Friday, February 23, 2024

Defense Legislation with Louisiana priorities secured by Congressman Johnson passes through House

by BIZ Magazine

WASHINGTON ­­­— United States Representative Mike Johnson (LA-04) today voted in support of the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, which passed the House of Representatives by a bipartisan vote.

The legislation funds major priorities for our country’s national defense and for Louisiana’s 4th Congressional District, which is home to Barksdale Air Force Base, Fort Polk and the Joint Readiness Training Center, and the Louisiana National Guard Training Site at Camp Minden. These provisions include:

NDAA Top-Lines:

  • Increases pay for servicemembers, increases parental leave, and extends military recruitment and retention bonuses.
  • Directs National Guard resources toward our southern border and declares the record number of illegal crossings this year a national security crisis.
  • Holds the Biden Administration accountable for the Afghanistan withdrawal, including an accounting of all Americans left behind and an itemized list of the U.S. military equipment left in the country.
  • Counters Chinese Communist Party aggression by requiring the Department of Defense to reduce its reliance on Chinese goods, and prohibits the Department from using taxpayer dollars to conduct research within any entity controlled by the CCP.

Barksdale Air Force Base:

  • $40 million for the construction of a weapons generation facility (WGF). This first installment to construct a WGF will ensure Barksdale’s B-52s can be loaded with their nuclear payloads at Barksdale rather than at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.
  • $36 million for the construction of a new gate and entrance complex that will accommodate traffic from the newly constructed I-20/I-220 interchange.

Fort Polk and the Joint Readiness Training Center:

  • $56 million for the construction of a new barracks that will drastically improve the housing provided to servicemembers stationed at the installation.
  • $55 million for the construction of a new joint operations center (JOC), which serves as the command and control hub for training rotations. The current JOC was originally constructed in the early 1960s as a classroom and is inadequate to meet the rigorous training demands of the Army.

Camp Minden:

  • $13.8 million for the construction of a new barracks that will drastically improve the housing on site.

Air Force B-52 Program:

  • $649.3 million for B-52 sustainment, modernization, operations, and maintenance.

Air Force Air-Launched Cruise Missile:

  • $47.3 million for the development of a new air-launched cruise missile that will ensure the B-52 remains a viable nuclear deterrent and will keep the aircraft flying for decades to come.

Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications Modernization:

  • $33.4 million to upgrade the decades-old systems that are used to communicate with and direct nuclear bombers like the ones stationed at Barksdale.

“I am so grateful that we were able to secure major priorities for our military installations in the Fourth Congressional District in this year’s NDAA, which will help keep our country safe from adversaries like Russia and China,” Johnson said. “I am proud that a large bipartisan group of colleagues came together to pass this bill through the House.”

During the House Armed Services Committee markup, Congressman Johnson also successfully added two amendments to the legislation — an amendment that would ensure servicemembers and their families are properly counted in the census, and an amendment requiring U.S. intelligence agencies to produce an unclassified report on the true origins of COVID-19.

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