Legislation Authorizes $885 million in Funding for Georgia Military Construction Projects, Includes Pay Raise for Military Personnel
U.S. Senators Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., this week praised the Senate's approval of the 2009 National Defense Authorization Act, an annual bill that authorizes funding for our servicemen and women and their families, critical military construction projects at Georgia bases as well as Georgia-made weapons systems. The bill was approved by the Senate this past weekend and now goes to the President for his signature.
"Our nation has an obligation to our servicemen and women who make tremendous sacrifices every day for freedom and democracy," said Chambliss. "They deserve our fullest support and we must make sure they are fully-equipped and well-prepared to carry out their duties. The provisions included in this year's bill address critical quality of life issues for our military men and women and their families who make daily sacrifices for our national security. Additionally, I'm pleased that my provision to address the privatized housing issues at Moody Air Force Base was included in this bill."
"Georgia is a big winner in this Defense Authorization bill, thanks in large part to the work of Senator Chambliss on the Committee," said Isakson, who serves on the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs. "This legislation sets the priorities for our nation's military needs, and I am proud of the strong commitment it shows to Georgia."
Specifically, the bill authorizes $542.5 billion for the base budget and $68 billion in war-related costs, for a combined total of $611.1 billion for the Department of Defense and national-security related programs in the Department of Energy. It provides a 3.9 percent pay raise for all military personnel across the board, a half percent more than the President's budget request, and a total of $115 billion for military personnel, including costs of pay, allowances, bonuses, death benefits, and permanent change-of-station moves. It also reauthorizes over 25 types of bonuses and special pays aimed at encouraging enlistment, reenlistment, and continued service by active-duty and reserve military personnel.
The bill authorizes $24.4 billion for the Defense Health Program, which includes the $1.2 billion necessary to cover TRICARE fees, and adds $13.7 million for recovery operations in North Korea for American POW/MIAs. The Committee did not adopt an increase to TRICARE beneficiary cost shares and pharmacy co-pays.
The bill includes a Sense of Congress suggesting that the existing basic science and translational research on traumatic brain injury include pilot programs designed to test the efficacy of clinical approaches, including the use of pharmacological agents. This will allow for drugs such as progesterone, on which Emory University has performed research, to be tested for potential uses in treating traumatic brain injury. The bill also urges continued studies of the efficacy of pharmacological agents for treatment of traumatic brain injury and supports continued joint research with the National Institutes of Health in this area.
The bill further authorizes the addition of 7,000 soldiers and 5,000 Marines and an increase of 2,110 full time support personnel for the National Guard above the President's budget request. The bill further allows the promotions of National Guard and Reserve officers selected for a vacancy promotion who are ordered to active duty in support of a contingency operation.
In order to improve quality of life, the bill authorizes the Secretary of Defense to establish support programs, including tuition assistance, for active duty service members' spouses who are pursuing education and training required for a degree or professional licensure in order to improve their career opportunities.
Additionally, the bill provides $55 million in supplemental impact aid for schools, an increase in $10 million over 2008 authorized levels.
Senator Chambliss authored the following provisions included in the bill:
* A provision mandating improved oversight, reporting, bonding levels, and best practices for DoD housing privatization projects. This provision, based on a bill filed by Chambliss and Senator Mark Pryor, D-Ark., is in response to failed housing privatization projects at Moody and Little Rock Air Force Bases and aims to require more stringent oversight of these projects to ensure that similar situations never occur again.
* A provision requiring DoD to report to Congress on the feasibility of establishing a database containing civilian skills of Guard and Reserve personnel that are relevant to military manpower requirements, as well as the feasibility of DoD establishing a system that provides private employers visibility into the relevant civilians skills of Guard and Reserve members who are re-deploying that could be used to match these personnel with jobs in the private sector.
The bill also includes the following Georgia specific funding:
* $2.9 billion for 20 F-22A's
* $1.5 billion for seven AF Joint Strike Fighters
* $508 million for six MC/HC-130J's
* $429 million for C-5 modernization
* $1.4 billion for six Navy Joint Strike Fighters
* $120 million for two KC-130J's
* $264 million for seven Joint Cargo Aircraft for the Army
* $925 million for 63 UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopters for the Army
* $81 million (R&D) and $30.7 million (Procurement) for JSTARS
* $523M for long lead procurement for an additional 20 F-22's in FY10
* $5 million for Advanced Surface to Air Missile Hardware Simulator Development conducted by the Georgia Institute of Technology
* $3.5 million for Range Element Network Enterprise Technology to benefit the Georgia National Guard
* $2.0 million for Composite Tissue Transplantation for Combat Wound Repair to be performed by Emory University
* $2.0 million for the Nanotechnology Manufacturing Center in Swainsboro, Ga.
* $2.0 million for Combat Arms Training Systems manufactured by Meggitt Training Systems in Suwanee, Ga.
* $4 million for the C-130 Large Aircraft Countermeasures (LAIRCM) System which will benefit National Guard and Reserve C-130 units in Georgia
* An additional $20 million in the Joint STARS budget to perform research and development related to integrating the MP-RTIP radar on a large aircraft, such as Joint STARS.
* $2.0 million for Morehouse College Hopps Defense Research Scholars Program
* $884.92 million in new military construction funding for Georgia, plus an additional $300M in BRAC and War-related military construction funding
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