Senator Lisa Murkowski today spoke at the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee "markup' of the fiscal year 2015 defense spending bill about a number of critical provisions into the 2015 Defense funding bill she played a role in including to improve the Alaska military's ability to save lives and protect the nation.
"We ask a lot of our men and women in uniform, and they deliver day in and day out, so I wanted to see their work respected through big efforts like continuing the Combat Rescue Helicopter program, protecting the missile defense efforts at Greely and funding our Arctic satellite awareness -- not to mention our icebreaker shortage," said Murkowski. "I'm also pleased that our Kodiak Launch Complex work will be sustained, and that Lou Gehrig's Disease research will receive critical funding, as returning soldiers are suffering at disproportionate rates -- this is a debilitating illness and we owe it to our soldiers to fight it."
The 2015 Defense Appropriations bill includes many Alaskan priorities, like:
Missile Defense Spending Increase: On the heels of the recent successful missile test, Senator Murkowski requested and received an additional $30 million to improve the reliability of the Ground Midcourse Defense missile defense activities at Fort Greely and Vandenberg AFB.
Life-Saving Combat Rescue Helicopters (CRH): Called a champion of the CRH by Air Force Magazine because it has been utilized by the Alaska Air National Guard to rescue 2,000 lives over the last twenty years, Murkowski was pleased to see a down payment included in the spending bill to recapitalize the aging HH-60 fleet.
Arctic Awareness and Icebreakers: Demonstrating her continued Arctic focus, Senator Murkowski also added language to the bill expressing concern at the nation's slow pace in addressing Arctic investment, and directing the Department of Defense to conduct a study of the nation's satellite coverage of the Arctic region as activities increase there. The spending plan also requires the Department of Defense work with the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard to address our nation's shortage of polar icebreakers and Arctic class vessels.