Sullivan Supports FY2019 Defense Appropriations Measure

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK), a member of the Senate Armed Service Committee, voted this week in support of a FY2019 appropriations package – the Senate amendment to H.R. 6157, the Minibus Appropriations Actthat includes annual defense appropriations. The bill marks the passage of the Senate’s eighth and ninth funding bill this year – the fastest pace the Senate has worked to complete its work on appropriations since 1988.

“This bipartisan bill prioritizes the rebuilding of our military, improving readiness and investing in future technologies through increased funding for basic research, missile defense and hypersonics, all of which are needed to defend our nation,” said Senator Sullivan.

The Defense appropriations bill contains a total of $675 billion in defense spending – $607.1 billion in regular, non-emergency budget authority and $67.9 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) budget authority. The package funds many of the critical investments and priorities authorized in the recent FY 19 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), including funding for the largest pay raise for our troops in nearly 10 years (2.6 percent) and increases towards military end strength, modernization and readiness.

Notable bill provisions Senator Sullivan advocated for include:

Missile Defense: The bill adds $1.2 billion to the President’s request for missile defense – for a total of $11.1 billion for the Missile Defense Agency – to respond to increased threats including advanced capabilities being developed by rogue nations and emerging threats such as hypersonic glide vehicles.

“By boosting funding for the Missile Defense Agency, Congress continues to show the critical importance of developing and strengthening our missile defense system – which protects Americans, our deployed forces, and our allies,” said Senator Sullivan.

  • $421.8 million to continue the development of the Improved Homeland Defense Interceptor, also known as the Redesigned Kill Vehicle, to make homeland defenses more robust and help address the evolving threat.
  • $130 million to require the MDA to accelerate the Hypersonic Missile Defense Program and requires that it be deployed in conjunction with a persistent space-based missile defense sensor program.
  • $120.9 million for Ballistic Missile Defense System Space Programs supporting the continued development of a missile defense tracking system in space.
  • $72.6 million for Missile Defense Testing recommending that MDA should continue to pursue a more rigorous testing regime that more rapidly delivers capabilities to the warfighter as the threat evolves.
    • $316.8 million for Technology Maturation Initiatives including $85,000,000 above the budget request to continue research and development of three separate laser scaling efforts with the goal of demonstrating a 500 kilowatt laser by 2021, and a best of breed of 1 megawatt laser capability by 2023.

Pay Raise and End Strength: $144 billion for military pay and supports a 2.6 percent annual pay raise for all troops. The bill increases active duty troop levels by 6,961 over fiscal year 2018 levels to 1,329,461 soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines.  

Allies and Partners: $300 million for cooperative programs with Israel, in light of the growing threats to their nation, to support a joint U.S.-Israel Arrow 3 Upper Tier flight test at a U.S. test range to validate advanced Arrow Weapons System operational capabilities.

Research and Development: Appropriates $96.3 billion for research and development, an increase of $7.1 billion above the fiscal year 2018 level.  Increases science and technology funding by $1.8 billion. Increases funding above the president’s request in a number of areas identified as high priority for the DOD, including cyberspace, artificial intelligence, hypersonic, and space capabilities.

Alaska-Related Items:

USAF Procurement: $8.5 billion for 89 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, $0.8 billion and 12 aircraft above the president’s budget request including $4 billion for 48 F-35A fighters for the Air Force. Recently, Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska was selected as a preferred alternative for Pacific Air Force’s first two F-35 squadrons and this funding is vital to ensuring that these squadrons arrive on time at Eielson AFB in late 2019.

Missile Defense Procurement: $565 million for Missile Defense Procurement and Advanced Procurement to address emergency warfighting readiness requirements of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense weapon system, including the operational and support facilities at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. This funding is critical to fielding 20 Redesigned Kill Vehicle-tipped Ground Based Interceptors at Fort Greely and a new 20-silo missile field by 2023.

Research and Development: $359.2 million to support Ballistic Missile Defense sensors reaffirming that the U.S. should continue to explore and deploy capabilities that increase the layered defense of the United States homeland. The current sensors, including the U.S. Air Force Cobra Dane radar in Shemya, Alaska, and the Early Warning Radar in Clear, Alaska, allows the U.S. to detect and track threat missiles through all phases of their trajectory.

Civil Air Patrol: $33.6 million for Civil Air Patrol Operations (CAP) ensures that the CAP has the funding it requires for all of its essential missions so they do not have to reduce emergency response support to the Air Force, DoD, FEMA, every state, and thousands of communities.  This bill also provides $10.8 million for CAP procurement to account for critical needs.  Insufficient aircraft procurement funding forces CAP to rely on less mission-capable aircraft that do not meet all mission requirements for their federal and state homeland security, search and rescue, and disaster relief missions. 

Training: $1.28 billion for Air Operations Training to include fighter lead-in training, combat mission and advanced tactical training for aircrew, and missile launch training for ballistic missile crews. This funding also supports 21 air-to-ground ranges, including the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, and air-to-air training operations and combat training exercises, including the annual Red Flag-Alaska exercise held at Eielson Air Force Base.

Combat Training Ranges: $236 million for Combat Training Ranges as modernizing and improving our nations’ training ranges is instrumental in preparing our armed forces to fight in contested operations against near-peer competitors.  This increased funding for combat training ranges is an initial step in improving all Air Force ranges, including the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex (JPARC) so it can provide realistic training to Alaskan current and future 5th generation fighters (over 100 5th Generation fighters by 2020) as well as joint and coalition partners at large-scale, high-end exercises such as Red Flag-Alaska and Northern Edge.

IRT:  $27.5 million for Innovative Readiness Training – a $10 million increase over the President’s Budget – which contributes directly to military readiness and provides realistic combat support and combat service support training for National Guard and Reserve members.

Equipment Modernization: $630 million to continue research and development for the replacement of the aging USAF HH-60 Pave Hawk, modified for Combat Search and Rescue in all-weather situations.