Murkowski Supports Final Passage of Defense Authorization Measure: A Victory for Servicemembers and Military Families
Arctic Defense Gaps Take Center Stage in 2016 Defense Bill
Today U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski cast her vote in support of the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), protecting our homeland and supporting our troops and their families. The bill passed in a vote of 70-27, however, President Obama has threatened to veto the bill.
“This defense bill is one of the most important pieces of legislation Congress considers every year. And if the President signs it into law, this will be the 54th consecutive year that Congress and the administration have come together on a defense bill. Given the broad bipartisan support for this legislation, I would urge the President to reconsider his veto threat,” said Senator Murkowski. “Alaska knows the value and importance of our military better than any other. Actions speak louder than words. I’m happy that my Senate colleagues demonstrated that today. Our servicemembers and their families need our unqualified support and should not be made pawns in a larger agenda.”
The NDAA includes policies to support our troops, military retirees, and their families, including restrictions on Tricare co-pays, protection of the commissary benefit, and improved retirement options. It also authorizes the resources our military needs to combat threats around the world and in the future.
A key strategic goal of the Alaska congressional delegation this year is to ensure that real progress is made on protecting U.S. defense interests in the Arctic. The final bill includes provisions inserted by Senator Dan Sullivan requiring the Pentagon to clearly articulate its strategy for operating in the Arctic. It also requires an assessment of Russia’s force structure and capabilities in the Arctic.
The bill also authorizes the construction of a flight simulator building on Eielson Air Force Base in anticipation of the upcoming beddown of the Joint Strike Fighter in Interior Alaska. It also provides for improvements to Eielson’s utility infrastructure, finances the construction of a new running track at Fort Greeley, and encourages the Air Force to invite our ally Taiwan to participate in the annual Red Flag Alaska exercise at Eielson.