Sen. Kelly Secures Key Arizona Priorities in Annual Defense Bill

Bill funds more F-35s and Compass Call aircraft flown at Arizona military bases  

Increases U.S. competitiveness through new technology, innovation  

Continues implementation of Kelly’s Brandon Act to prevent military suicides 

Names new DOD Irregular Warfare Center in honor of Senator John McCain   

Today, Senate Armed Services Committee member and 25-year Navy combat veteran Mark Kelly announced that he secured major Arizona priorities in this fiscal year’s defense bill, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill, which passed the Senate Armed Services Committee with strong bipartisan support in June, also included a Kelly-supported $45 billion increase above President Biden’s original budget request. The defense bill delivers additional Compass Call electronic attack and F-35 aircraft, planes flown at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Luke Air Force Base, and Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma, upgrades to infrastructure at multiple Arizona bases, and makes critical investments to improve military readiness, competitiveness, and more.

“After months of hard work with Republicans and Democrats, the results are clear, this year’s defense bill will strengthen our national security. As a veteran and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I know how critical it is that our servicemembers have what they need to keep Americans safe, both at home and abroad. Our work will go a long way in providing the advanced technology needed to maintain our competitive edge over China while supporting servicemembers and their families. By investing in our people and expanding Arizona’s already critical role in our national security, we will continue to be the best military in the world,” said Senator Kelly.

Kelly chairs the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, where he worked on key provisions necessary to ensure America’s long-term strategic competitive advantage over China and Russia. Through his leadership on the subcommittee, Kelly secured provisions that will advance key technology developments; provide continued assistance to Ukraine; and develop a multiyear plan for bolstering Taiwan’s defensive capabilities; among other provisions. The bill will also further border security efforts by strengthening security cooperation across the Western Hemisphere to root out transnational organized crime and drug trafficking and requiring DOD to provide regular reports on the southwest border support mission. And finally, Kelly worked to accelerate the establishment of a new Irregular Warfare Center with Congressional support to name the Center after the late Senator John McCain.

“The new Irregular Warfare Center will help us stay ahead of our adversaries through collaborative research across our government, universities, and foreign partners. No one knew the importance of this mission better than Senator McCain, and it’s fitting that the Center be named on his behalf,” said Kelly.

Key provisions of Kelly’s to combat transnational crime and increase border security, Securing America’s Borders Against Fentanyl Act and DHS Illicit Cross-Border Tunnel Defense Act, were also included and passed as part of NDAA.

See below for toplines of provisions Kelly secured for Arizona.

For a more detailed breakdown of what Kelly secured in the NDAA, please click HERE.

Arizona’s Military Installations & Defense Community

  • Four additional EC-37B Compass Call aircraft than requested in president’s budget and prioritization for future missions at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base;
  • Additional F-35 aircraft, flown at Luke Air Force Base and MCAS Yuma;
  • Report to explore opportunities for expanding the use of Electronic Proving Ground at Fort Huachuca by the military and the private sector;
  • Support for Arizona military bases including more than $53 million for military construction projects in our state.

Investing in Our People

In this year’s bill, Kelly successfully required the Department of Defense to:

  • Provide a 4.6% pay raise for our servicemembers, the largest in 20 years;
  • Expand the Department’s mental health and suicide prevention efforts, including requiring a progress report on enacting Kelly’s Brandon Act;
  • Expand childcare options for military families, including $5 million in funding to design a new Child Development Center at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona;
  • Establish more robust healthcare options for military families;
  • Provide $250 million to reduce costs of food and other necessities at military commissaries.

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

“The Arizona Defense and Industry Coalition (AZDIC) is incredibly fortunate to have Senator Mark Kelly fighting for Arizona interests. With his leadership, the Senate is regaining American leadership in advanced microelectronics, securing the defense supply chain, protecting critical Arizona military assets, and expediting support to our allies abroad. His leadership on the NDAA will have a lasting impact on Arizona’s military installations and defense industry and will ensure our warfighters have the equipment and resources necessary to keep our nation safe,” added Lynndy Smith, President of AZDIC and Chairwoman of West Valley Defense Alliance.

“DM50 is grateful for Senator Kelly’s continued commitment to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and the wellbeing of our servicemembers and their families. Thanks to Senator Kelly’s advocacy and leadership on the Senate Armed Services Committee, this year’s NDAA added full funding for the Compass Call transition—a critical and enduring mission based at Davis-Monthan—and funding for two military construction projects at DM that will improve our Air Force’s operational and training capacity. DM50 looks forward to our continued partnership with Senator Kelly as we keep working to secure future DM missions and ensure our Airmen’s needs are met,” said Linda Morales, DM50 President.

“The Yuma 50 and the Yuma Community are deeply grateful to Senator Kelly for his steadfast leadership and dedication to the Military installations in Arizona. Our installations will all get desperately needed infrastructure improvements that have been neglected too long,” said Julie Engel, Chair, Yuma 50.

“The Huachuca 50 and the greater Sierra Vista community are grateful to Senator Kelly for his work on this year’s defense bill. This funding will secure modern military readiness and support servicemembers and their families at Fort Huachuca. Test ranges such as the 1LT John R. Fox Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) Range Complex are vital to our National Defense Strategy and open incredible opportunities for the region in partnership with other regional assets such as Cochise Community College, the University of Arizona’s College of Applied Science and Technology, and multiple industry partners. Senator Kelly’s efforts ensure our troops and their families have the resources they need to succeed in their job of keeping Americans safe,” said Dr. Randy Groth, Huachuca 50 President.

“We are grateful for Senator Kelly’s leadership for Arizona and our national security. His service on the Senate Armed Services Committee is critical for our state’s military assets and industry. We look forward to working with Senator Kelly in 2023 as Mesa continues to enable modernization of our nation’s forces,” said Sally Harrison, President Mesa Chamber of Commerce and Mesa Industry & Defense Council.

“The Northern Arizona Military Affairs Council (NAMAC) thanks Senator Kelly for his continued advocacy on defense issues. We are especially thankful for the continued push to expand partnerships with Arizona industry, including a new evaluation of opportunities for the private sector to access military test ranges like the Electronic Proving Ground. We also appreciate the increased funding for the Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program that is supporting ongoing resilience and conservation easement work at the Naval Observatory and Camp Navajo. We look forward to working closely with Senator Kelly as he continues his service on the Senate Armed Service Committee.” – Julie Patrick, President, Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce and Northern Arizona Military Affairs Council (NAMAC)

“Any way you look at it, this year’s NDAA is a win for Southern Arizona. Davis-Monthan AFB received over $15 million to rebuild and expand existing facilities, MCAS Yuma received $5 million to address a sorely needed water treatment facility, and Yuma Proving Ground received $6.5 million for construction of a new building for the military freefall school,” said Robert Medler, president of the Southern Arizona Defense Alliance. “Perhaps the most important was the $22 million allocated for completion of a new entry gate to Morris ANGB – a safety and security improvement pursued for nearly 20 years. My sincere thanks and congratulations to Senator Mark Kelly for his tireless work to ensure Southern Arizona’s military installations, and those who serve, receive the support needed.”