Tester Authorizes Major Defense Wins Including $10 Million for Malmstrom & $30 Million for Montana Air Guard, Pay Raises for Troops

Senator authorizes critical provisions for Malmstrom Air Force Base and Montana Air National Guard in national defense bill;

Authorizes 5.2% pay raise for service members, largest raise in two decades

As part of his continued efforts to defend Montana and keep our country safe, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today voted to authorize major wins for Montana and American servicemembers as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24).

The Tester-backed NDAA includes provisions to increase pay for American troops by 5.2%, authorize $10 million for projects at Malmstrom Air Force Base and $30 million for the Montana Air National Guard, counter the threat of foreign adversaries like China and Russia, combat the flow of fentanyl, and honor our nation’s commitment to our veterans.

“Defending Montana and our national security is my top priority, and delivering a strong bipartisan national defense bill will help provide our men and women in uniform with the tools they need to keep our country safe,” said Tester. “From supporting our airmen and women at Malmstrom, to countering the pacing threat of China and combatting the deadly flow of fentanyl, this bill will help tackle some of the greatest threats facing our nation. And I’m proud to have helped secure the largest pay raise for our troops in the last two decades because they put their lives on the line to keep America the greatest country in the world.” 

Key Tester-backed provisions in the legislation include:

5.2% Pay Raises for American Troops:

  • Authorizes the largest pay raise in two decades for servicemembers.

$10.3 Million for Malmstrom Air Force Base:

  • Authorizes funding for construction and land acquisition at Malmstrom Air Force Base that will go towards a new fire station bay and storage area.

$30 Million for Montana Air National Guard:

  • Authorizes funding to construct new fueling facilities at Montana Air National Guard (MANG) in Great Falls to support the fueling of aircraft assigned to MANG and to provide a gas station, including fuel storage, fuel off-loading, fuel dispensing and an operations building for fueling operations. 

Staying Ahead of Foreign Adversaries Including China:

  • Authorizes $886.3 billion in FY24 for national defense including authorizations for cutting edge technology improvements in hypersonics and artificial intelligence.
  • Authorizes requested funding for platforms and weapon systems including naval vessels, combat aircraft, armored vehicles, and munitions.
  • 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.

Stopping the Deadly Flow of Fentanyl:

  • Directs the Department of Defense with the Department of State and the Attorney General to provide a report to Congress on a new strategy to disrupt fentanyl trafficking.
  • Directs the Department of Defense to determine if the People’s Republic of China approved or assisted in the transportation of fentanyl producing articles to Mexican Drug cartels.
  • Establishes that the trafficking of illicit Fentanyl, and associated precursor chemicals, originating from China and Mexico should be among the highest priorities for the Director of National Intelligence.
  • Directs Defense Department reports to Congress outlining mitigation of fentanyl abuse in the military departments.

Cutting Red Tape to Speed Delivery of Medical Facilities to Better Serve Veterans:

  • Tester secured a version of his bipartisan legislation which 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.

Countering Putin:

  • Fully extends the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative through FY27.
  • Authorizes measures to simplify and streamline procurement and acquisition of defense articles related to Ukraine and authorizes more munitions for multiyear procurement contracts.