Investing in Oklahoma

One of Congress’ most significant responsibilities is to provide for our national defense. Each year, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) authorizes funding levels and provides authorities for the U.S. military and other critical defense priorities, ensuring America’s forces have the training, equipment, and resources they need to carry out their missions.

As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), it’s my great responsibility to fight for the priorities of Oklahoma’s installations to be included in the NDAA, securing significant victories for our state and our country in the process. Our state and the entire nation succeed when our military communities succeed. I’m proud to announce the Fiscal Year 2024 NDAA has passed the U.S. Senate, and within it, we were able to secure $170 million dollars for Oklahoma’s military installations.

The Fiscal Year 2024 NDAA authorizes $876.8 billion for military and national security programs at the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Energy. This year’s bill offers historic support for our troops and their families while making significant progress in modernizing our resources and technology, refocusing on warfighting, and maintaining peace through strength to counter our adversaries.

This legislation sends a clear message: the United States will always invest in the strongest, most elite fighting force on the planet to protect the homeland and deter foreign threats.

Military success is impossible without brave men and women willing to put their lives on the line for our country. This bill secures a 5.2 percent pay raise for servicemembers. It also requires the DOD to submit a revised pay scale to increase junior enlisted pay and reinvests $400 million in savings into new recruiting and retention efforts. This NDAA also seeks to return the Pentagon’s focus to readiness instead of misguided diversity initiatives. We owe our troops a debt we can never repay, and providing adequate support for them and their families is the very least we can do.

We are at a critical point in our nation’s history. We must refocus our efforts on warfighting and modernize our technology and military intelligence. This legislation harnesses cutting-edge technologies and includes new authorities to modernize the Pentagon with measures like establishing an office of strategic capital to enable private investment in defense tech.

Numerous provisions included in this bill prioritize developing other defense and deterrence programs, such as a sea-launched nuclear cruise missile program to offset Russian and Chinese tactical nukes and reduce the risk of schedule delays in nuclear forces in hypersonics. In addition, it invests in naval power – rejecting Joe Biden’s disastrous plan to shrink our Navy and ensuring the Marines’ 31 amphibious ship requirement is met. Thankfully, the NDAA also makes necessary cuts to senseless red tape on emissions reporting to streamline production and support our defense contractors. Oklahoma knows – operational readiness and efficiency are critical to promoting global stability.

As our nation faces increased security threats and unprecedented global challenges, we must approach these aggressions head-on and ensure our priorities remain clear. Peace through strength is essential in countering threats from our top adversaries, including China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea. China has emerged as America’s primary competitor, proving its capability to challenge the United States’ national security and economic interests. The FY2024 NDAA includes multiple provisions to oppose advances by Beijing in the Indo-Pacific and increase oversight measures to correct the Biden administration’s recent national security failures. The bill supports the manufacturing necessary for our armed forces to catch up with China’s massive military buildup, including the addition of critical munitions to the Pentagon’s highly successful multi-year procurement (MYP) program like 155MM Excalibur rounds produced here in Oklahoma. It also requires a full public accounting of Chinese military spending to ensure the rest of the world understands the Chinese Communist Party’s global military goals. This legislation allows the U.S. to confront China with power and enhance regional cooperation.

While the FY2024 NDAA includes tremendous victories for our nation, I’m especially proud to report many significant wins for our bases. We fought to ensure Fort Sill received over $76 million for their Microgrid and Backup Power project. Vance Air Force Base (AFB)’s Consolidated Undergraduate Pilot Training Center received $8.4 million for planning and design, and the bill contains a provision to divest the T-1A training aircraft until USAF can certify that simulators are equally or more effective than the current program, keeping their flying mission alive.

Oklahoma’s five military installations have remained critical to our military’s success for over a century, and I’m proud this legislation funds essential projects to keep our installations strong. We made sure that the NDAA included $78 million for Tinker AFB’s 3-Bay KC-46 Depot Maintenance Hangar to improve mission capabilities. McAlester Army Ammunition Plant also received $1.194 million for the planning and design of their new Water Treatment Plant, and additional funding for 155MM ammunition manufacturing at McAlester.

I want to thank Senator Roger Wicker, Ranking Member of SASC, as well as my fellow committee colleagues for their partnership on the FY 2024 NDAA to ensure Oklahoma’s needs are met. I couldn’t be more grateful to our men and women in uniform and the sacrifices they make on behalf of our freedoms. Our nation is home to the greatest military in the world, and this bill is a monumental step in keeping it that way.