WASHINGTON-President Donald Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (NDAA) into law today. This is the fourth NDAA signed into law under U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry’s (R-Clarendon) chairmanship of the House Armed Services Committee and the 58th year that a NDAA has been signed into law.
“We have begun to reverse the disastrous cuts of recent years. This year’s NDAA continues to rebuild and repair our military and to prepare for the security challenges to come," Thornberry said. “The President has consistently supported our military. They deserve the best equipment, training, and support our country can provide.”
The NDAA authorizes $717 billion in spending for defense needs, including significant increases for readiness recovery, and it provides a 2.6 percent pay raise for our troops, the highest increase in nine years. It also extends special pay and bonuses for servicemembers in high-demand fields.
Thornberry also said, “This bill continues to reform the Pentagon to make sure that the tax payers are getting the most for their money. These reforms also help to speed up decision-making, so our warfighters get what they need faster."
Key Highlights of the NDAA:
- Authorizes $17.7 billion to begin to rehabilitate and replace worn our Army equipment, $40.8 billion to begin address the military aviation crisis, $36.3 billion to restore our at sea strength, and $23.5 billion to rebuild military buildings and infrastructure;
- Funds the growth in endstrength of Army, Navy, Air Force, Naval and Air Reserve, and Air Guard as requested;
- Increases funding for training in each service;
- Charges the Chief Management Officer (CMO) with finding efficiencies and reducing 25 percent of the cost of certain Department-wide activities, enhancing accountability;
- Provides $21.8 billion for equipment maintenance and $3.7 billion for spare parts;
- Adds funding to improve America's missile defense;
- Makes key investments in other critical military capabilities to confront aggression and address threats around the world, including threats from Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran; and
- Places emphasis on policy and programs to advance America's security against emerging threats - Artificial intelligence, space and counter-space capabilities, cyber, influence operations, hypersonics, among others.
Sheppard Air Force Base:The NDAA authorizes funding for an increase in endstrength of the Air Force and increases funding for flying hours by $17.8 million, which will allow for more time in the air for our pilots. It includes an additional $5 million to help accelerate technology development required to mitigate physiological episodes and $2.8 billion for the procurement of spare airplane parts for the Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force. It also includes language to address the ongoing pilot shortage, which is hampering readiness in every service. In an effort to address the persistent pilot shortage, the bill requires the Air Force to evaluate all pilot staff requirements to maximize pilots’ time in the cockpit. Highest European Deterrence Initiative (EDI) funding ever to help strengthen NATO partnerships.
Pantex:The bill provides $11.2 billion in funding for nuclear weapons activities, including the work done at Pantex, which is $176 million more than the Administration’s budget request. All life extension programs, including the W76-1 program currently underway at Pantex and the lower-yield W76-2 warhead program that will soon be initiated, are fully funded. The bill includes $24 million to continue design activities for the Pantex Material Staging Facility, which will dramatically improve operations and security at the plant. To help with aging infrastructure and security needs at Pantex and other facilities across the enterprise, the bill provides an additional $118 million above the budget request. The bill also includes a provision and funding to accelerate two key nuclear modernization programs and their associated warhead programs: the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent and the Long-Range Standoff cruise missile.
Bell:Approximately $2.5 billion is authorized for Bell’s V-22 Osprey, H-1, and other programs, including the procurement of 7 new Ospreys and 25 new H-1 helicopters. Much of the work for those aircraft will be performed in Amarillo.Full funding was again authorized for research and development, including the technology demonstrator, in the Joint Multi-Role Program as part of the Army's Future Vertical Lift. Bell's V-280 Valor is a part of that program.