What the Defense Bill Means for Texas
I released the following statement after securing multiple priorities for Texas in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2023, to support Texas military instillations, servicemembers, and ongoing national security efforts. You can read the legislation here, and below is a summary of its impact on Texas.
Our national security depends on the readiness of our Armed Forces as they combat the threats of today, and prepare for the new ones of tomorrow. The annual defense bill is imperative for the millions of Texas servicemembers, their families, and veterans who have devoted their lives to serving our country. I’m grateful for the work of my colleagues who have provided certainty to our military through this legislation and I look forward to voting for it in the Senate soon.
Sen. Cornyn’s Legislation Included in the Bill:
- Protecting our Servicemembers through Proven Methods Act: Improves sexual assault and domestic violence prevention policies within the Department of Defense (DoD) by directing the DoD to collect data on the causes behind sexual assault, harassment, and domestic violence in the military. This legislation builds upon Sen. Cornyn’s Servicemember Safety and Security Act, included in the Fiscal Year 2022 NDAA, to strengthen the reporting and reviewing of military policies and procedures of servicemembers who are reported absent without leave or missing and enhances information sharing between local and federal law enforcement agencies.
- Texas Coastal Spine Authorization Act: Authorizes the construction of the coastal barrier protection system known as the Coastal Spine which is a large-scale coastal storm risk management and ecosystem restoration project that will help protect Texas’s coast from storm damage. Sen. Cornyn introduced the legislation earlier this year with Sen. Cruz and Representative Randy Weber (TX-14) which was included in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). This year’s NDAA includes numerous provisions from WRDA.
Other Texas-Specific Provisions include:
· Raises troops’ pay by 4.6%.
· Authorizes $204.1 million for military construction projects in Texas, including:
o $55 million to the Corpus Christi Army Depot new powertrain facility;
o $15 million to Fort Bliss in El Paso for a new fire station;
o $93 million to Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA):
§ $5.4 million to JBSA-Lackland to complete the Basic Military Training recruit dormitory;
§ $29 million to JBSA-Randolph for a new child development center;
§ $58.6 million to JBSA for an ambulatory care center replacement.
o $31.5 million to Fort Hood in Killeen for power generation and microgrid operations;
o $9.6 million to the Army Reserve Center in Conroe for power generation and microgrid operations.
· Includes an additional $1 billion to maintain air superiority and support the production rate, modernization, and readiness of the F-35 fleet built at Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth.
· Provides additional funding to Texas school districts with children of military personnel.
· Supports Texas job creation with:
o More than $1 billion for Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) to be built in Fort Worth;
o $688 million for a new BAE Systems plant in Austin for the manufacturing of Paladin Integrated Management systems, the Army’s modernized Self-Propelled Howitzer tank;
o Nearly $1.8 billion for B-21 Raiders, many of which will be based out of Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene;
o And more than $700 million for F-16 Fighting Falcons, which will be made in Texas.
· Includes language to allow land that is under long-term lease contracts to the Department of Defense to be available for Defense Community Infrastructure Program (DCIP) funds. Currently, only land owned by DoD can use these funds. This new language allows cities such as El Paso to be eligible for this funding.