Saturday, April 13, 2024

Louisiana priorities pass as part of National Defense Authorization Act 

by BIZ Magazine

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) Thursday voted in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which passed the Senate with legislative wins for Louisiana and includes two of Kennedy’s bills.  

“This year’s National Defense Authorization Act includes consequential investments for Louisiana and America. The funding will give our service members a much deserved pay raise, strengthen border security and keep China, Russia and Iran in check by bolstering U.S. military readiness,” said Kennedy.

Pacific Islands Forum Partnership Act

The NDAA included the Pacific Islands Forum Partnership Act, which would combat Communist China’s aggression in the Pacific Ocean by establishing a special envoy to the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF).The PIF is an international organization of Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Island nations.

Beijing recognizes that these nations are strategically located in the Indo-Pacific region and has already established a special envoy to the PIF. The U.S only recently appointed its own special envoy after Kennedy filed his original bill last year, but Kennedy’s legislation would make the position permanent and would require Senate confirmation. 

A special envoy would help answer a diversity of threats from the communist regime by deepening trust and increasing dialogue on the Pacific Islands’ economic, cyber security and military concerns.

Independent and Objective Oversight of Ukrainian Assistance Act

The national defense authorization also includes language from Kennedy’s Independent and Objective Oversight of Ukrainian Assistance Act, which would establish a Special Inspector General (IG) for Ukraine.

The Special IG would oversee the humanitarian, economic and security assistance funding that the U.S. Congress has provided to the country and make sure that the funds are appropriately spent.

Foreign Extortion Prevention Act (FEPA)

The NDAA also includes language from the FEPA, which Kennedy co-sponsored. The legislation would criminalize foreign officials’ soliciting bribes from Americans or U.S. businesses.

Under the FEPA Act, penalties for soliciting bribes would include a fine of up to $250,000 or three times the value of the bribe (whichever is greater) and a prison sentence of up to 15 years.  

Military construction priorities for Louisiana

Kennedy helped authorize $155.9 million in wins for Louisiana’s military bases in the NDAA, including:

  • $112 million for a weapons generation facility at Barksdale Air Force Base (AFB).
  • $13.4 million for an athletic track and field at Fort Johnson.
  • $7 million for a dormitory at Barksdale AFB.
  • $7 million for the medical facility at Barksdale AFB.
  • $6.4 million for the communications grid at Naval Air Station New Orleans.
  • $3.7 million for a dormitory at Camp Minden.
  • $2.4 million for the dormitory at Camp Beauregard.
  • $2 million for the National Guard Readiness Center at Camp Beauregard.
  • $2 million for a Child Development Center at Barksdale AFB.

The NDAA also:

  • Provides for a 5.2% pay raise for military service members.
  • Increases funding to recruit military service members.
  • Supports the modernization of the U.S. nuclear force.
  • Requires all military personnel action to be based on merit and performance. 
  • Authorizes increased funding for cutting-edge technology to make American weapons more effective and resilient against enemy attacks.
  • Supports requested funding to procure naval vessels, combat aircraft, armored vehicles, weapon systems and munitions.
  • Improves America’s capabilities for long-term strategic competition with China. 
  • Establishes a comprehensive training, advising and institutional capacity-building program for Taiwan’s military forces to help counter Chinese aggression.
  • Supports U.S. defense activities relating to the security partnership among Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, known as AUKUS, which also helps counter Chinese aggression. 
  • Authorizes increased funding for Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard operations.

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