U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe praised the final passage of the conference report for the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act, legislation that sets defense policy for the year and outlines policy initiatives. The bill, which passed by a vote of 87-10, will now head to the President’s desk to be signed into law. The FY19 NDAA authorizes $716 billion in funding for the Department of Defense and national security programs at the Department of Energy. This represents an increase over the previous year’s funding of $700 billion – keeping us on a trajectory to restoring our military capabilities.
“Our greatest responsibility–what we are supposed to be doing here—is defending America. It is also our duty to ensure that this legislation takes care of our men and women in uniform,” Sen. Inhofe said. “The NDAA is more than procurement numbers and critical policies that address our military readiness. It’s about the brave men and women in uniform who risk their lives to protect American families. That’s why this bill does more than just provide a well-deserved pay increase for our troops. It also ensures that they have the training they need to complete the mission and return home safely and that their equipment is modern and well-maintained. It fulfils our commitment to service members and their families.
“I am pleased that this year’s NDAA passed in record time, the earliest since 1996, and well in advance of the start of the next fiscal year. Our troops rely on consistent, continued funding to enact the critical reforms and provisions of the NDAA, so I will be working with my colleagues in Congress to pass a defense appropriations bill before FY18 funding expires.”
As a senior member of SASC, Sen. Inhofe worked to include amendments to support Oklahoma’s military installations and service members. He worked to include support of the president’s request of a 2.6 percent pay raise for troops. If authorized, this would be the largest increase in troop pay since 2010. Additionally, Inhofe, a staunch defender of the commissary benefit, authored language that would encourage DoD’s commissaries to utilize small businesses to provide the highest quality of produce available to service members and their families both in the US and overseas.
Sen. Inhofe authored several provisions to support Oklahoma military programs including, increased procurement and funding of the KC-46 tanker, which will soon be stationed at Altus Air Force Base and maintained at Tinker Air Force Base. The KC-46 tankers ensure our military’s ability to engage in operations around the globe. He also authored a provision supporting the continuation of the modernization efforts to continue flying the 60-year-old B-52 bomber, including acceleration of necessary engine replacement. Sustainment of the B-52 fleet is completed at Tinker Air Force Base. Following several unfortunate aviation incidents and facing a growing maintenance backlog, Inhofe has also requested a report from the Secretary of Defense to implement depot-level best practices across the force to ensure the safety and proper maintenance of our service members’ equipment.
The NDAA also supported continued full funding for the Paladin Integrated Management (PIM) system upgrade which is assembled in Elgin, OK and used at Ft. Sill to improve force performance and survivability, while also reducing the logistics burden for soldiers.