Year-End Omnibus Supports Readiness, Security, Military Construction, and Servicemember and Veteran Well-Being

12.23.22

Includes More Than $335 Million for Military Construction in Alaska

The US Senate recently passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023, an omnibus package that contains all 12 appropriations bills and funds the federal government through September 30, 2023. US Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), a senior appropriator , secured funding and assistance for Alaska throughout the measure.

Through her role as a senior member of the Defense and Military Construction-Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittees, Murkowski added significant funding and support for military members and their families, veterans, readiness and security needs, and military construction. The omnibus fully funds the recently passed the National Defense Authorization Act, provides a historic plus-up for the Department of Defense, sends critical emergency aid to Ukraine, and continues to rebuild US supply chains through critical mineral development.

“The omnibus invests in the health and wellbeing of military service members while making sure they have the equipment and infrastructure they need to complete the mission. We provide crucial assistance to Ukraine, to combat Chinese influence in the Pacific, and to ensure that Alaska is the best place to serve in the best military in the world,” Murkowski said. “I’m particularly proud of the direct investments I secured for Alaska military installations—from JBER to Fort Wainwright to Clear—and the resources we added to support veterans. We increased funding for VA facilities, medical care, and services, expanding access to mental health care and programs to help veterans transition to civilian life. In the span of a single week, we have passed an NDAA and an appropriations package with more support for our military and veterans than we have seen in years.”

“Senator Murkowski’s successes in prioritizing defense spending in Alaska put our nation on stronger footing in the Arctic,” Retired Air Force Lt. Gen David Krumm, former Commander of Alaska Command, said. “Increases in capacity to maintain our aircraft at JBER and building a world-class soldier readiness center for our Arctic Angels at Ft. Wainwright are a few examples of her continuing to be a champion for national security in the Arctic.”

“We thank Senator Murkowski for being the leader in Congress on critical mineral issues, drawing a straight line from their domestic development to the defense technologies that safeguard national security,” Anthony Huston, CEO of Graphite One, said. “Whether for lithium-ion batteries or a safer foam fire suppressant for defense or civilian use, it’s essential to develop Alaska’s rich graphite resources. The 2023 Defense Appropriations bill reflects that imperative.”

BILL HIGHLIGHTS

Improving Quality of Life

  • Pay Raise: Provides a well-deserved 4.6 percent pay raise for military servicemembers.
  • Basic Needs Allowance: Provides funding for a supplementary basic needs allowance for eligible families as well as a Basic Allowance for Subsistence.
  • Inflation: Includes funding to help servicemembers and families bear the cost of inflation.
  • Mental and Behavioral Heath: Provides funding for mental and behavioral health programs, including an increase in funding for mental health providers and funding for suicide prevention with a focus on rural, remote, and isolated locations.
  • Medical Programs: Includes significant funding for medical and health care programs.
  • Medical Research: Provides for medical research, including funding for ovarian cancer research and peer-reviewed ALS research.
  • Environmental Restoration: Provides funding for environmental clean-up, including the clean-up of formerly used defense sites (“FUDS”) and remediating contamination caused by PFOS/PFOA.

infrastructure and equipment

  • Military Construction:
    • $99 million in Congressionally Directed Spending for military construction (fitness/training) at Fort Wainwright.
    • $63 million in Congressionally Directed Spending for military construction (airport hanger) on JBER.
    • $5.2 million in Congressionally Directed Spending to remove PFAS contaminated soil on JBER
    • $100 million for a runway extension on JBER.
    • $68 million for military construction (housing) on ​​Clear Air Force Station.
  • Cold Weather Gear: Supports our military serving in the High North through funding for Arctic clothing and individual equipment.
  • Aircraft:
    • Funds 20 HH-60W combat rescue helicopters, which are used by the Alaska National Guard.
    • Includes funding for 16 C-130J aircraft for the Air National Guard.
    • Provides funding for F-35 aircraft including funds for restoration, spares, and repair facilities.
    • Funds 12 MQ-1C Gray Eagle Extended Range UAVs for the Army National Guard, like those used at Fort Wainwright.
  • JPARC: Provides funding for the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex (JPARC), the premier Air Force training range.
  • Hypersonics: Provides funding for the development and fielding of hypersonic weapons.
  • Defense Community Cooperation: Provides funding for the Defense Community Infrastructure Program, which supports infrastructure projects that impact both installations and communities.
  • Nuclear Energy: Provides funding for Pele Micro nuclear reactor. Eielson AFB was selected as the first installation to deploy a microreactor.
  • Industrial Base: Provides significant investments in our defense industrial base.
  • Shipyards: Provides funding for the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan to recapitalize Navy shipyards.
  • Spaceports: Supports state operated spaceports, which includes Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska in Kodiak, and launch and range complexes that support defense space priorities

Arctic Presence and Domain Awareness

  • Ted Stevens Center: Increases funding for the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies.
  • Permafrost: Includes funding for the Army Corps of Engineers to expand and modernize their capability to conduct research in permafrost.
  • Arctic Awareness: Provides funding for Arctic terrain sensing through the use of drone platforms to support military operations.
  • Arctic Operations: Provides funding to support Arctic defense capabilities including:
    • Rapid entry and sustainment for the Arctic
    • snow machines
    • Shelters and heaters
    • Visual and tactical Arctic reconnaissance
  • Energy: Provides funding for Arctic energy research and resiliency.

Veterans’ Health

  • VA Medical Care: Provides significant funding for medical care for the 7.3 million veterans across our nation who receive their healthcare through the VA.
  • PACT Act: Puts a down payment into the Cost of War Toxic Exposures Fund to begin the important work of caring for veterans who are victims of toxic exposure.
  • Provides increased funding for rural health priorities, caregivers, women’s health, and homelessness.

Aging Veterans

  • Requires the VA Secretary to develop a standardized process throughout the VA for entering into sharing agreements between State homes and medical centers.
  • Directs the VA to examine the contracts entered into with each State for nursing home care to determine if adequate compensation is provided for the cost of furnishing care in those locations.
  • Requires the VA Secretary to develop a strategy for the long-term care of veterans.

Native veterans

  • Directs the VA to appoint a single point of contact to coordinate federal tribal and veteran healthcare in areas where it may be difficult for a veteran to find proper representation of care due to the limited presence of VA facilities.
  • Establishes a Native VetSuccess at Tribal Colleges and Universities Pilot Program.
  • Requires the VA to provide minority veteran coordinators with training in delivery of culturally appropriate mental health and suicide prevention services to American Indian and Alaska Native veterans.

Veterans’ Mental Health

  • Provides historic levels of investment in mental health and suicide prevention services.
  • Makes the first three calendar-year visits for mental health services free for qualifying veterans.
  • Grows the mental health workforce at the VA.
  • Expands existing scholarship and loan repayment programs to those pursuing degrees or training in mental health fields.
  • Requires the VA Secretary to establish a Buddy Check Week.

Critical Minerals

  • Provides additional Defense Production Act funding for feasibility studies that will help advance domestic graphite, cobalt, and platinum mines into production.
  • Provides funding for the development of flake graphite-based solutions for PFAS contamination, including foam fire suppressants.

Related Issues: Defense, Veterans

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