Menendez Applauds Senate Passage of the National Defense Authorization Act

Menendez Applauds Senate Passage of the National Defense Authorization Act

Bill authorizes $$$ to expand mission at JBMDL, provides resources to fund critical Rt. 539 overpass


WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez today applauded Senate passage of the FY20 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorizes funding for critical projects at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JBMDL), provides a source of funding for the Route 539 overpass project, as well as raises and new housing protections for military personnel and their families.

“I was proud to have voted for a military authorization bill that supports our brave men and women in uniform and helps to solidify the Joint Base’s core missions,” said Sen. Menendez.  “As the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I am well aware of the dangers that threaten our country and why it is absolutely critical to support the vital missions being carried out at New Jersey’s military installations, which are crucial to both our national security and state economy.  We must support our troops and their families as they make sacrifices each day for our freedom.”

This year’s NDAA authorizes $750 billion for the Pentagon and defense-related programs for procurement, operations and maintenance, research and development, and military pay and benefits. 

It includes $2.8 billion to accelerate the production schedule and expand the number of KC-46A next generation mid-air refueling tankers from the budget request of 12 to 15. The new tankers are expected to be delivered to the Joint Base in 2021. Sen. Menendez led the effort to promote JBMDL was best positioned to house KC-46As based upon its strategic location, and existing assets and facilities. Last year, the Senator attended the groundbreaking ceremony to build new aircraft hangars and other infrastructure to house new KC-46As. The new tankers will ensure the long-term viability of the Joint Base, maintain base’s critical national security mission, and secure hundreds of construction jobs.

The bill also authorizes $100 million for a federal matching grant program through the Defense Community Infrastructure Program to provide up to 70% of funding for infrastructure projects around military bases. State and local governments can apply for this grant to help pay for the construction of the Route 539 overpass to connect the Ft. Dix and Lakehurst training ranges. This overpass will allow military vehicles to safely and quickly move between the two military installations.  Because the overpass would create additional training space for service members, the bases would increase their ability to accept new missions. This would be another step towards ensuring the long-term future for JBMDL, the state’s second largest employer.

The NDAA provides service members with a 3.1% raise as part of a $155.8 billion package to fund military personnel pay, bonuses, allowances, death benefits and moving costs.  In addition, the bill creates a Tenant Bill of Rights to address problems with privatized military housing by setting up a dispute resolution process and increased oversight of private military housing companies.

The Joint Base is home to the 87th Air Base Wing, which provides installation management support for 3,933 facilities with an approximate value of $9.3 billion in physical infrastructure. More than 44,000 service members, civilians and their family members live and work on and around the Joint Base, making it the second largest employer in New Jersey, with only state government employing more.