Tester Sends Critical Defense Wins for Malmstrom, Montana National Guard & Pay Raise for Troops to President’s Desk

Senate passes Tester-backed investments for Malmstrom, Montana National Guard—including continued development of the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, MH-139 Grey Wolf, and C-130J programs, as well as a 2.7 percent pay raise for servicemembers

The Senate passed key defense priorities today spearheaded by U.S. Senator Jon Tester as a part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022 to support Montana’s military installations, servicemembers, and military families.

These priorities include a 2.7 percent servicemember pay raise, new funding for the Montana National Guard, $91 million for MH-139 Grey Wolf Helicopters at Malmstrom, and $2.5 billion for the continued development of the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent to replace the aging Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs).

“This bipartisan bill makes critical investments in our nation’s defense installations and the men and women who power them,” said Tester, “It’s a victory for the ICBM and helicopter missions at Malmstrom Air Force, and for the continued strength of the Montana National Guard. Our servicemembers will see a well-earned pay raise, and we’re better supporting their families. The bottom line is this—keeping our military strong is how we keep this country strong against threats from our adversaries, and I’m always first in line to cast my vote for that.”

Key Tester-backed provision in the legislation include:

Pay Raise

  • A 2.7 percent pay raise for both military servicemembers and the Department of Defense (DOD) civilian workforce.

Montana National Guard

  • Authorized $16 million for the Montana National Guard to build a new Entrance Testing Site in Butte.

MH-139 Grey Wolf Helicopters

  • Authorizes $91 million for MH-139 Grey Wolf Helicopters to replace the UH-H1 Huey’s at Malmstrom.


  • Authorize $2.5 billion for the continued development of the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent to replace the aging Minuteman III ICBMs.

Military Justice Reform

  • Significant overhaul of the Uniform Code of Military Justice to remove the decision to prosecute certain crimes from the chain of command.
  • Each service will now have an Office of the Special Trial Counsel to handle prosecution of sexual assault and related crimes, murder, kidnapping and child pornography that will report to each service secretary.
  • Consistent with recommendations from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s independent review commission, it puts the authority to convene courts-martial in the hands of an independent authority.
  • Includes sexual harassment as a crime in the Uniform Code of Military Justice for the first time.
  • Directs the Department to “track allegations of retaliation by victims” of sexual assault and harassment.

Military Families

  • Creates a new category of bereavement leave for military personnel that would permit servicemembers to take up to two weeks of leave in connection with the death of a spouse or child.
  • Increases parental leave to 12 weeks for all servicemembers for the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child.
  • Establishes a Basic Needs Allowance to ensure that all servicemembers can meet the basic needs of their families.
  • Authorizes the Secretary to conduct a pilot program providing direct hire authority to hire military spouses stationed at a duty station outside of the United States to a term position within the DOD.
  • Authorizes an increase of $500 million for PFAS cleanup of affected water supplies.
  • Authorizes an increase of $15.0 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Nation-wide human health assessment on PFAS.


  • Establishes the independent Afghanistan War Commission to examine the 20-year conflict, and provide reports to Congress about the US’ ability to counter terrorism in the region, accountability of military equipment left in the country, and plans to evacuate American citizens and Afghan allies who are still there.


  • Directs the President to develop a classified “Grand Strategy with Respect to China.”
  • Directs DOD put together several reports on China’s activities, from their military and security developments, modernization technologies for their military applications, to their strategy in Latin American and the Caribbean.
  • Includes provision that prohibits the US from buying products produced in forced labor camps in Xinjiang.
  • Authorizes $7.1 billion for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, $2 billion increase above the President’s budget request.