National Defense Authorization Act includes provisions for Alaska
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Alaska may see improvements to its military infrastructure under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2023.
The NDAA, which passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support on December 8, was scheduled for a final vote in the Senate on Wednesday, December 14.
However, according to Republican Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan, that vote has been delayed until early the following week.
The bill adds $45 billion to the nation’s military budget.
In its current form, the bill includes provisions touted by Sullivan which benefit Alaska, including nearly $300 million in military construction.
Sullivan says Alaska plays a key role in missile defense, air combat power and expeditionary forces for the U-S. “We have very significant national security challenges facing us as a country, facing our allies, what I’ve been referring to literally since the invasion by Russia, as a new era of authoritarian aggression, led by the dictator in Moscow, Vladimir Putin, and the dictator in Beijing, Xi Jinping. What we need to be doing, from my perspective, is building up our military; but we, as Alaska, have a very special role to play.”
Meanwhile, another bill with implications for Alaska is also under consideration.
The Don Young Coast Guard Authorization Act allows for the purchase and housing of a military icebreaker in Alaska, with Juneau as its likely homeport.
These ships are designed to move through waters that may be covered in ice.
The bill has already passed the House of Representatives, and is next headed to the Senate. “Senator Murkowski and I have been working relentlessly for years to get us to build icebreakers,” Sullivan said. “We are finally building them. I was able to get in the NDAA about three years ago the authorization for six. The appropriations for these have been pushed by Senator Murkowski, so we’ve been tag-teaming that. We’re building them now, but there’s a shortfall. We have two, and one is broken. The Russians have 54 at last count.”
The NDAA, as currently written, also rescinds the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for servicemembers and expands the U.S. stockpile of strategic minerals.
Copyright 2022 KTVF. All rights reserved.