National Defense Authorization Bill Passes Senate
Senator Schatz Amendment Supporting Military Families Included in NDAA
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) today voted for the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA will authorize provisions important to Hawai‘i’s economy and military community, and strengthens our national defense. The bill passed by a 71-25 vote with large bipartisan support.
“The defense authorization bill includes many provisions that strengthen our national defense, reinforce the need to rebalance to the Asia Pacific—through which Hawai‘i is central—and provide our service members with the equipment and training they need to protect America,” said Senator Schatz. “The bill specifically states that any withdrawal of U.S. forces from U.S. Pacific Command would undermine the rebalance to the Asia Pacific, and that U.S. forces under the operational control of U.S. Pacific Command—like those of U.S. Army Pacific based in Hawai‘i—should be increased, consistent with our commitment to the region.”
The 2016 NDAA includes a number of provisions that will benefit Hawai‘i’s economy and military community. In addition to the $444 million in military construction projects requested in the President’s budget and authorized for appropriations, the Senate NDAA also:
- Authorizes an additional $12.8 million for MV-22 Landing Pads at Kaneohe Bay. The additional authorization would support those MV-22 squadrons coming to Hawai‘i.
- Authorizes an additional $9.7 million for a F-22 composite repair facility. The additional authorized funding would ensure the readiness of the F-22 fighter jets at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
- Calls for strengthening U.S. Pacific Command. The 2016 NDAA includes language that calls for additional forces at PACOM, reinforcing the DoD’s Asia Pacific rebalance strategy.
- Reauthorizes the National Guard State Partnership Program. The Senate adopted an amendment that ensures that members of the Hawai‘i National Guard can continue to participate in exchanges with partners in the Asia Pacific to strengthen relationships with key allies in the region.
Senator Schatz’s amendment supporting military families was incorporated into NDAA. The Schatz provision would ensure families of fallen service members serving on non-combat missions receive the same travel benefits as those serving in combat areas. Senator Schatz objects to the budget gimmick of using OCO to circumvent the 2011 Budget Control Act’s spending caps in order to fund the military’s core operations and will address those concerns in appropriations bills on the floor.