Tester Sends Key Defense and National Security Wins for Montana, Pay Raise for Troops to President’s Desk

Tester secures PREVENTS Act and Fairness for Federal Firefighters Act in National Defense Bill;

Bill will authorize a 4.6 percent pay raise to servicemembers & update Malmstrom’s ICBM program

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 2023 to bolster our nation’s national and homeland security, and support Montana’s servicemembers, military families, and veterans.

These priorities include authorizing a 4.6 percent pay raise for servicemembers, provisions to replace the aging Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) with next-generation Ground Based Strategic Deterrent at Malmstrom Air Force Base, and improve homeland security with Tester’s PREVENTS Act to crack down on fentanyl, as well as his Fairness for Federal Firefighters Act.

“This bipartisan bill makes critical investments in our military men and women, their families, and bolsters our nation’s security at home and abroad,” said Tester, “From working to implement the next generation of ICBMs at Malmstrom, to giving our servicemembers a well-deserved pay raise, and supporting our military families and veterans—we’re keeping our country safe and tackling emerging national security threats. I’m especially proud I was able to secure my bipartisan bills in this effort to tackle fentanyl trafficking, and finally do right by our firefighters suffering from illness related to their service.”

Key Tester-backed provisions in the legislation include:

Pay Raise for Troops

  • Authorizes a 4.6 percent pay raise for both military servicemembers and the Department of Defense (DOD) civilian workforce

Malmstrom Air Force Base

  • Establishes an ICBM Task Force within the Air Force Global Strike Command to stand up Sentinel, the Air Force’s new ICBM system
  • Requires senior Air Force officials to monitor industrial base for production of the new B-21 bomber and Sentinel

PREVENTS Act (Fentanyl)

  • Requires the Department of Homeland Security to provide drug containment devises to border patrol agents to prevent secondary exposure to fentanyl

Fairness for Federal Firefighters Act

  • Creates a presumption that cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and certain infectious diseases contracted by federal fire fighters are job-related for purposes of workers’ compensation and disability retirement

Other Montana Priorities

  • Prohibits the early retirement of five Navy littoral combat ships, including the USS Billings
  • Renames Butte Military Entrance Testing Site as Silver Bow Readiness Center Land


  • Continues to allow private or non-government entities to donate property or facilities to VA to help them advance VA construction projects
  • Directs VA to evaluate productive expectations for Vet Center staff  to examine staff welfare and overall quality of care
  • Creates a three-year pilot program for Vet Centers to combat veteran food insecurity

Military Families

  • Increases the Basic Needs Allowance threshold from 130 percent to 150 percent of the federal poverty line, to ensure that all servicemembers can meet the basic needs of their families
  • Codifies an Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment as Chief Housing Officer to address Basic Needs Allowance for housing in high-cost eras and tackle housing shortages for servicemembers

Countering China

  • Extends the Pacific Deterrence Initiative through Fiscal Year 2023, which is a key subset of the DOD’s efforts to strengthen regional deterrence in the Indo-Pacific region
  • Establishes a joint force headquarters within the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command area of responsibility, which includes China

War in Ukraine

  • Authorizes $6.9 billion for the European Deterrence Initiative
  • Requires a report on the DOD’s Inspectors General framework to oversee US assistance to Ukraine & give a full accounting of how taxpayer dollars are being spent