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Lankford Supports Annual National Defense Bill

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today supported the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill, which received bipartisan support, was ushered through final passage by Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee. The bill will authorize $740.5 billion in funding to support military construction projects, push a strong US national defense strategy, care for military families and the civilian workforce, regain US military advantage, and improve the Pentagon’s operations. Lankford advocated for the NDAA during floor remarks and outlined why this work by Congress is so important for the many military men and women around the world who are representing and protecting our nation.

“I am grateful for the leadership of Senators Inhofe and Reed who have worked to pass America’s annual defense bill, the NDAA,” said Lankford. “In our daily lives it is easy to lose track of the men and women wearing the cloth of our nation throughout the world to protect us every day. They and their dedicated families make countless sacrifices to protect our peace. This year, the NDAA provides thousands of military policy changes like a three percent pay raise, ensures we will not have another round of base closings, adds additional oversight for military housing, and gives military spouses the ability to keep their professional licenses when they move state to state as their loved ones are relocated. These are significant ways we can support our military and their families as they protect and defend our nation.”

The NDAA included a number of important provisions that help Oklahoma military installations and the federal workforce, including:

  • A three percent raise for all service members.
  • Tinker Air Force Base:
    • Fully funds the KC-46 and the B-21
    • Institutes a 180-Day rule modification pilot program, which Lankford has advocated to change.
    • Encourages the use of additive manufacturing capabilities to repair aircraft more quickly.

  • Altus Air Force Base:
    • Fully funds the KC-46, Altus AFB is set to receive eight aircraft
    • Prohibits the Air Force from divesting older KC-10 and KC-1335 tankers until technical issues with the new KC-46 are fixed.

  • Vance Air Force Base:
    • Fully funds research and development of the Air Force’s next generation of advanced pilot training aircraft, the T-7 Red Hawk. The T-7 will replace the gaining T-38 Talon training aircraft at Vance Air Force Base.
    • Authorizes funding for T-38 upgrades to ensure the safety of T-38 pilots until the T-7 is fully fielded.

  • McAlester Army Ammunition Plant:
    • Authorizes full military construction funding ($35 million) for the Ammunition Demolition Shop, commonly referred to as the C-Line to allow for safe and proper deconstruction of munitions that are no longer serviceable or have reached their maximum storage time.

  • Lawton and Ft. Sill:
    • Fully funds the Paladin Integrated Management (PIM) program. This will serve as the platform for future Army modernization projects that will allow the US to maintain an advantage over our strategic competitors like China and Russia.

  • Will Rogers—Oklahoma National Guard:
    • Protects the 137th SOW by prohibiting divestiture of manned intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft operated by US Special Operations Command, which includes the MC-12.
    • Authorizes military construction funding for a maintenance facility at the Ardmore Readiness Center.

Lankford offered eight amendments to the defense bill to push for reforms in June. The amendments Lankford advocated for that were part of the Senate NDAA passed today include:

  • Providing Accountability Through Transparency Act (PATTA) provision to increase transparency. Lankford’s bipartisan bill, the Providing Accountability Through Transparency Act (PATTA), is offered as an amendment to require the notice of a proposed rule by a federal agency to include the internet address of a summary of the rule. The summary must be 100 words or fewer, written in plain language, and posted on regulations.gov. This amendment was included.
  • Language from Lankford’s Reserve Component DD-214 Act of 2019, which will ensure that members of the National Guard and Reserve receive an accurate and complete record of their service so that they can receive the benefits they have earned following their retirement or completion of service.
  • Language Lankford pushed for pertaining to religious freedom for all service members in the Training on Religious Accommodation. Three years ago, the NDAA included language that every branch of the military must implement training on federal laws, DoD instructions, and regulations of each military branch regarding religious liberty and accommodation for service members.
  • Pilot Program of the 180-day waiting period for military retirees. The program will expand authority regarding the 180-day waiting period that a military retiree must wait until he or she can enter a civilian job at the DoD. This would establish a three-year pilot program on the feasibility of repealing the 180-day waiting period that military retiree must wait until he or she can enter a civilian job at the DoD. This has been an ongoing issue expressed at numerous bases across the US, and depots have expressed how the rule has caused them to lose folks to the defense industry versus retaining valuable talent.

The House NDAA bill included his bipartisan bill to create more transparency for taxpayers with the Taxpayers Right-to-Know Act and his Telework of US Innovation Act, which makes permanent the authority of the US Patent and Trademark Office to conduct a telework travel expenses program.