Jun 18 2015
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today released the following statement on the U.S. Senate’s passage of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (NDAA) by a 71-25 vote, and the provisions within it that are important to Arizona’s continued contributions to defending America’s national security and to Arizona service members and military families:
“I am very proud that the Senate voted overwhelmingly today to pass the National Defense Authorization Act – important legislation that strengthens Arizona’s vital contributions to U.S. national security and improves the quality of life for our state’s service members and military families. As Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I worked for months on this legislation, which delivers some of the most sweeping reforms to the Defense Department in decades, ensuring that we make the best use of Arizonans’ limited tax dollars while providing our military men and women with the best training and equipment to fulfill their missions.
“Importantly, the NDAA would stop the Obama Administration from retiring any A-10s – many of which are stationed at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson – for the next fiscal year. The A-10 is the best close-air support aircraft in our nation’s arsenal, and currently plays an important role in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, as well as in NATO’s efforts to deter Russian aggression in Eastern Europe. The NDAA ensures we do not retire this important aircraft without fielding a suitable replacement.
“The NDAA is also a win for Arizona’s industrial base which produces many of the advanced defense technologies that allow our military to respond to current and future threats. In addition, it includes provisions that would enhance the security of Arizona’s southern border by ensuring American troops can anticipate and prevent attacks by terrorists and transnational criminal organizations.
“I am also proud of the Senate’s bipartisan vote to pass an amendment I offered with Senator Jeff Flake that would allow the Defense Department to cover travel costs of families of U.S. service members killed in overseas humanitarian actions to attend return-of-remains ceremonies at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Inspired by Marine Lance Corporal Jacob Hug from Phoenix, who was killed last month while on a humanitarian relief mission following the devastating earthquake in Nepal, this amendment would ensure that no American family ever has to pay out-of-pocket to witness the dignified transfer of a loved one’s remains.
“I have always been proud of the many contributions that Arizona’s service members and industrial base make to America’s national security. I am confident that through these and other provisions in the NDAA, our state will continue to play an outsized role in protecting and defending the nation. I look forward to working together with House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry to send a strong bill to the President’s desk.”
Arizona-Related Provisions in the Senate-Passed National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016:
- Prohibit the Air Force from retiring any A-10s and fully fund the flight hours, pilot training, fuel, and operations for all A-10s for FY16
- Require the Secretary of the Air Force to maintain a minimum of 171 A-10 combat-coded aircraft
- Direct the Government Accountability Office to conduct a review of the close-air support mission, including the feasibility of transferring the A-10 fleet to the Army and/or Marine Corps
- Prevent the Obama Administration from retiring half of the 15-plane EC-130H Compass Call electronic attack fleet stationed at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson
- Fully fund the President’s request for 64 Apache helicopters to be remanufactured at Boeing in Mesa
- Increase the President’s budget request to purchase 100 Tomahawk missiles by $30 million and 49 missiles, which will be manufactured at Raytheon in Tucson
- Help non-traditional defense contracting companies in Arizona by opening fair competition in the defense market and removing unnecessary red tape and bureaucracy
- Allow the transfer of approximately 125-200 unneeded mobile homes from the Department of Defense to Native American tribes – for which the Navajo and other tribes have long advocated – at no cost to the American taxpayer
- Fully fund the President’s request for important military construction projects in Arizona, including:
- $18.2 million at Davis-Monthan AFB for the Guardian Angel Operations Center
- $16.9 million at Davis-Monthan AFB for HC-130J storage and cleaning facilities
- $50.6 million at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma for aircraft maintenance facilities
- $33 million at Luke AFB for a squad operations facility
- $13.2 million at Luke AFB for an aircraft maintenance hangar
- $5.5 million at Luke AFB for a bomb build-up facility
- $5 million at Luke AFB for a fuel offloading facility
- $3.8 million at Fort Huachuca for communications facility renovations
- Provide $45 million for Operation Phalanx, which would increase border security operations by the National Guard along the southern border and could result in an approximately 60 percent increase in aerial surveillance of the region
- Direct the Secretary of Defense to provide up to $75 million in additional assistance to Customs and Border Protection operations to secure the southern border, which may include the deployment of personnel, surveillance assets, and intelligence support
- Authorize an additional $50 million to address U.S. Southern Command's unfunded priorities to increase surveillance and interdiction operations in Central America, a primary transit point for illicit trafficking into the United States
- Make the Army Field Manual the standard for all U.S. government personnel when interrogating foreign terrorist detainees, and guarantee the International Committee of the Red Cross access to foreign detainees held by the U.S. government, which is longstanding U.S. military practice
- Allow the Defense Department to fund travel for families of U.S. service members killed in overseas humanitarian actions to attend return-of-remains ceremonies at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware