Senator Reverend Warnock Secures Major Priorities for Georgia Servicemembers, Military Families, and Base Communities in Annual Defense Bill 

Legislation contains key provisions of Senator Reverend Warnock’s Love Lives On Act,which expands the benefits of surviving spouses of fallen servicemembers

A vocal advocate for Georgia’s veterans, military families, and servicemembers, Senator Reverend Warnock has long worked to strengthen federal support for the state’s military communities

Georgia is home to roughly 70,000 active duty service members and 27,000 reservists

Senator Reverend Warnock: I’ve been committed to working to advance policies and investments in the annual defense bill that will benefit Georgia servicemembers and military installations, and beyond”

Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) 87-13, sending the bill to the House of Representatives and then the President’s desk to become law. The legislation includes numerous investments and policy reforms secured by U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), including new benefits for spouses of deceased military members, a 5.2% pay raise for military servicemembers, and hundreds of millions of federal dollars for Georgia’s military bases and communities. Priorities Senator Warnock secured in the NDAA ensure Georgia will continue playing a critical role in America’s national security for years to come.

“Georgia is a military state—one in ten Georgians is connected to the military. So as a voice for our state in the Senate, and the proud son of a veteran, I’ve been committed to working to advance policies and investments in the annual defense bill that will benefit Georgia servicemembers and military installations, and beyond,” said Senator Reverend Warnock. “I’m proud this legislation includes a provision I have been proud to champion—expanding the benefits of surviving spouses of fallen servicemembers. My message to Georgia’s servicemembers and military families is clear: I’ve got your back.”

As the U.S. faces a growing set of national security challenges, our military must have the sufficient resources, training, and capabilities needed to keep our country safe. To that end, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) authorizes funding levels for critical military programs and provides authorities for the U.S. military and other critical defense priorities. A champion for Georgia’s veterans, military families and servicemembers, Senator Warnock has been active in the Senate working to strengthen federal support for Georgia’s military communities. Last year, Senator Warnock helped to pass the PACT Act, the largest expansion of veterans’ health benefits in decades. Additionally, this summer Senator Warnock introduced bipartisan legislation to bolster access to affordable and quality housing for servicemembers. 

See below key highlights of Georgia priorities Senator Warnock secured in the annual defense bill:

Servicemember Pay Raise:

  • The bill provides for a 5.2 percent pay raise for both military servicemembers and the Department of Defense (DOD) civilian workforce. 

Strengthening Georgia’s military installations and base communities:

The bill will authorize:

  • $74.5 million to support an electrical infrastructure project at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay to increase energy resilience at the installation.
  • $73 million for the construction of a Cyber Instructional Facility at Fort Eisenhower (Gordon).
  • $115 million for a project to build a combined battle management facility at Robins Air Force Base to support strategic mission unit being established at Robins.
  • Construction of a generator and microgrid at Fort Moore, Fort Stewart, and Hunter Army airfield, helping to increase the energy resilience of the installations.
  • $40 million for construction of a new Army Reserve Readiness Center at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany to provide a safe and functional facility for Reservists to train in.
  • $500,000 for the design of a new school at Fort Moore to provide military dependent children the best facilities to learn and grow in.
  • $8.66 million for the planning and design of multiple hangars at Fort Stewart to replace dilapidated and unsafe existing infrastructure, ensuring our servicemembers have a healthy and safe environment to work in.
  • $64 million for a new communications facility at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany to enable the base to perform advanced missions of the future.
  • A provision championed by Senator Warnock that requires the Air Force to maintain 153 A-10 aircraft in its inventory. This provision protects Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta from further A-10 divestments this year as the base prepares to receive a future F-35 mission that the Air Force recently announced. 

Improving Base Housing and Base Housing Access:

  • The legislation modifies and improves the calculation of basic allowance for housing rates for junior enlisted members.
  • The bill also authorizes improvements to the quality and oversight of military enlisted barracks, including replacing substandard barracks and requiring that enlisted housing meets the same basic standards as all other military housing. 
  • Authorizes $50 million for military privatized housing improvements at Fort Eisenhower.
  • $1.32 million for the design of a new barracks at Camp Merrill to ensure servicemembers have a safe place to live while attending training.

Expanding benefits for surviving spouses: 

  • The Senate adopted provisions from Senator Warnock’s bipartisan Love Lives On Act in the NDAA. The provision restores surviving spouse access to miliary bases, their commissaries, and their morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) retail stores for those who lost access due to remarriage, ensuring they can maintain their connection to the communities they have sacrificed so much to be a part of. 

Cyber workforce development: 

  • Senator Warnock successfully secured an amendment which would authorize $10 million dollars to enhance cooperation between DOD and academic institutions to enhance the cyber workforce talent pipeline at DOD. This provision would bolster operations and talent at the Cyber Center of Excellence at Fort Eisenhower.
  • Senator Warnock also secured language encouraging DOD to partner with universities near military installations for cyber workforce development and recruiting, again benefiting Fort Eisenhower.

Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum Amendment:

  • Senator Warnock successfully included an amendment which will designate the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, located in Pooler Georgia, as a federally recognized national museum. The Mighty Eighth Air Force was stationed in Savannah during World War II and suffered about 47,000 casualties. 

Protecting the Savannah Combat Readiness Training Center (CRTC)

  • Senator Warnock successfully advocated for a provision which emphasizes the importance of CRTCs and requires DOD to inform Congress if it plans to change the operations of any CRTCs, helping ensure the Savannah CRTC remains open. 

Investing in eco-friendly facilities: 

  • This bill authorizes a $20 million increase in DOD funds to ensure environmental stewardship of training facilities and to protect them from the consequences of climate change. This investment will benefit all of Georgia’s military installations.

Read a full summary of the 2024 NDAA HERE.