Sullivan Secures $193 Million in Military Spending for Alaska
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Chairman of the Readiness Subcommittee, voted alongside his Armed Services Committee members this week to pass the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act, which authorizes $8.15 billion in FY2021 military construction funding, $193 million of which is authorized specifically for Alaska projects and improvements.
“This bill comes at a time when our communities need support more than ever, and authorizes almost $200 million in military construction projects and equipment for Alaska, including $30 million to upgrade Cobra Dane. It also includes $30 million for the Innovative Readiness Training program – a 120% increase over the President’s Budget – and gives direct hire authorities to rural installations like Eielson AFB, Clear AFS, and Fort Greely,” said Senator Sullivan.
Alaska Military Construction Spending:
- Fort Greely Communications Center: Authorizes the construction of a $48 million Communications Center in support of the critical missile defense assets at Fort Greely to house mission communication equipment.
- Fort Wainwright Unaccompanied Enlisted Personnel Housing: Authorizes a $59 million Army unfunded priority for a dorm-style barracks at Fort Wainwright.
- Fort Wainwright Child Development Center: Authorizes a $55 million Army unfunded priority for a Child Development Center at Fort Wainwright.
- COBRA DANE Funding: This provision increases Space Force procurement by $12.5 million, and $18.5 million in research and development to extend the service life of the Cobra Dane missile defense radar on Shemya Island.
Since 2015, Senator Sullivan and the Alaska delegation have secured over $1.4 billion in military construction investments for Alaska.
“This year’s NDAA helps Alaskan communities with important challenges, including studying suicide prevention in servicemembers at remote locations, and developing strategies for effective recruiting methods for rural and Native populations where some of our nation’s best talent and most patriotic people are found,” said Senator Sullivan. “This year’s bill also continues to make Alaska’s case on the upcoming beddown of a squadron of KC-46A tanker, an effort that I have led for the past five years.
Military Recruiters in Rural, Isolated and Native Populations Study: Requires a study of practices or efforts currently in place by the Department of Defense to recruit from isolated and Native populations, to include an analysis of cultural challenges or funding shortfalls involved with recruiting in these areas.
- Background: Alaska Natives have served in the military at historically higher rates than any other Americans, but that trend has declined over time. Native leaders have cited a lack of military presence in rural Alaska communities as a barrier for young Native Alaskans to gain access to the opportunities offered through military service.
Study on Prevention of Suicide at Remote Locations: Requires the DoD to complete a study addressing servicemember suicides in remote installations, to include an assessment of the availability of information from indigenous populations and graduate research programs in the area.
- Background: Since May of 2018, ten Soldiers stationed at Fort Wainwright, have committed suicide, and one other attempted suicide. Although the Army has taken steps to attempt to address this problem, including sending an Army Behavioral Health Epidemiological Consultation (EPICON) team to Fort Wainwright, more needs to be done across the Department of Defense, and more specifically, at isolated installations in austere climates such as those in Alaska. Alaska Native leaders have a long history grappling with the challenges of mental health in Alaska’s isolated environment and graduate university programs located in the Arctic are creating uniquely creative solutions to this issue.
Strategic Basing of the KC-46A: Expresses Congress’ view that the next basing of the KC-46A tanker – being executed by Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) – should occur in a strategic location that is responsive to multiple combatant commands, contains ample training, takes advantage of existing infrastructure and fuel storage, prioritizes responsiveness and flexibility to continued great power competition, and accounts for both the capacity and range of adversary weapons system.
- Background: Senator Sullivan has been working with the Department of Defense for several years on OCONUS basing of the KC-46A Pegasus and ensuring that the Air Force gives proper strategic consideration to its basing decision. To date, the Air Force has not yet set a date for announcing its OCONUS KC-46A decision. Senator Sullivan continues to be engaged on this issue and has included provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Years 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 regarding this issue:
- A Sense of Congress regarding the OCONUS basing of the KC-46A, which was included in S.2943, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (Sec. 1094) and enacted in to law.
- A Sense of Congress regarding the OCONUS basing of the KC-46A, which was included in the Senate version of H.R.2810, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (Sec. 1047) and was rescinded in conference.
- A Sense of Congress regarding the OCONUS basing of the KC-46A, which was included in the Conference Report of H.R. 5515, the National Defense Authorization for Fiscal Year 2019 (Sec. 1034).
- A Sense of Congress and a limitation on use of funds regarding the OCONUS basing of the KC-46A, which was included in S.1790, the Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (Sec. 352).
Additional Items for Alaska:
- Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) Program: This provision encourages the Department of Defense to continue utilizing IRT wherever possible and authorizes $30 million to help more units and communities participate in this very important program.
- Rural Direct Hire Authority: Grants direct hire authority for locations like Eielson Air Forces Base, Fort Greely, and Clear Air Force Station with geographic remoteness, isolation, or extreme climate conditions. Additionally, authorizes award incentive payments to be given to employees working at such locations.
- Hypersonics Aleutian Islands Test Range: Recognizes and encourages the use of launch and range complexes like the Pacific Spaceport Complex – Alaska for long-range hypersonic flight tests and national security space launch priorities.
- Native Lands Mitigation Program: This provision authorizes the DoD to participate in a program to mitigate environmental effects attributed to past DoD actions on Native lands.
- Alaska Consideration in DOD Moving Contract: Encourages the DoD to develop parameters in their new military family moving contract that prioritize the use of small businesses and ensure quality of service is maintained for servicemembers in places like Alaska that are more remote and isolated.
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