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National Defense Authorization Act passes the House: Bell, Pantex, and Sheppard benefit from legislation


The U.S. House of Representatives passed the conference report of the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by a vote of 356 to 70. The conference report will now be approved by the Senate and sent to the President for signature. This is the third NDAA under U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry's (R-Clarendon) chairmanship of the House Armed Services Committee.

“Over the last several years, we have seen an increase in threats and a decrease in funding for our military. This year's NDAA begins to rebuild our military and to ensure we can defend the American people,” Thornberry said. “It also supports our troops. Our servicemembers volunteer to risk their lives to protect us and our freedom. We owe them the best that our country can provide - the best equipment, in the best shape, with the best training."

The bill authorizes the full 2.4% pay raise for our troops. It repairs our ships, planes, and other equipment. And it improves our defense against missiles at a time of growing danger.

The NDAA also makes investments to support our military in confronting aggressions and threats around the world, including in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region, the Middle East, Europe, and Africa.

Key Highlights of the NDAA:

Increases the size of Army, Navy, Air Force, Army Guard and Reserve, Naval and Air Reserve, as well as Air Guard;

Adds $4.4 billion to meet critical missile defense needs, such as the growing threat from North Korea;

Permanently preserves special survivor indemnity allowance (SSIA) payments to more than 60,000 surviving military spouses;

Increases funding for military facilities to restore and maintain infrastructure;

Allows the Department of Defense (DOD) to buy commercial products through online, e-commerce sites;

Implements new oversight strategies as the DOD undergoes its first audit; and

Takes steps in reforming and improving our national security space programs to change the way we fight and win wars in space.

Local Highlights

Bell: The bill authorizes the Marine Corps to enter into a multiyear contract for up to 7 years to purchase V-22s, which can provide needed flexibility and production certainty.

Close to $2.9 billion is authorized for Bell’s V-22 Osprey and helicopter programs, including the procurement of 12 new Ospreys and 29 new H-1 helicopters.

Much of the work for those aircraft will be performed in Amarillo.

Pantex: The bill provides $10.37 billion in funding for nuclear weapons activities including the work done at Pantex, which is $138 million more than the Administration’s budget request. All life extension programs, including the W76-1 program currently underway at Pantex, are fully funded.

The bill includes $5.2 million to begin design and construction of the Pantex Material Staging Facility, which will dramatically improve operations and security at the plant.

To help with aging infrastructure, the bill establishes the Infrastructure Modernization Initiative with a goal of reducing the nuclear security enterprise’s backlog of deferred maintenance and repair needs by 30 percent by 2025.

An additional $150 million is included to help with this effort at Pantex and other facilities across the enterprise. Finally, the bill provides an increase of $28 million for defense nuclear security to ensure Pantex and other facilities maintain the highest level of security.

Sheppard Air Force Base: The NDAA authorizes funding for an increase in airmen and programs such as the training missions at Sheppard Air Force Base near Wichita Falls. It also includes language to tighten evaluation process of energy projects close to military installations to help ensure that bases and training ranges are not adversely impacted.

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