News Releases

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Isakson Praises Senate Passage of Measure to Fund National Defense

Defense bill includes critical Georgia priorities

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today voted in support of critical legislation that authorizes funding for our service men and women, as well as providing for facilities and weapons in support of our national defense.

The National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA for short, passed the Senate by a vote of 85-13. It includes policies to support our wounded warriors, active duty troops, members of the National Guard and Reserve, and their families. It provides an increase in base pay and combat pay for service members, as well as procurement of the tools and equipment necessary to combat the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and numerous threats around the world.

“The National Defense Authorization Act accomplishes just what it ought to: It funds our troops, our veterans and their families, and it helps ensure that our military has the resources it needs to protect our national security interests around the world,” said Isakson. “The horrific events that took place over the weekend in Orlando confirm that threats to our homeland are growing continuously, and the United States must stand as a world leader. A strong United States military protects peace through strength. President Obama should recognize that fact now more than ever. Last year’s presidential veto of this critical legislation was absolutely shameful, and I urge the president not to play politics with our service members or our national defense.”

As home to more than a dozen military installations, Georgia is a key beneficiary of the National Defense Authorization Act. The defense bill prohibits additional rounds of a Base Realignment and Closure Commission in fiscal year 2017. It also includes funding for, while also prohibiting the retirement of, the A-10 Thunderbolt II, which is an important mission at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Ga., and Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Ga.

“I have fought to ensure that Georgia’s military priorities are included in this measure,” said Isakson. “Our state is home to key components in our national defense, and I committed to fighting to make sure we continue to receive the support necessary to accomplish its mission.”

The U.S. House of Representatives passed its own NDAA in May, and the two fiscal year 2017 defense authorization measures will now go to a joint House-Senate conference committee where negotiators will work out differences between the bills.

Specifically, Isakson supported the following items included in the Senate bill:

Isakson fought to ensure the fiscal year 2017 NDAA includes language that prohibits the retirement of the A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. Senator Isakson and the Georgia Congressional delegation remain in lock-step in their opposition to retiring the A-10 aircraft until a replacement becomes fully operational, which they argue could jeopardize our nation’s close-air support capabilities and the safety of American service members.

Base Closure and Realignment Commission
The NDAA includes language supported by Isakson that prohibits additional rounds of base realignment and closure in fiscal year 2017. Isakson firmly believes we need to invest in and rebuild our military, not reduce personnel and close bases.

Overseas Contingency Operations funding increase
Senator Isakson voted in favor of an amendment to increase defense authorization by $18 billion in the Overseas Contingency Operations account. Unfortunately, the amendment failed to pass. The increase would have potentially funded an increase in military pay over 2.1 percent, fully funded U.S. troops engaged in the Afghanistan fight, stopped cuts to service end-strength, funded recommendations of the National Commission on the Future of U.S. Army and supported the Navy’s shipbuilding programs, among other top defense priorities.

Guantanamo Bay
The National Defense Authorization Act provides funding to keep Guantanamo Bay prison open and operational. Isakson also cosponsored an amendment that unfortunately did not receive a vote during Senate consideration that would have required the Secretary of Defense to make available to the public the intended transfer or release of detainees not later than 21 days before transfer or release. Isakson continues to strongly oppose the closure of Guantanamo Bay and he adamantly disapproves of any effort to transfer or release of these dangerous terrorists to the United States.