WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced that several defense priorities he championed have been included in the government funding bill for this year.
“When we send our troops into harm’s way, they should have every possible advantage in taking on the enemy,” Blunt said. “This year’s government funding bill includes the largest annual defense increase in 15 years. It will ensure our military men and women get the pay raise they deserve and have the equipment and training they need. I’m particularly glad to see several Missouri defense priorities reflected in the measure, including funding for the new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency West headquarters, as well as critical investments at Whiteman, Rosecrans, Fort Leonard Wood, Lake City, and Missouri National Guard installations across the state. With Missouri being home to nearly 500,000 veterans, I’m also proud to say the bill provides a record level of Veterans Administration funding, while increasing oversight and modernization efforts. I’ll continue working to ensure our service members have the resources they need to fulfill their missions, and the care and benefits they’ve earned as veterans.”
Following are Key Blunt-Backed Missouri and National Defense Priorities Included in the Bill:
- Super Hornets: The bill provides funding for 24 Super Hornets, which are manufactured in St. Louis, Mo., to meet the U.S. Navy’s tactical aviation shortfall.
- National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency West Headquarters: The bill provides $200 million for the construction of the new NGA West facility in North St. Louis. In June 2016, the NGA finalized its selection of North St. Louis as the site for the new NGA West headquarters. Since 2010, Blunt has led efforts to ensure that the NGA West facility, and the thousands of jobs it supports, remain in Missouri.
- Fort Leonard Wood: The bill includes $100 million for the construction of a new hospital at Fort Leonard Wood, which will replace the current General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital. The measure also includes almost $12 million for a new blood processing center.
- End Strength Increases: The bill fully funds an active duty end strength of 1,322,500 and a reserve component end strength of 816,900, an increase of 9,500.
- Whiteman Air Force Base: The measure provides resources for the B-2 and A-10 wing replacement. In addition, the bill provides research funding for the B-21, a next generation Air Force bomber that is currently under development. Following Blunt’s advocacy, the Air Force recently announced that Whiteman will be home to the B-21.
- Rosecrans Air National Guard Base: The legislation provides funding for C-130 modernization to meet Air National Guard intra-theater airlift mobility requirements. The bill also includes $10 million for the construction of a communications facility. Rosecrans Air National Guard Base is the nation’s premier Air Guard training center for Advanced Airlift Tactical Training.
- Theater Aviation Sustainment Maintenance Group: The bill includes $32 million for the construction of an aircraft maintenance hangar to support the Army National Guard’s Theater Aviation Sustainment Maintenance Group based in Springfield, Mo.
- Lake City Army Ammunition Plant: The bill includes $100 million for Army industrial facilities. This funding will provide critical support to modernize facilities like Lake City Army Ammunition Plant near Independence, Mo.
- Research Investments: The bill 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, 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 $35 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.