Servicemember Pay Raise, Critical Arkansas Military Programs and Projects Included in Senate-Passed Legislation

Legislation that will provide a pay raise to the men and women of our armed forces while funding critical military installations and programs in Arkansas cleared the U.S. Senate with the support of Senator John Boozman (R-AR).

The Senate’s overwhelming approval of the final version of the bill allocating Fiscal Year 2019 funding for the Department of Labor, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Education and the Department of Defense (DOD) puts it one step closer to becoming law.

The bill provides $674.4 billion to DOD for FY19—an increase of $19.8 billion over the previous fiscal year’s levels—to allow the military to carry out operations, buy new equipment, invest in new technology and compensate personnel. It reaffirms Congress’s commitment to the men and women of our armed forces with a significant allotment for personnel that will allow end-strength growth and provide a 2.6 percent pay increase for troops—the largest servicemember pay increase in nearly a decade.

Boozman praised the servicemember pay raise and the inclusion of funding that will support programs in Arkansas.

“This bill takes responsible steps to ensure that our military leaders have what they need to confront today’s threats head-on while planning for the future. It seeks to deliver what the brave men and women of our military need to safely complete their missions and provides them with a well-deserved pay raise. Additionally, the bill reaffirms Washington’s confidence in the important work that takes place at military installations across Arkansas,” Boozman said.

Specifically, the bill includes the following Arkansas-related priorities:

$9 million for readiness training ranges, which will support ongoing operations at Razorback Range at Fort Chaffee and will preserve the capability for use by the many units from across the country who benefit from it;
Over $20 million for munitions manufacturing at Pine Bluff Arsenal;
Increases in funding for research in which Arkansas schools and companies are engaged:
More than $35 million for silicon carbide research to make smaller components for more sophisticated, modern weapons
Over $300 million for medical research, including for bone regeneration that seeks to help speed healing of injured service personnel
Increases in funding for critical missiles and munitions that are manufactured in Arkansas:
$30 million for rockets that the Army included in its list of unfunded priorities
An increase of $140 million for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor

The bill also included $156 million for more Army National Guard Blackhawk helicopters and more than $300 million for cyber research, both of which will benefit Arkansas military units.