Rep. Austin Scott Statement on HASC Passage of FY21 NDAA
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Austin Scott (GA-08), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), released the below statement upon the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021 passing out of Committee last night by a vote of 56-0. The NDAA sets Department of Defense (DOD) policies and authorizes funding levels for defense programs. The legislation now heads to the House Floor for full consideration by the Chamber.
“After nearly 14 hours of consideration, the House Armed Services Committee successfully approved $731.6 billion in funding and support for our men and women in uniform,” said Rep. Scott. “The legislation includes funding for Robins and Moody Air Force Bases in Georgia’s Eighth District, a 3% pay raise for our warfighters, further modernization of our submarine nuclear capabilities, and new investments in systems and platforms across DOD.”
Rep. Scott continued: “As this legislation moves to the Floor for consideration by the full House, I look forward to continued bipartisan changes to the overall legislation, and you can rest assured that I will continue to fight for our Georgia installations and the resources they need to complete their missions safely and successfully.”
Highlights of the 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.
The 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 legislation passed out of Committee today 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 legislation also included the following provisions authored 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 language to the legislation passed out of Committee today 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.