Jun 13, 2018

Washington, DC (May 24, 2018) Today, Congressman Steve Pearce voted in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2019. This legislation sets military priorities for the calendar year to come. It establishes pay raises for our nation’s military personnel, procures new weapons systems that are needed to keep our soldiers safe while defending our freedoms overseas, and prioritizes military readiness and training. In addition, the NDAA includes several critical provisions that will benefit New Mexico’s national labs and military installations.

“Today, the House acted on one of its most important responsibilities, protecting and honoring our nation’s military,” said Pearce. “The NDAA is essential to the success and safety of every member of the military. Whether through the pay increase this bill authorizes or the training and modernization funding included, it is designed and widely supported in Congress for one reason, it gives America’s bravest the tools and training they need and deserve.

“I appreciate the work of Chairman Thornberry and the Armed Services Committee to make the wellbeing and safety of our troops the central focus of this year’s NDAA. For too long, the Department of Defense has prioritized duplicative and unnecessary agencies that ultimately take needed resources away from the men and women our nation places in harm’s way. By working to create efficiencies in the way the Department of Defense operates, this legislation makes the funding we allocate to the military more readily available for training, equipment, and family benefits. This is a huge step forward in ensuring the Defense Department works for the members of our military and their families.”

This year’s NDAA also included several amendments added by Congressman Pearce to support New Mexico’s strong military heritage, as well as support our military men and women who sacrificed so much for our nation.

  1. Creates a process for wounded warriors who have a service-connected disability that makes them ineligible to continue military service in their current roles to transfer into the Air Force’s Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) command
  2. Update the way our nation plans for future testing and research projects, by requiring a 30-year strategic plan for the development of future weapons systems, instead of the current 10-year requirement
  3. Transfer lands between White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) and White Sands National Monument (WSNM) to simply the National Park Service’s management of the Monument. This transfer is an agreement worked out between the National Park Service and the Army
  4. Initiate a study into the use of in-land space launch facilities, as our nation continues to expand further into Space use and exploration

“New Mexico has played a significant role in our nation’s military readiness for over a hundred years,” continued Pearce.  “The inclusion of my amendments to this year’s NDAA ensures this role continues for the foreseeable future. Whether through the access of Spaceport America as a launch platform for America’s space needs to ensuring WSMR and WSMN have borders that support both agencies in the most efficient way possible, these amendments keep New Mexico relevant and ready to support the military in any future need.

“Of all the amendments my office included this year, however, the wounded warrior RPA programs is the most significant to me. Over the last 20-years the combination of advancement in emergency medicine and the deployment of improvised explosive devices has resulted in our military personnel returning from war with injuries that make them ineligible for most military positions. Being able to offer a solution and avenue for these dedicated men and women to continue their service to our nation is an honor. This program will provide service-connected disabled troops with the option to enter a critical military role where they continue to defend our nation’s freedoms.”