Congressman Rick Berg today announced the passage of H.R. 5856, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for 2013. This legislation includes several important provisions for North Dakota, including an amendment that Berg introduced on the House Floor that will help protect weaponry operated out of the Minot Air Force Base.
"Supporting the brave men and women who comprise our Armed Forces is absolutely critical, and it is the foundation of this year's Department of Defense Appropriations," stated Berg. "We must ensure that our soldiers stay safe, while also succeeding in their missions to defend our freedom. This funding is good for our military and good for North Dakota, and I am proud to support it."
Berg offered an amendment to protect the nation's Nuclear Triad from drastic cuts under the New START treaty, including the Minutemen III intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) maintained and operated out of Minot Air Force Base. The 91st Missile Wing composes one of three remaining Air Force wings operating these ICBMs. The amendment passed the House by a vote of 232 to 183.
H.R. 5856 provides $519.2 billion for the Defense Department and $88.5 billion for the war in Afghanistan and other international counterterrorist missions. It also includes several important policy provisions such as a 1.7 percent pay increase for military personnel, a prohibition of the transfer of terrorist detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to the United States, and funding to preserve the Global Hawks unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).
This bill also provides critical support for North Dakota's armed forces by prohibiting the retirement of aircraft used by the Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve units. This includes the C-27J used by the North Dakota Air National Guard.
Berg was instrumental in protecting the C-27J missionearlier this year as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for the Fargo Air National Guard. That bill helped inform the funding priorities in H.R. 5856, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for 2013, which passed the House last night by a vote of 326-90.