News Releases

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Chambliss, Isakson Announce Senate Passage of Defense Authorization Bill

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., praised final passage of the Fiscal Year 2006 Defense Authorization Conference Report, which authorizes important funds for our Nation's military forces, Georgia's military bases, and weapons systems built or partially built in Georgia.  The bill also authorizes funding for the Department of Defense (DOD) and the national security programs of the Department of Energy.

The bill will now go to the President for his consideration and signature.   

"Georgia's thirteen military installations and the service-members stationed on them play a critical role in the national security of the United States," said Chambliss.  "In addition, many of Georgia's citizens make their living building the most cutting-edge weapon systems in the world.  This bill's passage will help ensure their jobs stay in Georgia while providing the necessary resources to our military forces in Georgia and worldwide."

"Georgia is a big winner in this Defense Authorization bill, thanks in large part to Senator Chambliss' work on the Committee," Isakson said. "This legislation sets the priorities for our nation's military needs and I am proud of the strong commitment it shows to Georgia."

Senator Chambliss helped secure a provision that would require the Department of Defense to notify the public when they waive the Berry Amendment and buy textiles from foreign sources.  "This provision protects the domestic textile industry and helps ensure that the Department of Defense gives serious consideration to purchasing the quality textiles Georgia's manufacturers produce before looking to foreign sources," said Chambliss. 

Funding for GA specific programs includes:            

  • C-37 - $45 million for one aircraft to be made by Gulfstream in Savannah.
  • F/A-22- $3.7 billion for 25 aircraft, the full funding requested by the President.
  • C-130J - restoration of the multi-year contract for the C-130J program based on a Chambliss Amendment to the bill that restores the appropriate funding in FY06. 
  • Authority to enter into a follow-on C-17 multi-year contract to buy 42 additional C-17s built partially at the Boeing facility in Macon.
  • JSTARS program - $13 million to initiate a re-engineering program for the E-8C Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) aircraft.
  • SSGN Conversions- $344 million to convert strategic ballistic missile submarines to tactical missile submarines.  Two of these submarines will be stationed at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay.
  • C-5 Avionics Modernization Program - $88 million for modifications to C-5 aircraft which will replace outdated engine flight instruments and flight system components with state of the art technology, and initiate a re-engining program for the C-5 fleet.

Funding for Georgia military construction projects includes:   

  • $30.3 million - Fort Benning
  • $84.6 million - Fort Stewart
  • $66 million - Fort Gordon
  • $6.9 million - Kings Bay
  • $7.6 million - Robins Air Force Base
  • $7.2 million - Georgia Air National Guard
  • $5.8 million- Marine Corps Logistics Base
  • $3.9 million- Fort Gillem   

Additionally, the bill includes a provision sponsored by Senator Chambliss authorizing $10 million per year in financial assistance for 2006 to 2008 to communities, like the Fort Benning/Great Columbus and Fort Stewart/Hinesville areas, that experience a large influx of military dependent students as a result of global rebasing, activating of new units, or the base closure process.  The bill also includes language, sponsored by Senator Chambliss, that encourages DoD, the Department of Education, and local education agencies to work together to accommodate the large influx of students to communities surrounding military bases that will experience large growth.  The bill requires the Department of Defense to submit a plan to Congress that outlines how they will work with communities and other branches of the Federal Government to proactively prepare for these large influxes of students.

The bill includes a Chambliss-sponsored pilot program for establishing early childhood literacy programs, like the well-known "Reach Out and Read" program at military installations.  This will allow expansion of this very successful program onto military bases and provide an additional benefit to our men and women in uniform.

The bill also recognizes that the Department of Defense, industry, and Congress must work together to ensure the defense industry remains globally competitive and attracts new generations of scientists, engineers, and other skilled workers.  To that end, the bill encourages DoD and industry to work closely together to maintain stable funding for core production capabilities, maintain a stable science and technology budget, interact with universities to build a skilled defense workforce, provide incentives for small businesses to participate in the defense sector, and eliminate obstacles in the export licensing process.

The bill also includes many provisions that recognize the importance of our servicemembers:

  • A 3.1 percent across-the-board pay raise for all uniformed service personnel
  • An increase in housing allowance for service members
  • An increase from $250,000 to $400,000 the maximum amount of coverage available under the Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance program.
  • Authorizing government-subsidized access to TRICARE Standard for every member of the Selected Reserve who commits to continued service in the Selected Reserve and the member's family.
  • Accelerated to 2009 the phase-in of full concurrent receipt for military retirees who are rated as 100 percent disabled by determination of individual unemployability.
  • Authorized payment of over 20 types of bonuses and special pays aimed at encouraging enlistment, reenlistment, and continued service by active-duty and Reserve military personnel.
  • Authorized increases in maximum amounts of assignment incentive pay and hardship duty pay.
  • Authorized a $60.0 million increase in child care and family assistance services to active-duty and Reserve military families.
  • Authorized an increase to $100,000 in the death gratuity allowance payable to survivors of all active duty military decedents, including retroactive payment to October 7, 2001, the date of commencement of Operation Enduring Freedom.
  • Directed establishment of comprehensive Department policies to improve assistance to survivors of military personnel killed on active duty and to families of seriously injured or wounded service members.
  • Make permanent the extension of time survivors may continue to occupy government quarters or receive basic allowance for housing.