Hoeven: Senate Approves National Defense Authorization Act

Bill Includes Priorities for North Dakota and the Nation

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the U.S. Senate has passed the Fiscal Year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorizes the nation’s military programs. The House approved the measure last week.

This version of NDAA authorizes a total of $607 billion to support national security. Last month, the President vetoed a previous version of NDAA that included an additional $5 billion for defense priorities.

“This legislation authorizes important programs to keep our nation secure,” said Hoeven, “NDAA supports defense programs important to our nation and North Dakota. We worked to ensure that the bill upholds the nuclear missions at Minot Air Force Base, the Global Hawk missions at Grand Forks and our North Dakota National Guard’s missions. Now, we’ll work to pass the companion Defense Appropriations bill to ensure that our Armed Forces have the resources they need to keep our nation safe.”

  • The agreement fully authorizes the FY16 budget request for the ICBM and B-52 missions at Minot AFB, including the Nuclear Force Improvement Program, and the Global Hawk mission at Grand Forks AFB.
  • The agreement authorizes $7.3 million to construct an Intelligence Targeting Facility at Hector Field to support the Air National Guard’s new targeting mission.  Hoeven is a member of the Military Construction Appropriations Committee that provides funding within this authorization that will build the facility.
  • The Fiscal Year 2016 Defense Authorization bill also requires the Air Force to produce a comprehensive plan to increase the number of qualified pilots of Remotely Piloted Aircraft.  This plan could include using private sector-led Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) training, which Hoeven has promoted. The senator included language in the Fiscal Year 2016 Defense Appropriations bill that requires the Air Force to consider private sector-led training for RPA pilots.

Personnel and Benefits:

  • Basic Pay: The agreement includes a 1.3 percent raise in basic pay across the board for all military servicemembers grade O-6 and below.  It also reauthorizes 30 types of bonus pay and increases the maximum amount of nuclear officer bonus pay, which is important for Air Force personnel in Minot.
  • Thrift Savings Plan: The conference agreement creates a new 401k-style retirement benefit for the more than 80% of servicemembers who retire before reaching 20 years of service.  
  • Pharmacy Copays: The agreement rejects most of the administration’s proposed increases in pharmacy copayments and accepts only the amount necessary to fund new retirement benefits.
  • Dual military couples: The conference committee preserved housing allowances for dual-military couples.