Rep. Austin Scott: Defense Bill Passes House
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Austin Scott (GA-08), a Member of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement upon the U.S. House of Representatives passing the defense bill that will fund our nation’s military, address our readiness crisis, confront aggression, address threats, rebuild our military, protect force structure, and provide for our military families.
“This year, the House Armed Services Committee was focused on rebuilding a military greatly diminished under the previous administration and supporting our warfighters and their families who sacrifice so much for our great country,” said Rep. Scott. “I believe this vital legislation addresses those unique challenges we face today and ensures our men and women in uniform have the very best training and weapons systems they need to protect our country.”
H.R. 2810, the Conference Report to accompany the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), passed the House of Representatives with a bipartisan vote of 356 to 70.
In addition to providing new resources to address troop and infrastructure readiness, this bill also continues Congress’ commitment to our warfighters and their families including fully funding a 2.4% pay raise for our warfighters and permanently preserving the Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance (SSIA) payments to surviving military spouses, among other things.
As the only Republican from Georgia on the House Armed Services Committee and a negotiator to the House-Senate Conference Committee, Congressman Scott was instrumental in fighting on behalf of Georgia’s military installations during the Committee’s markup of the NDAA.
PROVIDING FOR CURRENT AND FUTURE JSTARS NEEDS AT ROBINS:
The E–8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) is a joint Air Force and Army program that provides critical airborne surveillance, intelligence, and command and control to our military through on-board radar and computer subsystems equipment that gathers and distributes detailed battlefield information. Combatant commanders utilize the JSTARS fleet around the world, and it is based at Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins.
JSTARS’ mission is enabled by leveraging its extremely capable active radar system providing invaluable moving target indicator (MTI) intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance targeting information to multiple users both on the ground and in airborne attack platforms. The demand for MTI capability within each geographic combatant commander’s area of responsibility far exceeds what JSTARS can currently provide due to the limited size of the legacy fleet and overburdened crew resources.
Rep. Scott was able to secure $417 million for the JSTARS Recapitalization program and $36.9 million for the current legacy fleet of 16 E-8C to make critical equipment upgrades to maintain viability until the current fleet is replaced by the Recapitalization program beginning in the late 2020s.
SECURING FUNDS FOR A-10C REWINGING AT MOODY:
Additionally in today’s legislation, the A-10C Wing fleet is set to receive $103 million in funds for re-winging, which Moody Air Force Base will keep A-10s flying in the fight against ISIS.
REBUILDING OUR NATION’S FORCE STRUCTURE AND INFRASTRUCTURE:
Today’s legislation also addresses force structure concerns by increasing the size of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Army Guard and Reserve, Naval and Air Reserve, as well as Air Guard. It also dedicates $1.9 billion for facilities maintenance and $4.4 billion to strengthen missile defense, better equip ground forces, bolster aviation readiness, and address critical munitions shortage.
It also makes major reforms in Pentagon buying practices including e-commerce, defense contract auditing, and increased oversight into service contracts.
OTHER PROVISIONS REP. SCOTT SECURED IN FY18 NDAA:
Rep. Scott was also able to include provisions in the final bill to:
- Create a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) Cyber Institute to address the Air Force and Department of Defense’s needs to train and recruit individuals into the fields of cyber security and cyber defense, including at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega;
- Support the modernization of the U.S. Army’s small arms acquisitions and capabilities by directing the Secretary of the Army to conduct and present to HASC a briefing on the advisability and feasibility of developing a small arms acquisition process, in particular for free-float rail systems for service rifles; and
- Address the disparity between combat pilot training and the lack of budgetary and programmatic attention to address it.