Defense & Veterans
Protecting Ohioans, Honoring Veterans & Making America Stronger
Senator Portman is committed to keeping Ohioans safe and giving our men and women in uniform the resources they need to protect themselves and best complete their mission. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Portman has consistently advocated for a more robust and comprehensive American strategy to protect our allies and deter our adversaries.
As part of his efforts to rebuild our military and strengthen our national security, Portman has worked to increase the range of capabilities for military installations throughout Ohio, and create jobs and opportunity for Ohio’s servicemembers. Portman continued his strong advocacy on behalf of the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima. In 2017, Portman fought for legislation to authorize and fund more than $1.6 billion to increase the rate of production of the newest upgraded Abrams tanks. As well as $622 million to complete the fourth Stryker brigade with upgraded survivability and mobility improvements as well as a second brigade of Stryker vehicles with an upgraded weapons system. The funding was included at the urging of Portman and Senator Gary Peters (D-MI). Then in 2018, President Trump signed into law legislation Portman championed to authorize $1.5 billion in funding to upgrade 135, or 1.5 brigades worth, of Abrams tanks — increasing the rate of production of the newest upgraded Abrams tanks in Lima in order to ensure that our forward deployed tanks have the most cutting-edge capabilities. The measure also includes $225 million for upgrading Stryker Vehicles, a $203 million increase over the president’s budget request for these upgrades. Portman has made clear he will continue to keep fighting for more funding for Lima.
Portman championed legislation to authorize and fund $15 million to support the construction of upgraded fighter aircraft hangars for the 180th Fighter Wing in Toledo, Ohio as part of the NDAA. Former Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) and Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-RI) included this funding after Portman sent a letter urging them to do so.
In 2018, Portman championed a $116 million authorization in NDAA funding to upgrade the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) located at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Portman had urged leadership to include the funding. This was signed into law in 2018.
In 2018, President Trump signed into law the FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included Portman’s priority of $7.4 million to expand training capabilities at the Ohio National Guard’s Camp James A. Garfield Joint Military Training Center with a new automated machine gun range. Portman sent the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee a letter requesting this investment in Camp James A. Garfield.
Supporting America’s Veterans
In June 2018, the President signed the National Veterans Memorial and Museum Act into law. The legislation, introduced by U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) congressionally designated the National Veterans Memorial and Museum in Columbus, Ohio. This museum will provide an important venue to honor America’s veterans and educate the American people about their sacrifice.
Portman supported, and President Trump signed into law, the VA MISSION Act in June 2018. The bipartisan legislation provides veterans with access to efficient, timely, and quality health care and services in their own communities.
In December 2018, the Senate approved Portman’s Gold Star Spouses Leasing Relief Act, which would modify the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) to allow a widow or widower of a servicemember who died while in military service (i.e., a Gold Star spouse) to terminate a jointly held residential lease without penalty within one year of the servicemember’s death. President Trump signed it into law on December 31, 2018.