Wicker Champions Mississippi Priorities in Defense Bill

Legislation Would Not Authorize New Round of Base Closings

May 13, 2016

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today announced that this year’s “National Defense Authorization Act” (NDAA) includes several provisions that would benefit Mississippi’s soldiers, veterans, military installations, and defense manufacturing. The measure has been approved by the committee and now awaits floor consideration.

“From an aggressive North Korea to an emboldened Russia and an insurgent Islamic State, our nation’s military is facing new and changing threats,” Wicker said. “They need the equipment, resources, and authority to fight and contain our foes. This year’s blueprint would provide them with those essential tools and commits the full support of the United States government to a strong and capable defense.

“The bill would also have a positive impact on the jobs and lives of many Mississippians. For example, funding to construct new amphibious ships for the Navy would provide job certainty for thousands of families in south Mississippi. Similar benefits could come from investments in unmanned aerial vehicles, helicopters, radar systems, and other electronic warfare technology. I am especially pleased that the bill does not authorize the Administration to initiate a new round of base realignment and closures.”

The legislation includes provisions supported by Wicker to maintain National Guard personnel levels and Army aviation force structure consistent with the findings and recommendations of the National Commission on the Future of the Army.  In response to the Army’s unvetted proposals to cut the size of the National Guard and reallocate the number of National Guard Apache helicopters, Senator Wicker and Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., created the commission to make recommendations on the future of the Army.

Wicker also supported proposals to extend the prohibition on the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States and to bar the Administration from closing the detainee facility at Guantanamo Bay.

NDAA would impact Mississippi in the following ways:

  • Tupelo: Supports the recommendations of the National Commission of the Future of the Army and recognizes the importance of the Army’s Apache helicopters.
  • Columbus/Meridian: Allows student pilots to have adequate training and flying hours at Columbus Air Force Base and Meridian Naval Air Station.
  • Gulf Coast: Funds the full construction of 2 DDG-51 Destroyers, while providing incremental funding for a third DDG-51; advances a new LXR amphibious ship; and authorizes spending on a new LHA big-deck amphibious ship.