Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen (1st District of New Jersey)
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Committee on Appropriations, chaired by U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11), today approved the Fiscal Year 2019 Department of Defense Appropriations bill by a 48-4 vote. The legislation funds military operations at home and overseas, increases the purchase of new aircraft and ships and improves readiness of our troops to meet global threats. The measure also provides for a 2.6% pay raise for our troops and strengthens the various health programs for military personnel and their families. In addition, the FY 2019 Defense Appropriations bill assures New Jersey’s continued contribution to our national security.
“Our nation faces multiple challenges across the world, both longstanding and emerging. Our troops are serving with honor on the high seas and in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Korea, Japan, Europe and Africa,” Frelinghuysen said. “With the changing global dynamics and ever-growing threats to our security, it is absolutely imperative that our Armed Forces are properly trained, equipped, and fully supported in order to do their jobs,” Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen said. “This legislation is critically important to our men and women in uniform and their families.”
In addition to providing base operating funds for New Jersey’s military installations, Picatinny Arsenal, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, Naval Weapons Station Earle and the 177th Fighter Wing in Atlantic City, the legislation includes funding that will increase New Jersey’s military contributions.
For example, the FY 2019 Defense Appropriations bill contains new funding to allow scientists, engineers and technicians at Picatinny Arsenal, the DoD Joint Center of Excellence for Armaments, to accelerate their urgent work to ensure that our weapons systems overmatch those of our adversaries. The bill also includes funding to expand production of the new KC-146 Pegasus air refueling tankers that will be stationed at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst beginning in 2020, enhancing the future missions of that New Jersey base.
To protect New Jersey residents at home and abroad, the measure includes $1.3 billion above the President’s budget for key readiness programs to prepare forces, including New Jersey’s National Guard and Reserve, for peace-time missions and potential overseas operations.
“Protecting the strength and sustainability of New Jersey’s unique military installations is critical to all of our Armed Forces,” Frelinghuysen said. “Supporting these bases is vital to both our national defense and our state’s historical support for national security. Beyond a doubt, they are essential to our economy, our national security, and our future.”
Specifically, the Department of Defense bill:
Provides over $300 million in funding to the Armaments Research Development Engineering Center (ARDEC) at Picatinny Arsenal in Morris County as a result of a 2015 study conducted under the auspices of the Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD). The OSD study identified specific areas of concern including loss of weapons range overmatch, effects of enemy countermeasures to global positioning system (GPS), and the proliferation of low-cost commercially available unmanned aerial systems. This bill provides the funding to allow the experts at Picatinny to advance the capabilities of our Armed Forces as quickly as possible.
Includes $2.3 billion to procure another 15 KC-46 Pegasus aircraft – the new airborne tanker that will be stationed at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, beginning in FY 2021. “The Joint Base has significant current and future military value. Ensuring that the proper resources are available to conduct successful missions from New Jersey is vital,” Frelinghuysen said.
The bill provides an additional $10 million to allow the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) to hasten their critical work of recovering the remains of military personnel lost in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.
The bill maintains an increased special account used by the National Guard and Reserve to procure equipment to maintain readiness in key weapon systems and help close equipment interoperability gaps with the active Army and Air Force. The National Guard Reserve Equipment Account (NGREA) is funded at $1.3 billion, up significantly from two years ago.
The bill provides $125 million for traumatic brain injury and psychological health research, and $318 million for sexual assault prevention and response. All of these funding levels exceed the President’s budget request
Overall, the legislation provides a total of $674.6 billion for the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community. This includes $606.5 billion in base discretionary funding – an increase of $17.1 billion above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level and $0.9 billion below the President’s Defense budget request. The bill also provides $68.1 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO)/Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) funding. This funding level is consistent with the National Defense Authorization Act which was approved by the House last March, as well as the recently enacted budget agreement.