Defense spending bill includes military pay raise, prohibits Alaska base closures in 2020

Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - 14:56

Senators on Tuesday approved a defense spending bill that prohibits the Department of Defense from studying base closures in Alaska through 2020.

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan praised the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act in a Tuesday statement. Sen. Sullivan, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the bill “provides support for Alaska’s military priorities.”

The DOD did not seek any Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) actions this year, but the new bill would specifically prohibit them in 2020.

The spending bill also includes a 3.1 percent pay increase for military members, Sullivan said.

The $738 billion spending package will become law if signed by President Trump.

Alaska Congressman Don Young said he was happy to see the Senate come to an agreement on the psnding package.

The bill is full of Alaska military projects ranging from the modernization of the Air Force’s Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex to the purchase of an additional 90 F-35 fighters.

Other provisions include a requirement that the DOD list all military facilities where drinking water may be contaminated with dangerous chemicals called Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluroroalkyl substances, or PFAS, and directs the military to end the use of firefighting foams containing the toxic substances by 2024.

The bill also inlcudes funding for things like the study of a new Arctic port and money to encourage the use of the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska in Kodiak.

“This year’s NDAA provides important resources for the military in Alaska and the Alaska communities that support it,” Sullivan said in a statement. “The bill takes a number of important steps to address the impacts of PFAS exposure and contamination, nearly doubles the size of the Innovative Readiness Training Program, seeks plans to modernize JPARC with advanced threats and the addition of F-35 Aggressors to augment Eielson’s aging F-16 Aggressors, and authorizes a new DOD program to support small spaceports, like the one in Kodiak.”

To read the entire bill, click here.

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