9/14-Defense Funding Bill and WAFB

Blunt-Backed Defense Funding Bill Includes Military Pay Raise, Missouri & National Security Priorities
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, today highlighted the Missouri and national defense priorities included in the conference agreement for the defense appropriations bill for fiscal year 2019.

“Making sure our nation’s service members have the training and equipment they need to accomplish their missions is the Senate’s top responsibility,” said Blunt. “This bill includes key investments to ensure our military maintains its technological superiority in an increasingly complex and competitive national security environment. It also includes the largest service member pay increase in nearly a decade, helping to honor our nation’s heroes for their service. From Army end strength increases to important investments in Missouri’s military installations, this bill is good news for Missouri and the important role our state plays in defending the nation.”

Following are Key Blunt-Backed Missouri and National Defense Priorities Included in the Bill:

·         Military Pay Raise: The legislation provides a military pay raise of 2.6 percent, the largest increase for service members in nearly a decade.

·         End Strength Increases: The bill fully funds an active duty end strength of 1,338,100 and a reserve component end strength of 817,700, providing a total end strength increase of 16,400. The U.S. Army has called on Fort Leonard Wood to support basic combat training with previous end strength increases.

·         Whiteman Air Force Base: The measure provides full resources for the B-2 program and an additional $65 million in funding for the A-10 wing replacement. In addition, the bill provides research funding for the B-21, a next generation Air Force bomber that is currently under development.

·         Rosecrans Air National Guard Base: The legislation provides $159 million in additional funding for C-130 modernization, such as engines and propellers, to meet Air National Guard intra-theater airlift mobility requirements. Rosecrans Air National Guard Base is the nation’s premier Air Guard training center for Advanced Airlift Tactical Training.

·         Missouri National Guard: The measure includes an additional $156 million for the procurement of eight additional Black Hawk helicopters. Whiteman Air Force Base is home to the Missouri National Guard 1-135th Assault Helicopter Battalion.

·         Super Hornets: The legislation provides funding for 24 Super Hornets, which are manufactured in St. Louis, Mo., to meet the U.S. Navy’s tactical aviation shortfall. In addition, the bill provides multiyear procurement authority to enter into a contract to ensure the production line in St. Louis stays active for years to come.

·         Lake City Army Ammunition Plant: The measure includes nearly $57 million in additional funding for Army industrial facilities. Over the last three years, Blunt has secured $177 million in additional funding to provide critical support to modernize facilities like Lake City Army Ammunition Plant near Independence, Mo.

·         U.S. Navy MQ-25: The bill provides funding for the U.S. Navy MQ-25 program. Recently, the Navy announced Boeing was awarded the contract for the MQ-25, an unmanned aircraft that would embark on a carrier to conduct aerial refueling. Boeing subsequently announced that the MQ-25 will be built in St. Louis.

·         U.S. Air Force T-X Trainer: The legislation includes funding for the U.S. Air Force T-X trainer. The T-X trainer, which was designed in St. Louis and could be built there, is a two-seat trainer aircraft that would replace the decades-old T-38 trainer currently in use by the U.S. Air Force.

·         Research Investments: The measure provides research funding for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Department of Defense. This funding will support research and development initiatives at the University of Missouri, and among defense industry leaders across the state. The bill also provides increased funding to continue groundbreaking medical research, which will save lives, reduce disability, and decrease the economic burden of traumatic injury.

·         Impact Aid: The bill includes $50 million in additional funding for impact aid assistance to benefit Whiteman and Fort Leonard Wood area schools. Department of Defense Supplemental Impact Aid Assistance is critical to local school districts impacted by the presence of federally-owned land.