Abraham: Defense spending bill includes many wins for Louisiana bases
WASHINGTON - Congressman Ralph Abraham, M.D., R-Alto, on Friday voted in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act, which passed on a bipartisan 344-81 vote. The bill takes great steps toward rebuilding our military and includes many wins for Louisiana’s bases.
Dr. Abraham is Louisiana’s only member on the House Armed Services Committee and has worked tirelessly to ensure that Louisiana’s military bases in Bossier City, Fort Polk and Belle Chasse were prioritized during the process of crafting the defense spending bill.
The NDAA provides $631.5 billion for our national defense, an increase of $28.5 billion for essential readiness recovery above President Trump’s budget request.
“President Trump and Congress recognize that our military readiness has suffered due to the effects of sequestration over the last several years. This NDAA takes steps to correct that and provides our troops with the resources they need to be successful in their mission to keep our nation safe. If we’re going to ask our men and women in uniform to put their lives on the line for us, then we need to make sure they have every resource they need to succeed in their mission of keeping us safe,” Dr. Abraham said.
Specific wins for Louisiana’s military bases include:
Barksdale Air Force Base:
- The NDAA begins the process of re-engining the B-52 bombers, which are headquartered at the base. Re-engining would extend their life into the 2050s, improve range and fuel efficiency, and lower maintenance costs.
- The NDAA supports the Air Force Global Strike Commands’ strategy to enhance science, technology, innovation and collaboration through outreach to academic institutions and researchers. It also supports the creation of an institute for nuclear deterrence operation and nuclear command, control and communications.
- The NDAA fully funds a 2.4 percent pay raise for our troops that will benefit the more than 10,000 troops and their families who are stationed at the base.
- The NDAA authorizes increases in the sizes of most branches of the military, including a 10,000 troop increase for active duty Army, 4,000 troop increase for the National Guard, and 3,000 troop increase for the Army Reserve. Many of these additional troops will have the opportunity train at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk.
- The NDAA prevents another round of base realignment and closures that put Fort Polk at risk in the past.
- The NDAA supports the recapitalization of Navy Reserve tactical aviation squadron at Belle Chasse, which directs the Air Force to examine the lifespan of planes currently at use at the base to clear the way for newer planes in the future.
- The NDAA supports the continued use of the F-15C fighter plane.