U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) praised Senate passage of the John S. McCain 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report, which authorizes $716 billion to equip and train America’s 21st-century forces to meet and overcome today’s security challenges. The bipartisan bill authorizes more than $150 million in funding secured by Senator McConnell for military construction projects at installations in Kentucky in addition to other defense priorities. The bill also supports our troops with a well-earned pay raise.
“The NDAA builds on the progress we made earlier this year in the bipartisan budget agreement, which provided for the largest year-on-year increase in funding for American armed forces in fifteen years. This legislation authorizes programs which will contribute to the combat readiness of America’s military to meet emerging and persistent global threats. It also helps ensure our servicemembers and their families will receive the full support of a grateful nation,” Senator McConnell said. “The measure has global and nationwide significance, and it also has tremendous local importance. Representing the Commonwealth of Kentucky, I know just how significant an impact this legislation will have on some of our nation’s finest.”
Senator McConnell helped secure authorization for the following Kentucky priorities in the legislation:
$26M for a Digital Air/Ground Integration Range at Fort Knox
$32M for a Vehicle Maintenance Shop at Fort Campbell
$18M for a Microgrid and Power Plant at Fort Campbell
$62.6M for the Fort Campbell Middle School
$5.4M for a Special Operations Forces Logistics Support Operations Facility at Fort Campbell
$9.1M for a Special Operations Forces Air/Ground Integration Urban Live Fire Range at Fort Campbell
$5.1M for a Special Operations Forces Multi-Use Helicopter Training Facility at Fort Campbell
$993.8M for Department of Defense chemical agents and munitions destruction activities, which will support chemical demilitarization efforts at the Blue Grass Army Depot.
· Authority for the production and use of natural gas at Fort Knox. Senator McConnell communicated the importance of this issue to Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. He also worked with Congressman Brett Guthrie and Senator Rand Paul to include the measure in the final bill.
“At Fort Campbell, members of the 101st Airborne Division and a number of special operations units will benefit from the authorization of new investments in their training facilities. At Fort Knox, the Army’s Human Resources Command and Recruiting Command will receive the support they need to modernize officer personnel management, and the post will receive much-needed certainty and authority for its innovative energy savings program. At the Bluegrass Army Depot, critical work to support chemical weapon demilitarization will continue because this bill authorizes the resources necessary to conduct safe operations,” Senator McConnell added.
Kelli Pendleton, President/CEO, Christian County Chamber of Commerce, said, “We at the Christian County Chamber of Commerce applaud passage of this critical defense authorization legislation. This bill authorizes funding for key projects at Fort Campbell while supporting the base’s valuable servicemembers and their families, and we thank Senator McConnell for his leadership in passing the legislation.”
BG Jim Iacocca, U.S. Army, Retired, President and CEO, Knox Regional Development Alliance (KRDA), said, “KRDA applauds passage of the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act, which benefits Fort Knox, and thanks Senator McConnell for his leadership in passing the legislation. We also want to thank the Kentucky Congressional delegation for spearheading the effort to include Fort Knox energy security legislation in this year’s NDAA, which also includes authorization for military construction at Fort Knox. We look forward to seeing Fort Knox continue to grow as a result of this national defense legislation.”
The bill will now go to President Trump for his signature.