Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., said the Senate passed legislation today that would help sustain homeland security activities and the nation's continued operations for the war on terrorism.
The Senate voted 97-2 to approve S. 2514, legislation authorizing more than $393.4 billion for the Department of Defense (DOD).
Enzi was a cosponsor of a provision that would authorize the concurrent receipt of military retired pay and veterans' disability compensation for certain military retirees. To qualify, members must be eligible for non-disability retirement and for veterans' disability compensation for a service-connected disability.
Enzi was also able to secure $10 million for a storm drainage system in Cheyenne and F.E. Warren Air Force Base. The funding would come from nearly $10 billion authorized for military construction.
The bill included a $10 billion request aimed at sustaining the nation's efforts in the war on terrorism, requiring that the Defense and Energy Secretaries and Director of Central Intelligence submit a report on the research and development activities for a weapon that would defeat deeply buried military targets, and instituting the temporary use of the National Guard to carry out homeland security activities. In addition, the legislation provides for missile defense, the maintenance, acquisition and improvement of weapons and increased funding for military personnel pay and family housing, among other items.
"Men and women are putting their lives on the line to defend our liberties and it's imperative that we demonstrate our commitment to them," said Enzi. "We need to provide our military with the resources necessary to be successful in this war. This is rightfully the first order of business for authorization and we should follow suit with the actual defense appropriations."
The authorizing bill included $555.8 million for ballistic missile defense (BMD) systems engineering and integration, battle management, command and control and other BMD system projects. The Senate Armed Services Committee initially reported out a bill that significantly reduced for these activities, however, the funding was restored during floor debate.
"I commend the Senate for restoring the initial cut in missile defense. The reductions would have undermined President Bush's plans for a single integrated missile defense system that would defend against missiles of all ranges and in all phases of their flight," said Enzi. "I believe the United States must continue to develop a national missile defense system. To effectively address the threats of the 21st century, we need a new concept of deterrence that includes both offensive and defensive forces," said Enzi.
The authorizing bill also included approximately $176.5 million for modifications to the C-130 aircraft and nearly $580.7 million for modifications to the Minuteman III land-based Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. Additionally, about $153.4 million was authorized for the purchase of 12 UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters.
The legislation also authorized an across-the-board military pay raise of 4.1 percent and an additional targeted pay raise for certain experienced mid-career personnel. It extended for one year certain bonuses and pay incentives for the reserve forces, certain health care professionals and nuclear officers.
The House passed its version of the DOD authorization bill on May 10 by a vote of 359-58. The legislation will now go to a House-Senate conference committee to work through the differences in the two bills. The DOD authorization sets funding parameters for general areas. Funding for specific areas will actually be allotted in the DOD appropriations bill.