Congressman Jon Runyan (R-NJ) joined a majority of his colleagues of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) in voting to pass H.R. 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013. The NDAA authorizes policy and appropriations for the Department of Defense. Within the NDAA were a number of provisions that Congressman Runyan believed were critical priorities for our nation's military.
The NDAA authorizes Military Construction (MilCon) funding for additional infrastructure at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JB MDL). This includes $47 Million for a new active duty Army Flight Complex. The complex will provide the Army with a new high bay and low bay aircraft hanger, a fixed and rotary wing taxi way, landing pad lighting for both taxi ways, and other necessary support functions. This project builds on Congressman Runyan's continued efforts to improve aviation facilities at JB MDL. Last year he secured MilCon funding for a new flight complex for the New Jersey Army National Guard aviation units consolidation, which were being consolidated at the Joint Base.
The FY2013 NDAA also authorized $7.4 Million for the building of an Army Reserve automated infantry squad battle course on the grounds of JB MDL. This much needed project will ensure that Reserve forces have the best possible training.
Rep. Runyan also secured important additional MilCon funding for the Navy's Combat System Engineering Development Site (CSEDS) co-located at the Lockheed Martin Moorestown. This $33.498 Million project will enable Lockheed Martin and the Navy to conduct greatly improved systems testing in Moorestown.
"These construction projects are vital to ensuring the continued greatness of the United States military, our local defense industrial base, and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst," said Congressman Runyan. "The Joint Base is a vital piece of our local and regional economy and these projects will help ensure that the base continues to grow and have premier facilities to handle current and future missions. The unique partnership between the Third District's second largest employer and the United States Navy will be furthered improved by the new CSEDS facility in Moorestown."
Congressman Runyan also ensured the critical inclusion of pay parity language in the legislation that shows the Armed Services Committee's continued concern about wage grade parity at JB MDL and other joint base military installations. In the FY 2012 NDAA, Congressman Runyan worked to include similar language to work towards a fix for this inequity.
The Congressman was also honored to secure authorization for the establishment of a Gold Star Mothers National Monument in the area of Arlington National Cemetery. Gold Star Mothers are mothers who have made the ultimate sacrifice by losing a son or daughter in combat. The Gold Star Mother National Monument Foundation will pay all the costs associated with the construction of the monument.
"Wage grade parity has been an issue at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst since its creation," said Rep. Runyan. "The Joint Base has employees doing the same job, but being paid on different wage scales because the employees work on different sides of the base. Many of these wage grade employees are also veterans and I will continue to work to bring this issue to resolution. Gold Star mothers have already given the nation so much that it is important to honor their losses and this new Memorial is a fitting tribute."
FY 2013 NDAA also includes other provisions important to both Congressman Runyan and our nation's warfighters, including a 1.7% across the board pay raise for members of the uniformed services.
A strong opponent of the Base Realignment and Closure project, Congressman Runyan also supported an amendment from Rep. Rob Wittman (R-NJ) to oppose any additional Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round.