The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 6157, the Department of Defense (DoD) Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19). Alaska Congressman Don Young supported the legislation and issued the following statement after its passage:
“Supporting our men and women in uniform is one of my greatest responsibilities in Congress,” said Congressman Young. “Passing the FY19 DoD Appropriations bill today is important so we can restore our military readiness and invest in proper training, equipment and resources for our Armed Forces. This bill also secures funding to modernize our military and support our troops with the largest pay raise in nearly ten years. This legislation ensures stability in the Department’s funding so they can carry out their mission to defend and protect our nation.”
Congressman Young continued, “I am particularly pleased that this year’s bill invests and recognizes Alaska’s role in military operations. Of the many Alaska focused provisions, I secured funding for F-35 procurement as well as an investment in air operations training which is crucial for our preparedness. This bill provides continued funding for the Missile Defense Agency’s Long Range Discrimination Radar program and the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, which is primarily located at Fort Greely. This is crucial to protecting our nation from a foreign missile attack. Additionally, I cosponsored an amendment, which passed with strong bipartisan support, for the Fisher House Foundation which provides lodging and transportation for military and veterans’ families while their loved one is receiving related medical care – a mission that has served many Alaskans. I am proud to support this bill because both Alaska and our nation stand to benefit significantly from this.”
With broad bipartisan support, H.R. 6157 passed out of the House by a vote of 359-49. This bill provides $674.6 billion in total discretionary budget authority for the Department of Defense for FY19. The bill provides $606.5 billion for the Department of Defense base budget, which is an increase of $17.1 billion above FY18 levels, and $68.1 billion for the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account to support the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). This funding level is consistent with the National Defense Authorization Act as well as the recently enacted budget agreement.
Alaska Specific Victories:
- Air Force F-35A Procurement: Provides $4.95 billion for procurement of 56 F-35A Fighters.
- Air Operations Training: Provides $1.323 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 $164.5 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’s Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system: Provides $844.3 million, for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system, primarily located at Fort Greely, Alaska. With increasing intercontinental ballistic missile threats from North Korea and Iran, this system is critical to providing continuous capabilities to defend the Homeland.
- Indian Incentive Provision: Provides $25 million for incentive payments authorized by section 504 of the Indian Financing Act of 1974. The program has been tremendously successful in encouraging large and higher tier prime DOD contractors to subcontract portions of their DOD contract work to Native enterprises. As an economic multiplier, this program has strengthened the proficiency and competitiveness of Native firms, fostered workforce development opportunities in Native communities, and broadened our Nation’s industrial base into rural America. The incentive creates a win-win that stimulates and strengthens our industrial base and offers diversity which promotes innovation.
- Autism Spectrum Disorder: Provides $2.5 million for the Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA) to utilize new technologies and clinically tested curriculums to improve social skills and generate positive educational outcomes in students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
- National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program: Provides $180 million for the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program, a critical tool to educate and assist at risk youth.
- Defense Health and Military Family Programs: The bill contains a total of $34.4 billion – $34 billion for base requirements and $352 million for OCO/GWOT requirements for the Defense Health Program to provide care for our troops, military families, and retirees. It provides $364 million for cancer research, $125 million for traumatic brain injury and psychological health research, and $318 million for sexual assault prevention and response.
- Air Force F–35 Aircraft Spares: Provides $357.5 million for F–35 aircraft spare parts.
- Air Force F–22 Mission Critical Spares: Provides $53.7 million for F–22 mission critical spare parts.
- Civil Air Patrol: Provides $46.1 million for Civil Air Patrol (CAP). This includes $33.6 million for operations and maintenance, $10.8 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.
- Military Pay Raise: Fully funds a 2.6 percent pay raise for the military authorized in the National Defense Authorization Act.
- Fisher House Foundation: Provides $10 million for the program.