Chairman Tester Secures Billions for Key Montana, National Security Priorities in Defense Funding Legislation

Senator fought for critical investments in Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, Grey Wolf helicopters for Malmstrom

U.S. Senator Jon Tester, Chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, today secured critical funding and language in the fiscal year 2022 Department of Defense Appropriations legislation to ensure America’s national security, provide essential resources to our troops, and invest in the readiness and capabilities of critical military installations like Malmstrom Air Force Base.

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Tester is responsible for writing the bill that funds the Department of Defense each year, as well as working on the 11 other bills which fund the remainder of the federal government.

“As Chairman of the Defense Subcommittee, I made sure this bill strengthens our military and ensures the brave men and women that protect this country have the resources they need to keep Americans safe, including right here in Montana at Malmstrom Air Force Base,” said Chairman Tester. “I’m proud to have secured key investments to address the most pressing needs of our military so we don’t lose ground to our adversaries, like China. This package also shifts our security focus away from underperforming programs toward ensuring that our troops are well-trained and well-equipped with the most up-to-date technology so they can tackle 21st century threats. I’m going to keep working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get this bill across the finish line and ensure our national defense.”

The Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2022, provides $725.8 billion for the Department of Defense (DoD) and related activities. This amount is $29.3 billion over the fiscal year 2021 enacted level, and $19.4 billion over the amount requested in the President’s fiscal year 2022 budget request. The bill contains no earmarks and directs DoD that increases provided by the bill shall be subject to competition, or shall be provided to programs that have received competitive awards in the past.

In the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, Chairman Tester secured a number of critical Montana priorities, including:

  • $2.55 billion for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, which is the next-generation intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that will field to Malmstrom in the 2030s. The amount is increased from what was provided in 2021 ($1.45 billion) as the research and development phase of the program is ramping up.
  • $141 million for the MH-139 Grey Wolf helicopter, which is replacing Vietnam-era UH-1 helicopters that are used to secure the missile fields. Malmstrom Air Force Base is first in line to get these new helicopters when they are manufactured.
  • $1.8 billion for 16 new C-130Js for the Air National Guard, enough to upgrade two Air Guard wings. Montana Air National Guard will be able to compete to receive these airplanes.
  • $1.45 billion for the National Guard and Reserve Equipment account, which can be used by the Guard for equipment like trucks, radios, and more that support Guardsmen and women in completing their missions.
  • $400 million to implement the recommendations of the Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military, strengthening the military justice system with both new personnel and better practices to punish unlawful behavior, and increasing support to victims and those who report sexual assault or harassment.
  • An additional $4.3 billion for troop readiness and operational shortfalls.
  • $1.2 billion for the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program.
  • $1 billion for urgent requirements for Israel’s Iron Dome system.
  • $761 million for PFAS-related environmental remediation activities.

Additionally, Chairman Tester secured investments in key national security priorities to help the United States counter China, maintain dominance in vital areas like cyber and artificial intelligence, and improve infrastructure and research and development.

Countering China and Investing in the Indo-Pacific:
Chairman Tester’s bill provides nearly $2.5 billion in increases to key capabilities relating to countering China in the Indo-Pacific, including:

  • An additional $793 million for Marine Corps unfunded priorities related to Force Design 2030.
  • An additional $750 million to accelerate an INDOPACOM missile tracking satellite demonstration.
  • An additional $41 million for the Homeland Defense Radar-Hawaii and $100 million for the Guam Defense System.
  • An additional $100 million to establish the Rapid Defense Experimentation Reserve (RDER) to accelerate real-world demonstrations of innovative technologies.

Artificial Intelligence, Cyber, and Microelectronics:
Chairman Tester’s bill proposes increases in these areas to improve the Armed Forces’ adoption of next-generation technologies:

  • Establishment of a $500 million program to increase adoption of artificial intelligence capabilities at combatant commands, and an addition of $100 million to improve DoD recruitment and development of talent for advancing artificial intelligence.
  • Increases of $62 million to harden DoD networks from cyber threats, $23 million to improve training at U.S. Cyber Command, and $70 million for increasing Defense Advanced Research Projects Agence (DARPA) efforts on artificial intelligence, cyber, and data analytics.
  • An increase of $200 million for design acceleration of trusted and assured microelectronics, and $80 million for DARPA’s Electronics Resurgence Initiative (ERI) 2.0.

Military Infrastructure:
Chairman Tester’s bill provides substantial increases to various infrastructure and research needs for the Department of Defense, including:

  • An increase of $1.6 billion in facilities sustainment, restoration, and modernization across the military services.
  • Increases totaling $1.3 billion for test and evaluation infrastructure to improve development and testing of next-generation weapons.

Chairman Tester took the gavel of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee in January. The Subcommitee is responsible for providing nearly $700 billion annually to the Department of Defense and related agencies. This is more than 95 percent of the military’s yearly budget, and includes matters ranging from pay and benefits for millions of service members and civilians to the development of advanced technologies and next-generation weapons. The Subcommittee also oversees funding for nearly all major U.S. intelligence agencies.