News Releases

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Isakson: Defense Bill Passage Means Stronger Military, Safer Nation

Georgia-based military priorities included, preserves JSTARS program

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today voted for the final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to equip the U.S. armed forces and personnel with the resources they need to protect America and counter global threats.

The fiscal year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act passed the U.S. Senate unanimously today, and it benefits Georgia’s more than a dozen military installations. The measure includes pay increases for service members and an increase in troop numbers, providing military leaders with additional forces needed to carry out critical mission assignments and confront threats to our nation.

“After years of presidential vetoes of similar legislation to fund our military, it is gratifying to know that this critical authorization is increasing our military strength and that the president will sign it into law,” said Isakson. “Our service members put everything on the line for our security, and I’m glad that they’ll receive a pay raise. This legislation addresses many of the needs our military has long needed and will provide stronger security.”

Georgia is the home to critical assets in our national defense. From cutting edge capabilities such as cyber warfare, to strategic defense platforms like Ohio-class submarines, to Armor Brigade Combat Teams, and intelligence assets like the E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) program, Georgia heavily contributes to our national efforts to project power and strength.

The National Defense Authorization Act provides the requested funding authorization and provisions introduced by Isakson and U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., to preserve the Georgia-based JSTARS mission, prevent the U.S. Air Force from retiring the program and require that it move forward with recapitalization of that critical intelligence platform.

Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, in Camden County, Ga., which is home to the Ohio-class nuclear-powered submarines, would receive the requested funding authorization for continued construction of their replacement, the Columbia-class submarine. Isakson has led funding requests for the replacement program, which must begin by 2021, arguing that delays will only result in increased threats to the U.S. and allies, as well as higher long-term costs

Authorization for funding for the critical A-10 Thunderbolt II mission based out of Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Ga., and Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Ga., is also provided for in the legislation.

Cybersecurity plays an increasingly important role in national defense, and the National Defense Authorization Act authorizes an increase in funding for cyber operations.

Additionally, the NDAA includes good news for the Savannah River Site near Augusta, Ga. It requires that the U.S. Department of Energy would have to continue building the MOX facility for surplus weapons-grade plutonium disposal in South Carolina unless it can identify an alternate plutonium disposal method with less than half the estimated remaining life cycle cost.

Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Ga., would also be able to enter into private and commercial use agreements, another provision supported by Isakson.

Earlier in the week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the legislation, which was the result of the joint House-Senate conference committee where negotiators worked out differences between the bills. The NDAA now goes to the president’s desk for his signature to become law.