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Isakson votes to strengthen America’s military
Johnny Isakson
Sen. Johnny Isakson.

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., voted today, Wednesday, to pass the final 2019 defense authorization bill to equip and provide for the nation’s volunteer warfighters and their families as they protect national security and defend against evolving global threats.

The John S. McCain 2019 National Defense Authorization Act passed the U.S. Senate today by a vote of 87-10. The annual defense bill will help ensure that our military assets in Georgia are protected and that the members of our all-volunteer service receive the training, resources, adaptability and equipment necessary while helping grow personnel strength in the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps. The measure now moves to President Trump, who has committed to signing it into law.

“Congress has again stepped up to support our warfighters and their families with the resources they need to protect America and our national interests. Our Georgia military installations will see the benefits of this legislation firsthand, and I’m proud that we have passed this critical legislation, and that we have a president who is eager to sign it into law,” said Isakson.

In addition to delivering all of our active-duty troops the largest pay increase in nearly 10 years and providing support for military families, the fiscal year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act provides numerous benefits to Georgia’s dozen military installations. 

At Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in St. Marys, the authorization provides $3.2 billion for Columbia-class submarines, which will replace the current Ohio-class fleet.

The authorization prohibits the retirement of any E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft known as JSTARS, which is based at Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins.

The bill authorizes more funding and authority to the Department of Defense to improve cyber capabilities and cybersecurity technology training. The increase in funding and authority will greatly strengthen capability and capacity at Fort Gordon.

Additionally, the legislation supports modernization efforts across the Department of Defense as one of four major themes in the defense bill. Almost $3 billion is authorized to design, improve or procure new heavy- and light-armed vehicles. This will increase the lethality of U.S. Army armored and infantry units, which are located at the U.S. Army’s premier armor and infantry training programs at Fort Benning.

The national defense authorization also includes additional provisions for C-130J aircraft, including authorizing the Air Force to enter one or more multiyear contracts for advanced procurement of C-130J aircraft. The manufacturing of these aircraft employs thousands of Georgians at the Lockheed Martin facility in Marietta.

Specifically, the fiscal year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act authorizes $616.9 billion in discretionary funding, $69 billion in overseas contingency operations, and $8.3 billion in defense-related activities outside National Defense Authorization Act jurisdiction for a total of $716 billion. Authorized personnel end-strength numbers are 487,500 in the Army; 335,400 in the Navy; 186,100 in the U.S. Marine Corps; and 329,100 in the U.S. Air Force.

Previously, Isakson supported the bipartisan fiscal year 2018 government funding measure that was signed into law in March that strengthened national defense and ended crippling cuts by delivering the largest increase to defense funding in 15 years.

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