The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, passed by the House of Representatives today, provides for a 2.6% pay increase for all military personnel, the largest increase in nine years, and provides $10.2 million for projects at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst , Congressman Chris Smith announced this afternoon. Additionally, there will be no Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process through fiscal 2019, under the terms of the bill.
“It is critical that this legislation authorizes a pay raise and new equipment for the men and women serving in our nation’s armed forces,” Congressman Smith said. “For too long their needs have been ignored, and now is the time to ensure they have all the resources and equipment they require to get the job done.”
The $10.2 million for JB-MDL will fund infrastructure improvements needed in preparation for the highly-anticipated arrival of 15 KC-46A refueling tankers, which are expected to begin arriving in FY 2021.
“These authorizations will provide an essential boost to the employees at JB-MDL, continuing to upgrade the base and making it the premier refueling hub on the East Coast,” Smith said. “I am also glad we were able to keep a new round of Base Realignment and Closure out of this legislation.”
JB MDL is our nation’s premier air mobility installation, playing a significant role in our national security and local economy. The base is home to 42,000 jobs.
The KC-46A is the first phase of a 3-phase effort to replace the U.S. Air Force’s aging tanker fleet. With more refueling capacity and enhanced capabilities, improved efficiency and increased capabilities for cargo and aeromedical evacuation, the KC-46A will provide aerial refueling support to the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps as well as allied nation coalition force aircraft, according to the Air Force.
Smith, led the delegation letter urging the Air Force to designate JB-MDL in July 2016, has repeatedly stressed that the installation is the ideal location for the new tankers: it is the nation’s only tri-service joint installation; is home to over 80 mission partners that includes active duty, Reserve and Guard units; and is Air Mobility Command’s premier East Coast refueling hub that enables U.S. global reach around the world. He worked with Rep. Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02) on the House Armed Services Committee, and also wrote a letter to the new Secretary of the Air Force in May of 2017 about JB-MDL.
The FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has a topline of $717 billion, which includes an across-the-board 2.6 percent pay raise for all military personnel, building upon the 2.4 percent raise from FY 2018.
U.S. military readiness receives another significant boost in the FY2019 bill, which authorizes:
· $40.8 billion for new aircraft
· $36.3 billion for new ships and the maintenance of existing ships
· $23.5 billion for repairs and rebuilding of military buildings and infrastructure
· $17.7 billion for rehabilitation and replacement of worn out Army equipment
The FY2018 NDAA, passed earlier this year with Smith’s support, authorized over $146.5 million for JB-MDL for construction projects related to the arrival of the KC-46A refueling tanker. It also authorized $11.6 million for Navy Reserve and Marine Corps Reserve projects at the base for aircraft apron, taxiway, and support facilities.