Oklahoma’s military installations secured $152 million in funding as part of the $900 billion National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 that won approval Wednesday in the Senate and Thursday in the US House.
Approval in the Senate was on an 87 to 13 vote while in the House, the vote was 310 to 118.
In addition to the $152 million for the Army installations and the Air Force Bases in Oklahoma, the Act also included more than $122 million in funding for Oklahoma’s higher education aerospace programs and defense industry partners.
U.S. Sens. Markwayne Mullin and James Lankford voted for the measure on Wednesday.
““The NDAA includes massive investments for Oklahoma’s military and defense industry, secures a 5.2 percent pay increase for America’s warfighters, and strengthens U.S. defense capabilities to counter foreign threats like Communist China,” said Sen. Mullin.
“The NDAA is a must-pass bill for our great state and I’m proud of the work we did in our first year to get this significant bipartisan package across the finish line.”
“Oklahoma’s military installations need the support of the American people through Congress each year to get the National Defense Authorization Act negotiated, debated, and passed into law,” said Sen. Lankford.
The funding for Oklahoma’s five military installations included $58 million for Tinker Air Force Base’s 3-Bay KC-46 Depot Maintenance Hangar and another $5.8 million for Tinker’s F-o35 Aircraft Oxygen Shop.
Also on the list is $76.65 million for Fort Sill’s Microgrid and Backup Power project; and $8.4 million for Vance Air Force Base’s Consolidated Undergraduate Pilot Training Center planning and design. As part of the Vance funding, there is a prohibition on divesting of T-1A training aircraft until the Air Force can certify that simulators are equally or more effective than the current program, which keeps Vance AFB’s flying training mission alive.
Further funding includes $1.194 million for the new Water Treatment Plant planning and design at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant. The Act includes $400,000 for the Army National Guard Ardmore Readiness Center’s vehicle maintenance shop; $1.8 million for the Shawnee National Guard Readiness Center; $60.8 million for the U.S. Army Air & Missile Defense Programs that fund OSU’s Counter-UAS Center of Excellence Program; $51.9 million for U.S. Air Force Manufacturing Technology Programs that fund OU’s Additive manufacturing of aerospace parts research partnership; $9.67 million for U.S. Army Light Tactical Vehicles Program; and a 5.2 percent pay raise for service members to offset inflation.
Three amendments provided by Sen. Mullin were also approved, including one to improve and increase transparency for medial malpractive claims made by service members, an amendment to prohibit the DOD from requiring members of the Armed Forces or civilian employees of the DOD to list their gender or pronouns in official correspondence, including email signatures. and an amendment to require the DOD to ensure all military accessions and promotions are based on individual merit and demonstrated performance.
There are more requirements affecting the military installations in the state such as: B-21, T-7, T-1, KC-46, E-7, E-6 procurement, munitions procurement across all service branches, including 155-millimeter ammunition, long-range precision fires, air and missile defense, THAAD, Paladin and specifically general purpose bombs for the McAlester Army Ammunitions Plant (MCAAP)
The bill modifies and improves the calculation of basic allowance for housing (BAH) rates with respect to junior enlisted members, which will directly benefit Altus Air Force Base and the other remote bases in Oklahoma.
Additionally, the bill includes a three-year extension of direct hire for our domestic defense industrial base facilities, Major Range and Test Facilities, and the Office of the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, which greatly benefits Tinker Air Force Base as the headquarters of the Air Force Sustainment Center.
Sen.Lankford said the bill also includes his provision that requires the Air Force to maintain 16 E-3s until the Air Force can procure enough E-7s to accomplish the mission load, which belongs to the 552nd Air Control Wing at Tinker Air Force Base.
Another requirement in the Act directly affects Altus Air Force Base. It includes $2.8 billion to procure 15 KC-46A tanker aircraft which Altus Air Force Base trains and also requires a continued training program of the KC-135 program at the Air Base.