“I can think of no better way to say ‘thank you’ to our troops than by giving them a much deserved raise.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today voted for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA authorizes a total of $700 billion for our nation’s defense. This year’s NDAA includes key provisions like giving our troops a pay raise, protecting Fort Polk from closure, investing in Barksdale’s B-21 Long Range Strike Bomber program, and increasing our military forces.
“The brave men and women of our military make countless sacrifices to ensure that our country remains safe and secure. As such, we must make sure that they have the necessary tools available for them to not only manage today’s tasks, but to also be prepared for the challenges we may face tomorrow,” said Sen. Kennedy. “I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate to make sure the most crucial needs of Louisiana's armed service members and our nation’s military members are met.”
- Authorizes $700 billion for national security spending in Fiscal Year 2018, beginning Oct. 1. It authorizes $60 billion in strategic defense spending for the war on terrorism.
- Includes reforms to prevent waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement through mandatory audits.
- Authorizes $10.2 billion for military construction on military installations nationwide. Within that amount, $1.33 billion would be authorized for military family housing.
- Authorizes modernizing our nuclear forces and improves our missile defense systems.
Barksdale Air Force Base:
- NDAA includes $2 billion for the Air Force’s B-21 Long Range Strike Bomber, stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City.
- NDAA supports the Air Force Global Strike Commands’ strategy to enhance science, technology, innovation and collaboration through outreach to academic institutions and researchers.
- NDAA fully funds a 2.1% pay raise for our troops that will benefit the troops and their families who are stationed at Louisiana bases.
- NDAA increases our troop levels through the military branches, including a 5,000 troop increase for active duty Army, 4,000 increase for Navy, 1,000 increase for Marine Corps, 4,100 increase for Air Force, and a 3,700 troop increase for reservists across the Defense Department.
- These additional troops have the opportunity to train at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk.
- NDAA would prohibit another round of base closures that, in the past, have put Fort Polk at risk.
- $1.94 billion for 24 Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets produced by Boeing Co., 10 more than the administration requested.
Senator Kennedy’s Amendments Included in the NDAA:
Sen. Kennedy sponsored an amendment to help ensure our military members and their families are getting the commissaries benefit they rightfully deserve. Earlier this year, the Government Accountability Office made three recommendations to help improve the program including: the Department of Defense (DOD) address limitations identified in its savings rate methodology; develop a plan with objectives, goals, and timeframes to improve efficiency in product management; and conduct comprehensive cost-benefit analyses for service contracts and distribution options.
The goal of this amendment is to push DOD to save money from the commissary service by targeting waste and inefficiencies instead of reducing service or raising prices on military families. Our military has volunteered, sacrificed, and devoted their lives to serve and protect our country, and they deserve no less than the best. I care deeply about our state, and I will work to ensure that the most crucial needs of Louisiana's armed service members are met.
Sen. Kennedy also cosponsored an amendment to require the Army to conduct a report on the Army Combat Training Centers and current resident cyber capabilities and training. The purpose of this report is to find and correct potential training readiness shortfalls and ensure pre-rotational cyber training needs are met. This supports ongoing cyber initiatives in Shreveport-Bossier City and is an economic win for Louisiana.
After eight years of careless cuts to our national defense budget, we are finally recapitalizing and reinvesting in our national security force. This year’s NDAA begins to rebuild our military by improving our readiness, equipment modernization, and military dominance.