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Blunt Announces Missouri Priorities Included in Defense, Military Construction & VA Funding Bills

December 21, 2020

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, today announced that several key Missouri and national priorities were included in the FY2021 Defense and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs funding bills. The bills are part of the larger government funding package that Congress is expected to consider shortly.

“Congress has an obligation to ensure our nation’s service members have the support they need to carry out their missions and keep Americans safe,” said Blunt. “This bill prioritizes resources to support the important role that Missouri’s defense installations play in our national security, including funding for the B-21 that will be based at Whiteman Air Force Base, further construction of the new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency West headquarters in St. Louis, and additional funding for the new hospital at Fort Leonard Wood. The bill also begins a new program to establish partnerships between the Department of Veterans Affairs and public research universities to further the discovery and application of precision medicine therapies. I’m hopeful that the University of Missouri’s NextGen Precision Health Initiative will become part of that program. From keeping our promises to America’s veterans, to maintaining the U.S. military’s strategic edge, to responding to the evolving threats we face, this bill directs resources to where they are critically needed and I look forward to getting it to the president’s desk.”

Following Are Key Blunt-Backed Missouri and National Priorities Included in the Defense and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Funding Legislation:

·      Military Pay Raise: The legislation provides a military pay raise of 3%.

·      Fort Leonard Wood: The bill includes:

o   $40 million in additional funding for further construction of a new hospital at Fort Leonard Wood, which will replace the current General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital. In June 2020, Blunt celebrated the groundbreaking for the new hospital. (these two will be sub-bullets, but it’s too difficult to do in this format)

o   $10 million in additional research funding for advanced technology for maneuver support and protection to directly benefit the training at Fort Leonard Wood.

o   $1.3 million in additional funding for operational energy research that will be conducted at Fort Leonard Wood.

·      NGA St. Louis: The bill provides full funding of $119 million for further construction of the new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) West headquarters in North St. Louis. The bill also provides $10 million that can be used to support the rapidly evolving geospatial intelligence mission in St. Louis. In November 2019, Blunt attended the groundbreaking ceremony and has long led efforts to ensure the resources are in place to complete the construction of the NGA West headquarters.

·      Rosecrans Air National Guard Base: The legislation provides nearly $265.6 million in funding for C-130H modernization, such as propellers and engines, to meet Air National Guard intra-theater airlift mobility requirements. Rosecrans Air National Guard Base is the nation’s premier Air National Guard training center for Advanced Airlift Tactical Training.

·      Whiteman Air Force Base: The measure provides robust resources for the B-2 program and the A-10 wing replacement program. In addition, the bill provides nearly $2.85 billion in research funding for the B-21, a next generation Air Force bomber that is currently under development. In March 2019, the U.S. Air Force announced that Whiteman Air Force Base will be the second base to receive the B-21 bomber, which will replace the B-2 beginning in the mid-2030’s.

·      Innovative Veteran Research: The legislation includes language to establish a five-year, $50 million Department of Veterans Affairs research partnership program with public research universities to further the discovery and application of precision medicine therapies. The University of Missouri’s NextGen Precision Health Initiative will be eligible to apply for the program.

·      F-15EX: The bill includes funding for 12 F-15EX aircraft, which are manufactured in St. Louis, Mo., to meet the U.S. Air Force’s air superiority needs.

·      Super Hornets: The legislation provides funding for 24 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, which are manufactured in St. Louis, to meet the U.S. Navy’s tactical aviation shortfall. The legislation also includes $137 million in additional funding to fulfill one of the U.S. Navy’s top unfunded requests for Super Hornet spare engines to improve mission readiness.

·      Defense Community Infrastructure Pilot Program (DCIP): The measure includes $60 million in funding for DCIP infrastructure projects. Fort Leonard Wood has previously benefited from the DCIP program, which aims to improve the quality of life for service members and their families.

·      Lake City Army Ammunition Plant: The measure includes increased funding for Army industrial facilities. Blunt has long championed additional funding, including over $177 million in additional funding in the past, to provide critical support to modernize facilities like Lake City Army Ammunition Plant near Independence, Mo.

·      U.S. Navy MQ-25: The bill provides robust funding for the U.S. Navy MQ-25 program. In 2018, the U.S. Navy awarded Boeing the contract for the MQ-25, an unmanned aircraft that would embark on a carrier to conduct aerial refueling. Boeing subsequently announced that the MQ-25 will be built in St. Louis.

·      U.S. Air Force T-7: The legislation includes strong funding for the U.S. Air Force T-7 program. The T-7 trainer, which was designed in St. Louis and will be built there, is a two-seat trainer aircraft that would replace the decades-old T-38 trainer currently in use by the U.S. Air Force.

·      Munitions and Defense Equipment: The bill includes additional procurement funding for critical defense needs, such as F-35 battery development and modernized body armor, along with broad support for munition requests, such as JDAMs, Small Diameter Bombs, and Tomahawk missiles, all of which have production operations in Missouri.

·      Research Investments: The measure provides research funding for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Department of Defense. This funding will support research and development initiatives at the University of Missouri, Missouri State University, and among defense industry leaders across the state. The bill also provides increased funding to continue groundbreaking medical research, which will save lives, reduce disability, and decrease the economic burden of traumatic injury.

·      Impact Aid: The bill includes $70 million in additional funding for Impact Aid assistance to benefit Whiteman and Fort Leonard Wood area schools. Department of Defense Supplemental Impact Aid Assistance is critical to local school districts impacted by the presence of federally-owned land.

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