Tester, Walsh announce key victories for Malmstrom, Montana Air National Guard

Senators secure critical improvements for service members and Montana in 2015 National Defense Authorization Act

(U.S. SENATE) – Senators Jon Tester and John Walsh today announced key improvements for Malmstrom Air Force Base and the Montana Air National Guard are part of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act.

Included in the bill is a Tester and Walsh provision that authorizes the modernization of Montana’s C-130H fleet, which will ensure the aircraft remains a viable long-term mission for the Montana Air National Guard.

The bill also brings up-to-date all of the 450 ICBM silos nationwide and requires the empty silos stay in “warm” status throughout the duration of the New START Treaty – ensuring that Malmstrom will have the necessary flexibility to preform required maintenance on its ICBM silos.

“Montana plays a key role in our national defense, and these provisions strengthen Malmstrom, the Montana Air National Guard and Montana service members,” Tester said. “Our state has a long-standing military heritage, and these measures safeguard our traditions while securing our nation and supporting Montana families and communities.”

“The provisions included in this bill will provide a boost for Montana’s service members, their families, and the community of Great Falls,” said Walsh, a 33 year veteran of the Montana National Guard. “Today is a significant step forward to securing safeguards for Malmstrom and strengthens our flying mission at the Montana Air National Guard.”

Additionally, the bill includes Tester’s bipartisan Reserve Retirement Deployment Credit Correction Act that will finally ensure that National Guard and Reserve members from Montana and elsewhere get the early retirement credit they have earned through active duty service.

The bill also includes a provision based on Tester and Walsh’s Service Members Mental Health Review Act that provides service members with mental health disorders an expert level review during the appeal of their discharge.

The 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) also:

• Includes a one percent pay increase for service members.
• Prohibits another formal round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) in 2015.
• Blocks force reductions in the National Guard.

The Senate will vote on the NDAA next week. It passed the House of Representatives today.