What the Defense Bill Means for Texas
William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2021
Today the House will vote on the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021. You can read the legislation here, and below is a summary of its impact on Texas:
· Raises troops’ pay by 3%.
· Authorizes $183 million for military construction projects in Texas, including:
o a barracks, flight simulation system, and F-16 Mission Training Center at Joint Base San Antonio,
o an F-35 Operations and Maintenance Facility, Vehicle Maintenance Shop, and Aircraft Maintenance Hangar at Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth,
o Fuel Facilities at Fort Hood, and
o National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) funds for the Pantex Plant in Amarillo.
· Authorizes 93 new F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, which are built by Texans in Fort Worth.
· Increases funding for universities like Texas A&M that partner with the DOD in defense-related research and development.
· Invests in Texas students with $15 million for DOD’s STARBASE program in Austin, Houston, San Angelo, and San Antonio.
· Increases funding for Impact Aid by $70 million to support schools educating military children, and especially those with severe disabilities.
· Supports family readiness by ensuring access to high-quality childcare on military bases.
· Advocates for military spouses’ professional development with $2.5 million for reimbursement of re-licensing.
· Improves DOD’s ability to track and respond to incidents of child abuse and sexual assault on military installations.
· Responds to the pandemic by establishing a coronavirus disease panel to review the military health system’s response to COVID-19, evaluate its effects, and report to Congress by June 1, 2021.
Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.