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Lankford Propels OK Military Missions Forward in This Year’s Defense Bill

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today voted to support the final version of the annual Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act, which supports Oklahoma’s military installations and bolsters our national defense initiatives along with numerous priorities Lankford secured for Oklahomans. The conference report was adopted by the Senate in a vote of 87-13 and now awaits action by the House of Representatives.

“Oklahoma’s military installations need the support of the American people through Congress each year to get the National Defense Authorization Act negotiated, debated, and passed into law,” said Lankford. “This year’s final product is a bipartisan agreement that provides critical funding, authority, and policies that assure our military can continue to keep us safe. I worked especially hard to include numerous state-specific provisions to support the missions of our Oklahoma military installations. I also pushed for important policies that prevent future Passport backlogs, provide overtime pay to our Border Patrol, and give authority for federal agencies to hire military spouses no matter where they are stationed in the US. I will never stop fighting for those who fight for us.” 

The final defense bill includes funding for the following vital programs and projects at Oklahoma’s military installations:

  • Third installation of funding for the KC-46 3 Bay Depot Maintenance Hangar at Tinker Air Force Base
  • Planning and design of their new Water Treatment Plant at McAlester Army Ammunition Plant
  • F-35 Aircraft Oxygen Shop at Tinker Air Force Base
  • Undergraduate Pilot Training Center at Vance Air Force Base
  • Microgrid & Backup Power effort at Fort Sill
  • Vehicle Maintenance Shop for the Army National Guard Ardmore
  • National Guard Readiness Center in Shawnee
  • B-21, T-7, T-1, KC-46, E-7, E-6 procurement, munitions procurement across all service branches, including 155-millimeter ammunition, long-range precision fires, air and missile defense, THAAD, Paladin and specifically general purpose bombs for the McAlester Army Ammunitions Plant (MCAAP)
  • Counter-unmanned aircraft systems technology research and development, which includes an increase of $5 million for Army RDT&E that seeks to benefit OSU and their work in counter-UAS technology research and development

The bill modifies and improves the calculation of basic allowance for housing (BAH) rates with respect to junior enlisted members, which will directly benefit Altus Air Force Base and the other remote bases in Oklahoma.

Additionally, the bill includes a three-year extension of direct hire for our domestic defense industrial base facilities, Major Range and Test Facilities, and the Office of the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, which greatly benefits Tinker Air Force Base as the headquarters of the Air Force Sustainment Center. The bill also includes my provision which requires the Air Force to maintain 16 E-3s until the Air Force can procure enough E-7s to accomplish the mission load, which belongs to the 552nd Air Control Wing at Tinker Air Force Base.

Lankford’s additional wins in the defense bill include:

  • Provides a 5.2-percent pay raise for our Armed Forces and civilian contractors
  • Includes Lankford’s Passport Act to address the eight-month delay of the passport backlog impacting 3 million Americans
  • Adopts part of Lankford’s Border Patrol Enhancement Act to provide overtime pay to Border Patrol agents
  • Adopts Lankford’s Military Spouse Employment Act to give clear authority to hire military spouses to fully remote positions to maintain careers while loved ones serve