Portman: Senate-Passed NDAA Includes Wins for Ohio, Increases Troop Pay, Supports Ukraine Security Assistance

NDAA Includes Largest Troop Pay Raise in Nearly 10 Years

June 27, 2019 | Press Releases

 WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) praised Senate passage the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes a number of initiatives to support Ohio’s military installations, increase troop pay, and provide additional assistance to Ukraine. He released the following statement: 

This defense bill provides needed resources to continue rebuilding our military, to support our troops, and to provide upgrades and support to Ohio’s defense installations. Our country faces significant security threats around the world, and this bipartisan legislation helps ensure that our soldiers, airmen, sailors, and Marines have the vital resources they need to accomplish their national security missions.  Ohio is home to some of the best and brightest serving our country, and some of our nation’s premier defense installations.  I’m proud of their work.  This bill also takes additional steps I’ve fought for to help Ukraine defend themselves against Russian aggression.  This security assistance package sends a clear message that America stands with the Ukrainian people in their struggle to secure a democratic, prosperous, and independent future.”  

NOTE:  Portman announced that the FY 2020 NDAA includes a number of key wins for Ohio and the country, including: 

  • Authorizing $1.7 billion in funding to upgrade 165 Abrams tanks, increasing the rate of production of the upgraded Abrams tanks Joint Systems Manufacturing Center (JSMC) in Lima in order to ensure that our forward deployed tanks have the most cutting-edge capabilities;
  • Authorizing $249 million for upgrading Stryker Vehicles at the JSMC;
  • Authorizing $74 million in funding to upgrade the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) located at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report authorized $182 million for the modernization effort at NASIC.  This measure authorizes $74 million to continue construction;
  • Authorizing $300 million in security assistance to fund additional training, equipment, and advisory efforts for Ukraine’s forces. Portman has led efforts in the Senate to ensure these Ukraine security assistance funds were authorized and obligated pending critical defense reforms at the Ukrainian parliament;
  • Directing the Department of Defense to brief Congress on how they are developing and prioritizing explainable artificial intelligence.
  • Directing the Department of Defense to provide Congress with a comparative analysis and briefing on U.S. and Chinese artificial intelligence capabilities.
  • Adding the release of the 24 Ukrainian sailors illegally held by Russia as a condition for any US military cooperation with Russia.
  • Imposing mandatory sanctions on foreign banks and companies that facilitate illicit financial transactions for North Korea. This will hold North Korea accountable for their actions and human rights abuses against Otto Warmbier as well as others they’ve illegally held captive;
  • Improving coordination across the federal government in identifying and responding to emerging contaminants like per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The bipartisan Portman bill also provides support and resources to states dealing with the health challenges posed by these potentially harmful materials;
  • Ensuring the armed forces prioritizes the recruitment and retention of individuals with computer science and digital engineering skills to bolster artificial intelligence expertise in the military; and 
  • Expanding existing financial protections for Gold Star military families’ residential and car leases.

In total, the Senate-passed NDAA provides $750 billion for national defense. The legislation also gives our service members a 3.1 percent pay raise, the largest in nearly 10 years.