorium for base realignment and closure efforts – after Murkowski warned that the military was making these decisions on economic reasons rather than strategic ones.