Annual Defense Bill Passes the Senate; Includes Multiple Priorities for Georgia Secured by Senator Reverend Warnock

Annual legislation authorizing Department of Defense programs and components of Department of Energy operations passed the Senate on Wednesday 88-11

Senator Reverend Warnock successfully ensured the bill contains almost $320M in military construction funding for Georgia

Legislation includes bipartisan provision secured by Senator Revered Warnock to help address military spousal un- and underemployment

Senator Reverend Warnock’s bipartisan Chaplains Memorial Preservation Act also included in defense legislation

Senator Reverend Warnock fought to ensure the bill prevents federal funds from being used to retire Moody AFB’s A-10 fighter plane fleet

Additionally, Senator Reverend Warnock worked to guarantee the bill supports continued production and use of the C-130 transport plane, which is critical to national security and Georgia

Senator Reverend Warnock: “I’m glad that so many of the vital projects I pushed for to bolster our national security and Georgia’s central role in our nation’s military readiness made its way in this year’s NDAA”

ICYMI from the AJC – Warnock looks to make his mark on first Defense bill:  “Warnock is working to keep Georgia’s clout as a leading state for military missions and spending, even as Georgia heads into the end-of-year Defense policy debate without a Georgian on the Senate Armed Services Committee for just the third time since 1946.”

Washington, D.C. — On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate passed the FY 22 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the annual legislation needed to authorize the Department of Defense’s programs and a component of Department of Energy operations. U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) voted in favor of the legislation, which includes a number of critical priorities for Georgia military installations championed by the Senator, from raising pay for servicemembers to authorizing federal funding for construction on Georgia’s military installations, and other investments and policies that benefit Georgia’s servicemembers, military families, and defense communities.

Since being sworn into the United States Senate in January 2021, Senator Warnock has been a strong and committed advocate in Washington for strengthening federal investments and policies that benefit Georgia’s military installations, servicemembers, and military families.

“­­­­­­­I have a tough-minded view of the world. We have to be able to protect the homeland, and we have to be able to restrain evil in the world,” said Senator Reverend Warnock. “I’m glad that so many of the vital projects I pushed for to bolster our national security and Georgia’s central role in our nation’s military readiness made its way in this year’s NDAA. From ensuring our servicemembers are taken care of while making tremendous sacrifices around the world, to modernizing the facilities our servicemembers call home in Georgia, to guaranteeing our military continues to use operationally critical platforms  like the A-10 fighter plane and the C-130J, this bill delivers big for Georgia. I have crisscrossed our state, meeting with our base leaders, servicemembers, their families, and the incredible Georgia communities who support them across Georgia, and I’m confident this year’s NDAA will help them accomplish their missions.”

Key Highlights for Georgia:

Military Pay Raise: 2.7 percent pay raise for both military servicemembers and the DOD civilian workforce. Senator Warnock also joined efforts urging leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services committees to maintain a provision in the House bill authorizing a basic needs allowance for low-income servicemembers, which is identical to S.1488, the Military Hunger Prevention Act, which Senator Warnock cosponsored.

Military Construction: In total, the bill authorizes $317M in funding for military construction, repairs and building revitalization on Georgia’s installations, including:

  • Fort Benning: $17.5M for the development of a microgrid, $62M for a Special Operations Forces (SOF) battalion headquarters, and $13.2M for new barracks.
  • Fort Stewart: $105M for new barracks and $22M for an energy plant with microgrid.
    • In the current Senate military construction appropriations bill, Senator Warnock fought for and secured $5M to complete planning and design of these barracks through his Congressionally-directed spending request.
  • Robins AFB: $6M for building development at Robins AFB.
  • King’s Bay Naval Submarine Base: $19.3M for electrical transmission and distribution.
  • Fort Gordon: $69M for a Cyber Instructional Facility and $3.67 for the Cyber Center of Excellence School Headquarters and Classrooms planning and design.
    • In the current Senate military construction appropriations bill, Senator Warnock led efforts to secure $3.67M for the Cyber Center of Excellence School Headquarters and Classrooms through his Congressionally-directed spending request.

A-10 fighter plane: The bill prevents funds in the bill from being used to retire any of the A-10 fighter plane fleet. This is important to Moody AFB in Valdosta, home of the Flying Tigers. Senator Warnock visited Moody AFB in August 2021 and raised concerns about future missions at Moody AFB during an October meeting with Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall III.

C-130 transport fleet: The bill ensures that the U.S. Air Force cannot lower the total number of tactical airlift aircraft below a number that guarantees continued production and use of the C-130 transport plane, which is critical to national security and Georgia. The plane is built at the historic Lockheed Martin facility in Marietta, and flown by the Georgia Air National Guard in Savannah. Senator Warnock visited the Marietta facility in June 2021 to underscore the importance of this aircraft and has received commitment from Secretary Kendall that eight C-130Js remain on track to come to Savannah and that Georgia “will play a key role in our future force design, in particular with respect to…the C-130J fleet.”

Technology & Innovation: Due to Senator Warnock’s urging, the Senate bill report includes language directing the Defense Department to continue supporting technological innovations in small unit robotics integration and artificial intelligence projects at Fort Benning and Robins AFB.

Supporting Military Spouses & Families: Senator Warnock successfully included a bipartisan amendment in the legislation to help the Defense Department address the needs of military spouse employment by directing the Department to collect data on rates of prevalence of military spouse un and underemployment, as well as possible and known inhibitors to spouse employment. Improving military spouse employment ease and opportunity is critical to addressing other challenges facing military families, like food insecurity.

Basic Allowance for Housing

Senator Warnock also championed language in the Senate bill report that directs the Defense Department to examine their methodology for determining the basic allowance for housing (BAH) for servicemembers. This language is important to ensuring servicemembers and their families can find a safe, suitable and accessible place to live near their assigned post. During his in-state travels Senator Warnock has heard concerns about misaligned BAH at several Georgia bases, including Fort Benning and Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base, and has urged the Senate Armed Services Committee to address these concerns.

Chaplains Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery: Senator Warnock also secured inclusion of his bipartisan Chaplains Memorial Preservation Act, S.1850, which he introduced with Senator John Boozman (R-AR). This provision permits the Secretary of the Army to allow the National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces to update certain memorials at Arlington National Cemetery with the names of chaplains who have died while serving on Active Duty.

Full fact sheet on Georgia priorities secured in the bill available HERE.