Blackburn on Senate Passage of NDAA: This Bill Secures Big Wins for Tennessee Military Community

June 27, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, voted to fund the United States Military in FY 2020. The National Defense Authorization Act funds crucial projects that will directly impact military communities in Tennessee. 

“Tennessee is honored to be home to multiple military bases,” Senator Blackburn said. “The sacrifice our members of the military make in service to our country can never be repaid. It is essential that we provide our men and women in uniform with the support they need to protect the United States and to provide for their families. This bill, which I worked on alongside my colleagues in the Senate Armed Services Committee, seeks to meet that goal.” 

The FY 2020 NDAA meets President Trump’s requested budget of $750 billion to fully fund our military. It also provides our men and women in uniform with a 3.1% pay increase – the first since 2010.

Senator Blackburn secured funding for projects that will have a direct effect on military communities in Tennessee and on the mission of the Armed Forces to protect and defend the United States. 

Some of Senator Blackburn’s work in the FY 2020 NDAA: 
•    Implements military spouse professional licensure reciprocity to make it easier for spouses to continue working when moved across state lines for their service. This provision comes as a result of Senator Blackburn’s discussions with members of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell as they seek to facilitate a seamless adjustment for their family members.
•    Requires DOD to track how much time members of the National Guard are deployed, as extended periods away can cause undue stress on their civilian jobs. This comes as a result of discussions Senator Blackburn had with members of the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Poland and Ukraine, including several guardsmen and women from Knoxville and the surrounding area who described this as being one of the biggest hurdles in their service. 
•    Provides full funding for research, development and procurement of mission-essential aircraft, including 9 CH-47 Chinook helicopters and 15 MQ-9 Reapers.
•    Increases infrastructure and operations budget for our national nuclear security enterprise, which includes the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee. This bill will properly fund facilities that have been neglected since after the Cold War.
•    Creates two reports that will positively inform training and doctrine for special operators, especially the 5th Group and 160th SOAR at Fort Campbell.
•    Supports the strong and unwavering partnership between the U.S. military and the Kurds in Syria. The largest Kurdish diaspora in the U.S. is in Nashville.   
•    Fully funds research and development for multiple naval systems whose radar technology is made in Tennessee. 
•    Requires DOD to track active duty military personnel and veterans’ exposed to toxic health hazards in the line of duty, ensuring they get the necessary medical care and benefits they need.
•    Supports military funded in-state university research, including at the University of Tennessee. 
•    Provides full funding for three cooperative missile programs to ensure for the self-defense of Israel, our greatest ally in the region. 
•    Authorizes utilization of funds by the military for self-defense for and defense of American citizens against other military forces or proxies of a foreign nation – an important provision in the wake of Iran’s dangerous escalatory actions.
•    Invests in the future of our military through the inclusion of three amendments to support the implementation of the Space Force as part of the Air Force.

The executive summary of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 can be found HERE.

Senator Blackburn spoke on the Senate floor about the FY 2020 NDAA on June 25 and June 18.