Kelly Secures Key Arizona and National Security Priorities in Final Passage of Annual Defense Bill

Raises servicemember pay by 5.2%

Advances long-term future of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Fort Huachuca, and Barry M. Goldwater Range

Today, Senate Armed Services Committee member and 25-year Navy combat veteran Mark Kelly announced that he secured major Arizona and national security priorities in the final version of the 2024 fiscal year defense bill. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support and is expected to pass the House this week and be signed into law. The bill advances new missions at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base; provides more than $66 million to fund planning, design, and construction of major infrastructure projects at military bases across Arizona; and maximizes U.S. leadership in developing the next generation of microchips. 

Kelly chairs the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Airland, where he led on the portions of the NDAA that cover Army, Air Force, and National Guard and Reserve planning, programs, procurement, and research and development. During the NDAA process, he chaired hearings on Army and Air Force modernization to hear and assess priorities from each branch and, subsequently, helped to craft relevant portions of this year’s NDAA. Through his leadership on the subcommittee, Kelly delivered on strengthening the industrial base to replenish munitions stocks and systems provided to Ukraine, pursue advanced U.S. munitions, and support modernization of the Army and Air Force while maintaining the readiness and capability of existing systems and aircraft. 

“With wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, and the threat of an increasingly aggressive China in the Pacific, strengthening our national security is vital to keeping Americans safe. As a veteran and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I worked to ensure this defense bill supports our servicemembers and their families and furthers Arizona’s leadership in our national defense. This bill is the product of months of hard work by Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate and will enable our military to respond to the threats we face today and prepare for challenges ahead,” said Senator Kelly.   

Click here for a complete summary of the FY ‘24 NDAA. 

See below for key Arizona and national security provisions secured by Sen. Kelly

Supports Servicemembers and Military Families 

  • Raises pay by 5.2% for servicemembers and Department of Defense (DoD) civilian employees; 
  • Increases Impact Aid by $70 million, which benefits Arizona schools including the Fort Huachuca School District and Sierra Vista Public Schools; 
  • Increases access to mental healthcare by authorizing licensed mental health professionals to provide non-medical counseling services to military families anywhere in the U.S. regardless of state licensure and authorizing the Secretary of Defense to waive cost-sharing requirements for three mental health visits per year for active-duty family members and TRICARE Young Adult program recipients. 

Strengthens National Security 

  • Advances U.S. leadership in developing the next generation of microchips as part of the National Network for Microelectronics created in Kelly’s CHIPS Act by synchronizing DoD and Department of Energy programs for research and development;  
  • Improves coordination with allies in countering shared threats from Iran, including by supporting integration of Morocco into CENTCOM-led military exercises;  
  • Includes provisions of the Kelly-cosponsored CONSULT Act that prohibits DoD from contracting with firms for national security matters if they provide consulting services for adversaries or sanctioned entities;    
  • Expands the range of munitions eligible for multi-year procurement contracts and extends existing streamlined acquisition authorities that help support both U.S. defense requirements and ongoing support to Ukraine. Kelly has advocated for the expansion, including during Senate Armed Services Committee hearings;  
  • Includes a Kelly provision to accelerate training of Israeli Air Force (IAF) pilots and crew on KC-46 next-generation air refueling aircraft, also known as tankers, which they plan to acquire from the U.S. to bolster defense capabilities; authorizes new spaces for IAF members in the U.S. Air Force Military Personnel Exchange program; and requires updates on timing for delivery of KC-46 aircraft to Israel and any actions to accelerate delivery;   
  • Directs a strategy for improved maritime domain awareness and interdiction capabilities to counter seaborne threats in the Middle East, based on the Maritime Architecture and Response to International Terrorism In the Middle East (MARITIME) Act, a bill cosponsored by Kelly and inspired by direct Congressional Delegation engagements with U.S. military and partners in the region;   
  • Requires an update on implementation of the DEFEND Act, which Kelly supported through last year’s NDAA to advance efforts to build an integrated air and missile defense architecture among regional partners. 

Arizona’s Military Installations and Defense Community 

  • Advances new missions at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base by authorizing $5 million for the ongoing site review and planning to establish the new Special Operations Power Projection wing at the base. Also requires a briefing on the standup of the wing, including the planned timeline for activation and the associated moves with respect to personnel, aircraft, and equipment;  
  • Centers Fort Huachuca and the modernizing Compass Call fleet at DM as part of a renewed focus on Electronic Warfare by codifying the Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations Executive Committee and requiring an annual training range assessment that includes capacity for testing and training of electromagnetic warfare operations and identification of areas where multiple ranges can be used simultaneously to simulate the Pacific Deterrence Initiative theater operations plan; 
  • Ensures continued support for training in Arizona by extending the existing land withdrawal for the Barry M. Goldwater Range; 
  • Provides more than $66 million for major infrastructure projects at Arizona military facilities:
    • Luke Air Force Base 
      • $2.6 million in planning and design funding towards upgrading the Control Tower, Fire Station, and Base Operations Complex at a consolidated building at the Gila Bend Auxiliary Airfield, which is used by base pilots for training; 
      • $2.7 million in planning and design funding for the Child Development Center at Luke Air Force Base;  
    • Davis-Monthan Air Force Base: $8.5 million for the Air Force Reserve’s Guardian Angel Preservation of the Force and Family Facility, which will support troop readiness by providing space for exercise, physical therapy, rehabilitation, mental health, and family counseling;  
    • Marine Corps Air Station Yuma: $8.9 million for planning and design for upgraded water treatment plant; 
    • Yuma Proving Ground: extends authorization to complete the YPG Ready Building through October 2024;   
    • Camp Navajo:  
      • Directs an assessment of the readiness benefits of improving bridge infrastructure at the Camp Navajo entrance;    
      • Requires DoD to review of their Strategic Rail Corridor Network (STRACNET) infrastructure on military installations, like Camp Navajo, to assess need for potential upgrades including to support contingencies in Europe and the Pacific; 
    • Arizona Air National Guard: $11.6 million for the AZ Air National Guard to construct emergency defense infrastructure at the Tucson International Airport;    
    • Arizona Army National Guard: $15 million for the Army National Guard Readiness Center in Surprise, AZ;   
    • Army Reserve: $17 million for the Army Reserve area maintenance support activity in San Tan Valley, AZ.  

See how Arizona defense leaders are reacting to Kelly’s work below: 

“AZDIC wholeheartedly thanks Senator Mark Kelly for his dedication to the passage of the FY ‘24 NDAA. His unwavering commitment to bolstering our defense sector ensures the vitality of critical capabilities at home. Additionally, his heartfelt advocacy for essential aid to allies, including Ukraine, reflects a profound understanding of the interconnectedness between our national security and the vitality of our defense industry. We are truly grateful for his efforts in safeguarding both our nation and its defenders,” said Lynndy Smith, President of AZDIC and Chairwoman of West Valley Defense Alliance.

“Not only is Davis-Monthan AFB critical to our national security and integral to our community, it also provides an enormous economic boost to the city of Tucson and Pima County.  Most recent numbers show that Davis-Monthan along with the Arizona Air National Guard at TIA have an economic impact of over $3.5 billion annually.  Additionally, DM accounts for a large precent of the more than 78K jobs that military installations generate statewide. The DM50 continues to advocate for future flying missions at Davis-Monthan and we believe the additional combat search and rescue assets as well as the Special Forces Power Projection Wing will be a tremendous addition to the base and the local community.  Additionally, we are very appreciative of the continued advocacy and support from Senator Kelly and the entire Arizona delegation as we work together to ensure the future of DM,” said Jay Bickley, President of DM50.

“The Defense Authorization Act will provide desperately needed funding for a water treatment plant at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, enable completion of the YPG Ready Building, and ensure the Barry M. Goldwater Range continues to support military training in southern Arizona. The Yuma 50 and Yuma community are grateful to Sen. Kelly for his work to secure funding for these essential investments,” said Julie Engel, Chair of Yuma 50

“The Huachuca 50 is pleased with the final passage of the National Defense Authorization Act. The NDAA addresses priorities in Southern Arizona including strengthening Sentinel Landscape, requiring a report on Military Health System civilian partnerships in rural communities, and recognizing the contribution of medical professionals in rural communities, such as Canyon Vista Medical Center, to military readiness.  The NDAA also addresses the capacity for testing and training of electromagnetic warfare operations, codifies the Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations Executive Committee, and directs the Secretaries of the Army and Air Force to brief a plan for joint aerial intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. Fort Huachuca is already decisively engaged in each of these efforts. The Huachuca 50 commends Sen Kelly for his leadership on the Senate Armed Services as chair of the Airland Subcommittee. His leadership led to a bill that addresses national security challenges worldwide,” said Dr. Randy Groth, Huachuca 50 President.  

“MIDC is grateful for Senator Kelly’s leadership in passage of the National Defense Authorization Act. The NDAA is critical to our nation’s security and supportive of Arizona industry which provides needed products and components to our military and allies. Senator Kelly’s chairmanship of the Senate Armed Services Airland Subcommittee draws on his unique experience as a veteran to ensure our forces are modernized to respond to future threats,” said Sally Harrison, President Mesa Chamber of Commerce and Mesa Industry & Defense Council

“Our Senator Mark Kelly continues to be a key advocate for defense issues in Washington, especially those that impact northern Arizona and The Northern Arizona Military Affairs Council (NAMAC). Senator Kelly’s commitment to improving the Camp Navajo facility through a bridge assessment and DoD review of STRACNET (Strategic Rail Corridor Network) requirements in this year’s NDAA are important steps towards base enhancement now and into the future.  We are grateful for the good work and know there’s more to come. Senator Kelly’s leadership on the Senate Armed Service Committee for northern Arizona and our defense interests, and defense interests throughout Arizona is beyond commendable,” said Julie Pastrick, President, Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce and Northern Arizona Military Affairs Council.