Rep. Austin Scott on FY21 NDAA
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Austin Scott (GA-08), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), released the below statement upon passage of the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021. Yesterday, the U.S. Senate passed their chamber’s version of the FY21 NDAA. The bill will now head into Conference Committee to finalize negotiations.
“In my role on the House Armed Services Committee, one of my critical duties is to provide for our nation’s defense. This week, I voted in favor of the FY 21 National Defense Authorization Act because it authorized needed resources for our men and women in uniform,” said Rep. Austin Scott. “While this bill isn’t perfect, I believe we were able to accomplish many goals in this year’s NDAA important to Georgia and the nation. My priorities included funding for Robins and Moody Air Force Bases in Georgia’s Eighth District, a 3% pay raise for our warfighters, further modernization of our ballistic missile submarine fleet, new investments in systems and platforms across DOD, and a bipartisan amendment I offered to review opportunities to incorporate innovative wood product technologies in military construction projects.
Rep. Scott continued: “With the Senate passage of their version of the FY21 NDAA, the legislation now moves into final negotiations. Georgians can rest assured that I will continue fighting for our missions, defense communities, and Airmen and their families as final terms are set.”
Highlights of the House passed legislation include providing a 3% pay raise for our troops, investing in emerging technology areas such as artificial intelligence and autonomous systems, and enhancing U.S. presence in the Indo-Pacific by strengthening partnerships, missions, and training in the region.
TheHouse passed legislation also addresses the COVID-19 outbreak to ensure that DOD has the diagnostic equipment, testing capabilities, and personal protective equipment necessary to protect our Armed Forces. It also requires the National Security Strategy to address the provision of drugs, biologics, vaccines, and other critical medical equipment to ensure combat readiness and force health protection.
PROVIDING FOR CURRENT AND FUTURE 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, GA.
The bill passed this week includes language authored by Rep. Scott to prohibit the retirement of 16 critically important JSTARS aircraft at Robins. Rep. Scott was also able to secure an increase of $27 million above the President’s budget request for much-needed modernization upgrades to the JSTARS aircraft to ensure the system can continue to support combatant commanders’ needs.
SUPPORTING MISSIONS AT MOODY:
Also included in the legislation is a provision authored by Rep. Scott to prohibit the retirement of the A-10C “Warthog” aircraft, several of which are based at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, GA. The A-10C provides close air support and combat search-and-rescue capabilities unmatched by any other aircraft in the Air Force’s inventory. No other fixed-wing airframes are as proficient as the A-10 in operating in rugged environments, low visibility, and very low altitudes, and the A-10C has been instrumental in the fight against ISIS, in Eastern Europe and the Baltics in face of Russian aggression, and missions in the South China Sea after illegal Chinese military expansion in the region.
The House passed legislation also included the following provisions by Rep. Scott:
- PILOT READINESS: For several years, Rep. Scott has offered provisions to the NDAA to address a shortage of pilots across the military. Rep. Scott was successful in including a provision in the final bill instructing the Air Force to provide an assessment of the undergraduate pilot training pipeline and impacts of transitioning to new training systems as certain aircraft are retired in the coming years.
- FOREIGN PARTNER TRAINING PROGRAMS: Rep. Scott is a proponent of DOD programs to train foreign partner forces in the United States, including a years-long programs at Moody training Afghan and Nigerian pilots on advanced techniques to counter hostile forces. Rep. Scott was able to include in this legislation a provision requiring the Air Force to disclose new modifications to the foreign partner training programs, as well as benchmarks to ensure the goals of the training program are achieved
- IDENTIFYING INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS FOR MILITARY CONSTRUCTION: Also included in bill this week was a bipartisan amendment offered by Rep. Scott and Rep. Abigail Spanberger (VA-07) to review opportunities to incorporate innovative wood product technologies in military construction projects. Innovative wood products offer unique advantages in construction time, safety, health, and environmental impact while providing high paying jobs for American workers. Georgia is one of the largest commercial forestland states, producing a variety of wood products that could be beneficial to U.S. military construction.