Saturday, April 13, 2024

Johnson secures wins for Louisiana, fights back on the politicization of armed forces

by BIZ Magazine

United States Representative Mike Johnson (LA-04) commended the bipartisan passage of the Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on the House floor. The annual legislation includes funding for major priorities for the Louisiana defense community, particularly Barksdale Air Force Base, Air Force Global Strike Command, Fort Johnson, and the Joint Readiness Training Center.

The FY24 NDAA contains numerous provisions to strengthen our national security and gut the Biden Administration’s politicization of our military. The bill takes action to:

  • Roll back the administration’s unlawful abortion travel policy
  • Prohibit TRICARE and the DOD from covering and furnishing sex reassignment surgeries and gender hormone treatments for transgender individuals
  • Prohibit funds from being used for the teaching of CRT
  • Prohibit funds for any advisory committee dealing with race, gender identity, sexual orientation, or social justice
  • Provide a pathway back to the armed forces for servicemembers who refused to take the COVID vaccine

“This is the strongest, most strategic, and most conservative NDAA I’ve had the pleasure of working on and voting for during my time in Congress. In such uncertain times, it’s paramount that our armed forces are fully funded and equipped to maintain their status as the best in the world. Our soldiers shouldn’t be burdened with undue politicization from the Biden Administration and far Left indoctrination, and this year’s NDAA ensures that our armed forces will have one singular focus: providing for our national defense,” Johnson said.

LA-04 Provisions included in FY 2024 NDAA:

Barksdale Air Force Base

  • Weapons Generation Facility ($112 million)
    • Building upon the $165 million secured in the past two years for this project, the WGF will enable Barksdale to once again become a nuclear weapons Air Force Base. Currently, B-52s stationed at Barksdale must fly to North Dakota to be armed with nuclear weapons. This presents national security and efficiency issues, and the construction of a WGF at Barksdale will solidify its place as one of America’s most important military installations.
  • 307th Bomb Wing Medical Facility Expansion ($7 million)
    • The current medical facility for the 307th Bomb Wing was constructed in 1998 and is prone to overcrowding. This funding will construct an expansion of the facility to allow the wing to more efficiently medically process personnel during training weekends and for operational purposes. Without this expansion, personnel may not be medically cleared in a timely manner, thus delaying deployments and the wing’s overall readiness standing.

Fort Johnson

  • Multipurpose Athletic Field ($13.4 million)
    • This project will construct a new multipurpose athletic field for use by soldiers and their families stationed at Fort Johnson in Leesville. This facility will drastically improve the quality of life for servicemembers and their families and improve the overall readiness and morale of soldiers.

Air Force B-52 Program

  • The B-52 remains the backbone of the U.S. bomber force and will remain so for years to come. This year’s NDAA includes almost $922 million to continue support of the aircraft and give it the capabilities it needs to maintain an edge over our adversaries.

Long Range Standoff Weapon

  • The B-52 is currently able to carry air launched cruise missiles (ALCM), but they are old and in need of a replacement missile that can penetrate modern-day air defense systems. The long-range standoff weapon is a new ALCM that is currently being developed, and this year’s NDAA includes over $891 million to keep the program on track.

Background:

Since being appointed to the House Armed Services Committee in 2021, Congressman Johnson has secured:

  • Nearly $620 million in military construction projects for the State of Louisiana
  • $321.5 million for Barksdale Air Force Base
  • $261.8 million for Fort Johnson
  • $13.8 million for Camp Minden
  • $2.3 billion for the Air Force B-52 program
  • $1.82 billion for the Long Range Stand Off Weapon program

In addition, this year’s NDAA:

  • Authorizes $886.3 billion for national defense discretionary programs, $23 billion over the FY23 enacted level
  • Supports a 5.2% increase in servicemember basic pay, the largest pay raise in over 20 years
  • Authorizes the Secretary of Defense to pay junior enlisted members a monthly bonus to counteract the effects of record-high inflation
  • Expands Basic Needs Allowance to assist low-income servicemembers supporting a family
  • Authorizes over $240 million to reduce servicemember out-of-pocket housing expenses and counteract the skyrocketing cost of rent
  • Authorizes $177.8 million over the budget request to renovate and build new barracks

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