Tester Secures Critical National Security Provisions in Annual Defense Bill

Montana’s Senior Senator Delivers Victories for Malmstrom in 2017 National Defense Authorization Act

(U.S. Senate)-Senator Jon Tester today helped strengthen national security by securing major provisions for tens of thousands of Montana’s military members, families and retirees in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Tester voted in support of the 2017 NDAA, which provides equipment and resources our troops need to complete their missions safely and effectively. Tester also supported provisions in the bill to provide a pay increase to our troops and strengthen benefits for their families and military retirees.

“Montana has a long, proud history of military service, and today the Senate took an important step to ensure this nation does right by the folks who serve,” Tester said. “This bill authorizes the resources our troops need to get the job done. It also provides pay raises for our troops, supports military families and retirees, strengthens our state’s critical ICBM mission, and gives Airmen at Malmstrom the resources they need to carry out their mission.”

The 2017 NDAA passed, 85-13.

Tester secured the following provisions in the 2017 NDAA:

Malmstrom Air Force Base

The 2017 NDAA provides funding for the Air Force to replace the Vietnam-era Huey helicopters at Malmstrom and urges Air Force leadership to deliver a new fleet of Blackhawk helicopters to Malmstrom before 2019. This builds off of Tester’s efforts to secure similar language within the 2017 Defense Appropriations Bill. Additionally, due to Tester’s efforts, the bill included authorization for a new Missile Maintenance Dispatch facility at Malmstrom that will allow the base to properly house and maintain the Blackhawks once they are fielded.

Within the 2017 NDAA, Tester also secured critical modernization funding needed to ensure Malmstrom’s ICBM’s remain safe and active for many years to come.

Protecting Military Medical Research

Tester successfully sponsored an amendment to allow for critical medical research to continue at the Defense Department. This research has led to dramatic advancements in how we diagnose and treat conditions such as Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, as well as breakthroughs in the treatment of various other diseases such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and cancer, which impact the lives of millions of Americans, including military member, families and veterans, each and every year. Tester was the only member of the Montana delegation to support this amendment.

Strengthening Mental Health Care

Tester successfully passed an amendment to ensure that service members who are unfairly discharged from the armed services after experiencing combat or sexual trauma resulting in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or Traumatic Brain Injuries are granted their proper due process.

Saving Dollars for Military Families

Tester also successfully passed an amendment that would halt an effort to privatize commissaries on military bases. Commissaries provide services, clothing, and groceries to military families on military bases at a discounted price, as well as provide jobs to military spouses and retirees. Tester was the only member of the Montana Congressional delegation to support this amendment.

Justice for Survivors of Military Sexual Assault

Tester successfully passed an amendment to strengthen whistleblower protections and enhance safeguards for survivors of military sexual assault and other military members. Tester’s amendment will better protect service members from retaliation after reporting instances of waste, fraud or abuse and will protect military sexual assault survivors against retaliation for reporting they were sexually assaulted.