What the Defense Bill Means for Texas
by John Cornyn on July 24, 2020 at 8:55 AM
Yesterday, the Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021. You can read the legislation here, and below is a summary of its impact on Texas:
- Raises troops’ pay by 3%.
- Authorizes $285 million for military construction projects in Texas, including:
o a barracks, flight simulation system, and F-16 Mission Training Center at Joint Base San Antonio,
o an F-35 Operations and Maintenance Facility, Vehicle Maintenance Shop, and Aircraft Maintenance Hangar at Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth,
o Fuel Facilities at Fort Hood, and
o National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) funds for the Pantex Plant in Amarillo.
- Authorizes 95 new F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, which are built by Texans in Fort Worth.
- Directs the procurement of 5,421 Anti-lock Brake System/Electronic Stability Control (ABS/ESC) kits to prevent vehicle rollovers, which will be installed though a partnership with Red River Army Depot.
- Increases funding for universities like Texas A&M that partner with the DOD in defense-related research and development.
- Invests in Texas students with $15 million for DOD’s STARBASE program in Austin, Houston, San Angelo, and San Antonio.
- Increases funding for Impact Aid by $70 million to support schools educating military children, and especially those with severe disabilities.
- Supports family readiness by ensuring access to high-quality childcare on military bases.
- Advocates for military spouses’ professional development with $4 million for the development of interstate compacts on licensed occupations.
- Improves DOD’s ability to track and respond to incidents of child abuse and sexual assault on military installations.
- Responds to the pandemic by authorizing $44 million for vaccine and biotechnology research supported by DOD, and implementing a pilot program for a civilian-military partnership for enhanced interoperability and medical surge capacity.