ABC Fox Montana: Big wins for Montana’s Military in the NDAA

by Joee Taylor

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has been sent to President Joe Biden to sign. 

If signed, the $886 billion dollar act will give a 5.2% pay raise to members in the military, which is the largest raise for service members in two decades. 

Besides that pay raise, the NDAA would authorize just over $40 million for projects at Malmstrom Air Force Base (MAFB) and the Montana Air Nation Guard (MANG) in Great Falls. 

“$10.3 million exclusively for Malmstrom Air Force Base. It authorizes for construction and land acquisition go towards, probably go to a new fire station bay and storage area. $30 million for the Montana Air National Guard to construct new fueling facilities up at MANG. This is particularly important because we’re anticipating the C-130J’s coming in sooner rather than later,” said Montana Senator Jon Tester. 

Another critically important piece that both Senator Tester and Montana Senator Steve Daines touched on is this will help expedite the Sentinel Project at MAFB that will replace 150 Minute Man III missiles with the new Sentinel missiles. 

“Importantly, continue to move forward with upgrading our intercontinental ballistic missiles with that new Sentinel program. It’s all about peace through strength,” said Senator Daines. 

“We’ve had enough delays. We need to start moving some dirt. And so let’s get going with the revamping the ground based mission of our three legs of our triad,” said Senator Tester. 

Both Senators say this is a big win for Montana and our military as they continue to give our men and women in uniform the support they deserve as they fight for our freedoms. 

“Great Falls is absolutely at ground zero in supporting and securing our nation. I’m so proud of that mission in Great Falls,” said Senator Daines. 

According to both Senator Tester and Senator Daines, here are other wins for Montana’s military in the NDAA; 

  • Authorizations for cutting edge technology improvements in hypersonic and artificial intelligence. (Sen. Tester)
  • Provides more than $187 million in NORAD radar capabilities as well as more than $400 million for Backscatter Radar to prevent another Chinese spy balloon. (Sen. Daines)
  • Authorizes requested funding for platforms and weapon systems including naval vessels, combat aircraft, armored vehicles, and munitions. (Sen. Tester)
  • Requires the federal government to develop strategies to become independent of China, Russia, Iran and North Korea in the area of critical minerals while establishing a new university-affiliated center to study the issue. (Sen. Tester)
  • Instructs President Biden to end China’s developing nation status. (Sen. Daines)
  • Adjusts outdated federal policies hampering the ability of local VA facilities, including those in Montana, to plan and execute health care construction projects to improve delivery of timely and high-quality healthcare to veterans. This provision will help VA facilities nationwide speed delivery of these projects while at the same time improving stewardship of taxpayer funds by not forcing VA to break construction projects into smaller, costlier, pieces. (Sen. Tester)
  • Commissions a Defense Logistics Agency study on proprietary tech labels that impact veteran-owned small businesses. (Sen. Daines)
  • Fully extends the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative through FY27. (Sen. Tester)
  • Authorizes measures to simplify and streamline procurement and acquisition of defense articles related to Ukraine and authorizes more munitions for multiyear procurement contracts. (Sen. Tester)
  • Holds “woke” Pentagon bureaucrats accountable by rooting out divisive ideology, specifically targeting DEI programs
  • Prohibits the display of unapproved flags on military instillations
  • Bolsters border security by requiring the Pentagon to counter cartels and empowering DOD to fight cartels in cyberspace, among other initiatives. (Sen. Daines)
  • Mandates DOD establish a pathway of reenlistment for servicemembers who were involuntarily separated solely for refusing to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. (Sen. Daines)
  • Authorizes military training and cybersecurity cooperation with Taiwan. (Sen. Daines)
  • Stands with our ally Israel and our Middle Eastern partners against terrorism by authorizing funds for U.S.-Israel missile defense programming and extending the U.S.-Israel anti-tunneling mission. (Sen. Daines)
  • Grants the Native Indian Veterans Service Organization an official congressional VSO charter. (Sen. Daines)