This evening, Congressman Jim Bridenstine voted for HR 4909, the FY17 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The annual defense authorization bill establishes both funding levels for the military and Department of Defense policy. Congress has passed NDAA for 53 years in a row.
Bridenstine commented, “NDAA supports our warfighters and their families by authorizing a pay increase and expanding access to medical care. It helps restore combat readiness and stops terrible Obama Administration policies such as transferring Guantanamo Bay terrorists to the United States. I am pleased that NDAA adopted three major amendments I sponsored plus numerous provisions from my bill, the American Space Renaissance Act.”
Among other important provisions, the bill authorized the following:
- Fully funds military pay increase and blocks President Obama’s ability to reduce troop pay.
- Prohibits Obama Administration from transferring Guantanamo Bay terrorists to the United States.
- Expands access to urgent care for military families.
- Extends hours at military primary care clinics.
- Establishes new trauma centers at military medical centers.
Congressman Bridenstine sponsored three major amendments included in the bill:
- Expand U.S. Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) exports.
Codifies 30-day limit for Department of Energy (DOE) to issue final decisions on LNG export applications.
- Prevent re-listing of Lesser Prairie Chicken (LPC) and de-list American Burying Beetle (ABB) from Endangered Species Act (ESA).
ESA mandates on LPC and ABB are costly, unnecessary and would impact daily operations and expansion of Oklahoma military installations.
- Prohibit housing unaccompanied alien children on U.S. military installations.
Military bases are for training and preparing troops for combat and should not be used for non-defense missions. The Obama Administration should use some of the 77,000 vacant or underutilized Federal buildings.
Additionally, NDAA includes other provisions that Congressman Bridenstine sponsored and worked on that support Oklahoma’s National Guard, including:
- Redirected funding to procure F-16 simulators. The 138th Fighter Wing at Tulsa Air National Guard Base flies F-16s.
- Redirected funding to support critical requirements for National Guard State Partnership Program.
Congressman Bridenstine recently introduced HR 4945, the American Space Renaissance Act (ASRA), groundbreaking legislation to enact bold reforms across military, civil, and commercial space sectors. Congressman Bridenstine worked to have 10 specific provisions for ASRA included in NDAA including the following:
- Establishing a pilot program for the Air Force to buy, test, and evaluate commercial weather data. Utilizing data provided by innovative private sector weather companies can lower costs to taxpayers, produce better weather products for the warfighter, and complicate the targeting solutions of our enemies by distributing space architectures.
- Redirecting funding to jump start a pilot program to test next-generation satellite communications (SATCOM) technologies. Private sector SATCOM companies are offering leap-ahead capacity for commercial customers. The Department of Defense should take advantage of this through a pilot program.
- Modifies SATCOM Analysis of Alternatives to ensure accurate cost estimates and full consideration of commercial SATCOM technologies.