McCain Releases Statement on Arizona Defense Priorities in Vital Legislation
Dec 08 2016
Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate today overwhelmingly passed with a vote of 92-7 the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (NDAA). The legislation, championed by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ), authorizes critical support for America’s national defense, service members, and military families. The bill will now be sent to President Obama for his signature. Chairman McCain released the following statement on provisions in the NDAA that are of significant importance to the Arizona’s defense community:
“Arizona has a rich history supporting our military service members and national security, and I’m proud that this year’s national defense bill once again recognizes that unique and essential role,” said Chairman McCain. “In addition to advancing major reforms to the Defense Department and reinvesting savings into greater resources, training and pay raises for our troops, this bill ensures Arizona will continue to make important contributions to our national defense. From keeping the A-10 at Davis-Monthan and elsewhere flying combat missions against ISIL, to maintaining the last search and rescue unit in the country at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, and strengthening security and drug interdiction efforts on our southern border, the NDAA will provide Arizona’s military community the support they need to rise to the challenges of a more dangerous world.”
Leaders from Davis-Monthan 50 and the Southern Arizona Defense Alliance also praised Chairman McCain for leading passage of this legislation:
“On behalf of the DM50 and the entire Tucson community, we are so pleased with the announcement of the passing of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2017,” said Bob Logan, President of Davis-Monthan 50 (DM50). “What does this mean specifically for Davis-Monthan AFB and the Tucson region? It means that two of our signature flying missions — the A-10 as well as the EC130H Compass Call – are preserved at Davis-Monthan for the foreseeable future. This is not only good for Tucson and DM, but much more importantly, it is good for our national defense. The A-10 is still playing a significant role in close-air support in theaters all over the world, and the EC130H electronic jamming mission is absolutely critical in protecting our troops on the ground. What does the NDAA passing mean for the Tucson economy? It means that one of the three largest employers in this region, Raytheon Missile Systems, will continue to thrive with the announcement of a doubling of the budget to build additional missiles from multiple platforms. What does this mean for the people of our region? It means that this major defense industry from all across Southern Arizona — from Yuma to Tucson to Sierra Vista — will continue to grow and thrive. A special thanks needs to be extended to Senator John McCain for his tireless efforts to push this initiative through to the finish line. Speaking strictly from a Tucson and Davis-Monthan perspective, we truly appreciate his work on bringing this to fruition.”
“The Southern Arizona Defense Alliance acknowledges the leadership of the members of the Arizona congressional delegation who are on the Armed Services Committee, including Chairman and Arizona's Senator John McCain, in producing and passing the National Defense Authorization Act of FY2017,” said Larry Lucero, President of the Southern Arizona Defense Alliance (SADA). “SADA truly appreciates the Chairman’s support for Arizona’s military installations, including Davis Monthan Air Force Base, the U.S. Army's Fort Huachuca, and Marine Corp Air Station Yuma and Yuma Army Proving Ground – whose community support organizations are all members of SADA. In a time of increasing global uncertainty, Chairman McCain’s steadfast leadership is a national asset.”
ARIZONA-RELATED DEFENSE PRIORITIES IN THE FY17 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT
KEEPING THE A-10 FLYING AT DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE
The NDAA once again prevents the premature retirement of the A-10 Warthog, which continues its vital role in the fight against ISIL and supporting NATO’s efforts in Eastern Europe to deter Russian aggression. Despite the Obama Administration’s repeated attempts to retire the A-10 fleet, the NDAA fully funds the flight hours, pilot training, fuel, maintenance and ammunition for all A-10s for the upcoming year. The NDAA also prohibits any retirement of A-10 aircraft until Air Force senior leaders provide an assessment of the outcome of F-35A operational testing with regard to its suitability to accomplish current A-10 missions by ensuring comparison testing between the two aircraft.
PRESERVING THE EC-130H COMPASS CALL ELECTRONIC ATTACK FLEET AT DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE
The NDAA fully funds the EC-130H Compass Call electronic attack airplanes stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson. Last year’s NDAA prohibited the Air Force from retiring the EC-130H Compass Call for another year. These jamming and surveillance aircraft are critical to protecting our ground troops from sophisticated electronic attacks in conflicts across the Middle East such as Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan as well as against potential threats in the Pacific and Europe. The NDAA also authorizes the Air Force to proceed with recapitalization of the EC-130H Compass Call fleet to a more capable and efficient aircraft platform.
TRAINING THE NEXT-GENERATION OF FIGHTER PILOTS
The NDAA funds 63 F-35 fighter jets for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. Luke Air Force Base and Marine Corps Air Station Yuma will provide unparalleled training at the Barry Goldwater Range complex for many of America and our allies’ next-generation of fighter pilots.
MAINTAINING SEARCH AND RESCUE CAPABILITY IN YUMA
The NDAA prohibits the Marine Corps from retiring the last search and rescue unit in the country at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma. This unique search and rescue mission provides critical assistance not only for military air operations, but also for civilian and local law enforcement in the region. More than half of all Marine aviation sorties are flown out of MCAS Yuma, which necessitates keeping this asset for safety reasons for our military pilots as well as for local needs.
ENHANCING ROLE OF ARIZONA’S MILITARY INDUSTRY
The NDAA ensures that Arizona’s defense industry continues to manufacture and innovate new weapons systems and defense technologies that our troops need to defend and protect the nation:
- Directs a study of increased utilization of excess solid rocket motors currently being stored in Arizona for new space launch opportunities.
- Fully funds the Army’s request of $1.14 billion for 52 Apache helicopters to be remanufactured at Boeing in Mesa and authorizes the Army to enter into a long-term contract with Boeing for Apaches. This will provide Mesa with stability and predictability for Apache manufacturing for several years and save critical taxpayer dollars.
- Directs the Air Force to increase the use of commercial and next-generation communications satellite constellations provided by Arizona’s satellite industry.
- Requires the Army to plan for the growth of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) throughout the military, including the increased use of training resources and ranges at Fort Huachuca.
- Nearly doubles the budget for Raytheon to manufacture 96 additional Tomahawk missiles for a total of 196 missiles in 2017 and over 500 Sidewinder missiles which will be manufactured at Raytheon in Tucson.
- Fully funds the Navy’s request for 125 SM-6 missiles to be developed and produced at Raytheon in Tucson.
- Fully funds the Navy’s request for 2 Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA) airborne payloads that will enable Navy units to detect sea mines.
- Increases funding to the Missile Defense Agency to procure 35 SM-3 Block IB missiles, which are engineered and developed in Arizona.
SUPPORTING NEW MILITARY CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS
The NDAA provides much-needed funding for military construction projects in Arizona, including:
- Luke Air Force Base, Phoenix: $20 million for F-35 Flightline Operations and Maintenance Facilities;
- Fort Huachuca, Sierra Vista: $1.87 million at Fort Huachuca for communications facility renovations for the Defense Information Systems Agency; and
- Army Reserve, Phoenix: $30 million for a new Army Reserve Center in Phoenix that will meet force protection and training standards. This will support more than 600 Army Reservists in the Phoenix area.
STRENGTHENING BORDER SECURITY
- Requires the Department of Defense to coordinate with the Department of Homeland Security on military training operations in Arizona and along the southern border, which will enhance the military’s ability to share information and intelligence collected during training that could benefit the drug interdiction and border security operations of the Department of Homeland Security and civilian law enforcement. These provisions will not only increase military readiness, but also help Arizona to stop illegal drug trafficking and secure its borders through enhanced intelligence and information sharing.
- Requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to develop metrics to measure the effectiveness of security along the border, including at ports of entry, between ports of entry, and in the maritime environment. These metrics will enhance the ability to more accurately assess progress in securing the border by using consistent and robust performance measures and will help inform how our border security capabilities can be most effectively employed.
- Authorizes the creation of Department of Homeland Security Joint Task Forces to enhance situational awareness of threats and trends concerning illicit trafficking and to more effectively conduct joint operations to secure the land and maritime borders of the United States.
- Codifies the authority of the Secretary of Defense to provide support to federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement for countering drug smuggling and transnational organized crime operations.
STRENGTHENING ARIZONA MILITARY COMMUNITIES AND FAMILIES
The NDAA funds $30 million in supplemental impact aid to local educational agencies with military dependent children and $5 million in impact aid for schools with military dependent children with severe disabilities in Arizona and around the nation.