Young: “Ensures that our Nation’s Military has the Resources, Personnel and Equipment Necessary to Defend our National Interests”
Washington, D.C. – Moving ahead in the annual appropriations process, Alaska Congressman Don Young and the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5293, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017, by a vote of 282 to 138. The legislation provides $517.1 billion in discretionary funding and $58.6 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations to support military operations and readiness programs, base operations, health and quality-of-life programs and a 2.1 percent pay raise for our troops.
“Simply put, this legislation ensures that our nation’s military has the resources, personnel and equipment necessary to defend our national interests at home and abroad,” said Congressman Don Young. “Importantly, it makes necessary changes to restore the size of the Army – permanently eliminating cuts facing JBER’s 4-25, provides a much deserved pay increase for our men and women in uniform, and fully funds the acquisition of the Air Force’s F-35A fighter jets, which soon will call Eielson Air Force Base home. The FY 2017 Defense Appropriations Act also includes efforts I’ve been working on for many years to increase awareness for both Alaska’s role in the Arctic and the threats our nation faces in the region. It is clear that this effort was successful with the inclusion of a provision that emphasizes our nation’s concern for Russian aggression in the Arctic, which urges the Secretary of Defense to counter aggression and make maritime security for the Arctic a top priority. With five major military installations in Alaska, all of which serve critical missions for our nation, it’s extremely important we provide our brave men and women the necessary funding to support readiness, new infrastructure, and equipment recapitalization and modernization.”
Alaska specific provisions requested by Congressman Young and included in the House-passed legislation:
- Air Force F-35A Procurement: Provides $5.158 billion for procurement of the F-35A Fighter, $350 million more than the President’s request. The F-35A is one of top three acquisition priorities for the Air Force, and this procurement request includes funding for critical flight and flight integration testing.
- Air Operations Training: Provides $1.73 billion for Air Operations Training. Air Operations Training consists of fighter lead-in training, combat mission and advanced tactical training for aircrew, and missile launch training for ballistic missile crews. It also supports 21 air-to-ground ranges, including the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, and air-to-air training operations and combat training exercises, including the annual RED FLAG-Alaska exercises held at Eielson AFB.
- Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) RDT&E: Provides $160 million for the continued research, development, testing, and evaluation for the LRDR. The LRDR is a midcourse tracking radar that will provide persistent sensor coverage and improve discrimination capabilities against threats to the homeland from the Pacific theater. It will also optimize the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) interceptor inventory, and address evolving threats.
- Missile Defense Agency Operations & Maintenance (O&M): Provides $441 million for MDA operations and maintenance, critical to ensuring the MDA continues to operate at full efficiency. This language also includes funding for the MDA’s Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, primarily located at Fort Greely, Alaska. With increasing intercontinental ballistic missile threats from North Korea and Iran, it is critical that we fully fund this critical system’s operations.
- Defense Health Program: Provides $34 billion for the Defense Health Program, including $120 million for peer-reviewed breast cancer research, $90 million for prostate cancer research, $20 million for ovarian cancer research, and $5 million for tuberous sclerosis complex research.
- Civil Military Programs: Provides $195 million for Civil Military Programs—an increase of $35 million from the President’s budget request. One of these programs is the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program, a critical tool to educate and assist at risk youth. Other programs include the Innovative Readiness Training Program, which contributes directly to military readiness and provides realistic training in a joint environment for National Guard, Reserve, and Active Duty members – preparing them to serve during a national crisis at home or abroad.
- Civil Air Patrol: Provides a total of 40 million for Civil Air Patrol (CAP).This provision includes $28 million for operations and maintenance, $10.3 million for the procurement of mission support aircraft, and $1.7 million for the procurement of other vehicles. CAP consists of unpaid professionals who annually contribute more than $153 million in volunteer service. The program provides emergency response support to the Air Force, DoD, and FEMA in thousands of communities across all 50 states.
- Department of Defense Impact Aid: Includes $30 million for DoD Impact Aid, a program separate from the Department of Education’s Impact Aid, used specifically for military-connected school districts.