12.17.19

Defense Bill Clears Senate, Authorizes Over $300 Million in Gardner-Secured Colorado Priorities

National Defense Authorization Act establishes Space Force, includes largest pay raise for troops in a decade and 12 weeks of paid parental leave

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) voted in support of the conference report to accompany the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020 today, which authorizes $322 million in military construction projects in Colorado. The annual defense bill also authorizes a 3.1 percent pay raise for troops, the largest in a decade, and 12 weeks of paid parental leave for all 2.1 million federal employees. With bipartisan Senate passage today, the legislation heads to the President’s desk for signature.  

NDAA Passage 12-17-19

NOTE: Click here or on the picture above to download Senator Gardner’s remarks in support of NDAA passage.

“I’m proud the Senate passed a strong bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act today to provide for our national defense and keep Americans safe around the globe. Colorado’s military installations are on the cutting edge of military readiness and protecting our national security, and this legislation goes a long way to support Colorado service members and their families.” said Senator Gardner. “In particular, we successfully authorized the U.S. Space Force as a military service branch, which will help to ensure the United States remains a global leader in space. Colorado has a long history of supporting our nation’s civilian and military space operations, and with U.S. Space Command currently located at Peterson Air Force Base, our state is uniquely positioned to further advance its role in space operations. As a state, we look forward to supporting the standup of our military’s newest service branch, the U.S. Space Force.”

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-OK) commended Senator Gardner’s work on the NDAA in the following statement:

“The United States has a strategic advantage in space, but our adversaries are coming for us, and we must be prepared to compete in this increasingly contested domain. As I recently commented in Centennial at a defense roundtable with Senator Gardner, he is a true leader on defense issues broadly and space specifically. With Senator Gardner’s leadership and guidance, the defense authorization bill creates a United States Space Force to advance America’s ability to meet evolving threats and challenges. The Space Force will firmly establish a strong footing of space domain warfighters in the State of Colorado, and hard-working Coloradans will play an important role in this critical mission,” said Senator Inhofe.

Text of the legislation can be found here.

The defense bill authorizes $322 million total in military construction projects in Colorado (Section 4601):

  • $71M for a Company Operations Facility at Fort Carson
  • $54M for a Theater Operational Support Facility at Peterson Air Force Base
  • $148M for a Consolidated Space Operations Facility at Schriever Air Force Base
  • $49M for a Consolidated Cadet Prep School Dormitory at the U.S. Air Force Academy

Senator Gardner led numerous provisions included in the NDAA, including:

  • Providing resources for PFAS pollution cleanup to ensure clean and safe drinking water. (Sections 7321, 7362)
  • Imposing sanctions on North Korea, pursuant to the Gardner-authored North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act, signed into law in 2016. (Title 71)
  • Improving the emergency alert system and giving the federal government the sole responsibility of alerting the public of a missile threat. (Section 1756)
  • Promoting the expansion of the national network of Manufacturing USA institutes and strengthening American manufacturing. (Section 1741)
  • Expressing support for the democratic values and human rights of the people of Hong Kong and authorizes US sanctions against all those violating the human rights of the people of Hong Kong. (Section 1260F)
  • Authorizing $75 million for the Defense Community Infrastructure Program to be administered by the Office of Economic Adjustment in support of economic development in communities surrounding military installations. (Section 4301)
  • Eliminating the “widow’s tax” that directly harms Gold Star Families. (Section 622)
    • Gardner is a cosponsor of S. 622, the Military Widow’s Tax Elimination Act of 2019, and joined an August letter to NDAA conferees requesting that the final package include a solution. 

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Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.