Sen. Cruz Applauds Final Passage of John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act
‘The Senate has once again fulfilled our first responsibility: equipping our servicemen and women, and ensuring the defense of this nation’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today voted to pass the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019, which includes numerous military necessities, including over $150 million in military construction funds for the state of Texas. Sen. Cruz secured over 30 provisions that were successfully adopted into the bill, benefitting Texas, as well as America’s national security interests at home and abroad.
“In today’s challenging and threatening environment, peace through strength is best achieved with a strong, well-funded military,” Sen. Cruz said. “I am proud to have secured over 30 provisions in this bill that will ensure the continued success of Texas’ military communities and address the United States’ national security interests. Furthermore, this bill includes another well-deserved increase to our troops’ take-home pay to properly compensate the brave men and women of our military. Under unified Republican leadership, the Senate has once again fulfilled our first responsibility: equipping our servicemen and women, and ensuring the defense of this nation.”
Below are the amendments and provisions Sen. Cruz secured in the during consideration of the FY19 NDAA that directly impact Texas:
- Military Construction Projects: Sen. Cruz secured a provision allocating $158 million for military construction projects for Texas, which will fund priorities across the state including a much-needed new Basic Military Training (BMT) dormitory at Joint Base San Antonio - Lackland and a new warehouse at Red River Army Depot.
- Active Protection System (APS) for Abrams, Bradley, and Stryker: Active Protection Systems (APS) for the M1 Abrams tank, Bradley, and Stryker fighting vehicles are vital to our future Armored Brigade Combat Teams and our ability to defend against potential adversaries. This provision includes upgrading the Army’s M1 Abrams tank with Israel’s Trophy Active Protection System (APS), which has already been proven in protecting Israel’s Merkava tanks.
- National Guard Promotions: Sen. Cruz joined with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to improve the National Guard officer promotion system by allowing a Guard officer’s date of rank to be corrected back to the date at which the promotion was published by the state. This provision allows Guard officers across Texas and around the country to claim their deserved time in grade at the higher rank, improving future promotion opportunities, and making them eligible for back-pay.
- Core Sampling at Joint Base San Antonio: Sen. Cruz worked with Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and the City of San Antonio to secure a provision that would require the Air Force to conduct core sampling to identify hazardous substances in the soil before moving forward with a new pipeline on Joint Base San Antonio.
- Defense Community Support: Sen. Cruz joined with Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) to enable the Secretary of Defense to establish a grant program for investing in infrastructure around military communities. This effort directly supports Texas’ Defense Economic Adjustment Assistance Grant (DEAAG) Program, which is an infrastructure grant program designed to assist defense communities.
- Support the Development of Countermeasures for 4th Generation Fighter Aircraft: Sen. Cruz advanced a provision which supports investments for sustaining the critical countermeasures and survivability equipment on our legacy fighter aircraft. This provision will help 4th generation fighters such as the F-16’s flown by the 301st Fighter Wing at Joint Base Fort Worth or the 149th Fighter Wing of the Texas Air National Guard.
- Report on the Development of Resilient Energy Technology: Sen. Cruz’s provision directs the Secretary of Defense to report on steps the Department is taking to integrate technologies that improve operational flexibility, enhance logistics, and reduce supply lines for forces operating in deployed environments, to include the ability to convert natural gas to tactical fuels, improve power generation, distribution, and storage in deployed environments, and increase the range and capability of tactical vehicles.
- Directing the Army to Develop Service Life Extension Program for the Rough Terrain Container Handler (RTCH) and Heavy Mobility Equipment: Sen. Cruz secured a provision that directs the Secretary of the Army to develop plans to sustain the RTCH fleet, preserve the RTCH industrial base, both within and outside the Army, improve readiness, and guarantee RTCH availability for operations into the 2030s. This provision will support both the work occurring at Red River Army Depot and by Texas companies.
- National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Infrastructure Roadmap: Sen. Cruz secured a provision that directs the NNSA to submit a detailed roadmap described in the Administration’s Nuclear Posture Review. This roadmap will outline the NNSA’s plan to sustain and modernize our critical infrastructure at the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas and other national laboratories.
- Fort Bliss Blood Processing Center: Sen. Cruz secured $8.5 million for a project in Fort Bliss to support the Armed Services Blood Program, which provides blood components to military medical treatment facilities in the continental United States and worldwide. This facility will also provide increased operational support to units who use Fort Bliss as a Power Projection Platform during mobilization.
- Future Vertical Lift: Sen. Cruz joined with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) to ensure funding is provided for the Army’s Future Vertical Lift program. This program is essential to the future of Army Aviation and is supported by many Texans who are hard at work in developing this next generation of aviation technology.
- Cyber Institutes: Sen. Cruz joined with Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) to direct the Secretary of Defense to establish a Cyber Institute at Senior Military Colleges such as Texas A&M.
- Depot Maintenance Report: Sen. Cruz worked with fellow NDAA conferees to adopt a provision that would require the Secretary of Defense to submit a report on labor hours and depot maintenance to ensure depots like Red River Army Depot are being properly utilized.
Sen. Cruz also led the following priorities which impact other U.S. national security interests:
- China: Sen. Cruz advanced a number of priorities to strengthen our posture toward China. Sen. Cruz secured a provision requiring the Department of Defense to publish photos of China’s offensive military forces deployed on their fake islands, to ensure Americans have the resources to understand the dangerous role being played by the Communist government. Sen. Cruz also advanced a provision to protect the Department of Defense from China’s lobbying efforts. Additionally, he secured a prohibition on the Department of Defense from funding Confucius Institutes used by the Chinese Communist Party to infiltrate American universities for influence and espionage operations. Sen. Cruz also secured a provision to bar China from participating in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) naval exercises until they cease a range of activities threatening American security. This provision reverses a policy set by President Obama.
- Iran: A provision led by Sen. Cruz expands the Annual Report on the Military Power of Iran to address emerging threats emanating from Iran in both Syria and Yemen, in cooperation with state and proxy forces. This will include an assessment of Iran’s 1) military-to-military cooperation with Russia; 2) trafficking of nuclear, biological, chemical, and advanced conventional weapons; and 3) unconventional support and training to the Houthis. This report expansion will provide a greater understanding of these destabilizing relationships that threaten our allies in the region, and how to combat them.
- Israel: Sen. Cruz led a bipartisan effort with Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to extend and increase the War Reserves Stock Allies-Israel (WRSA-I), require a U.S.-Israel joint assessment on precision guided munitions (PGMs) including a U.S. plan to assist and resupply Israel with PGMs during emergencies, and facilitate continued joint US-Israel anti-tunneling cooperation.
- Russia and Latin America: Sen. Cruz led a bipartisan effort with Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) to require the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) to report on Russia’s interference in the Western hemisphere and its security cooperation with Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua. Russia’s expanding presence in Latin America, notably with anti-American regimes, poses a significant threat to U.S. national security and regional stability. The DIA report will provide a description of Russia’s military and intelligence activities within Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua. Additionally, the DIA will assess the security advisory role between these Latin American countries.
- Lebanon: Sen. Cruz led an effort to secure a report for enhanced congressional oversight over the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and Internal Security Forces (ISF) including an evaluation of implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which required the Lebanese government to disarm Hezbollah.
- Taiwan: Sen. Cruz secured a provision to advance our relationship with Taiwan by bolstering Taiwan’s submarine warfare capability and supporting hospital ship exchanges for humanitarian relief exercises.
- North Korea: Sen. Cruz secured a provision directing the Department of Defense to use its infrastructure to broadcast factual news into North Korea, to ensure North Koreans understand the nature of the regime that oppresses them.
- Space-Based Interceptors: Sen. Cruz’s provision directs the Department of Defense to develop a space-based intercept layer, which can take out missiles when they are most vulnerable, during the boost phase. This provision removes the legal hurdle to developing and eventually deploying this protection.
- Missile Defense Systems to Protect Bases: Sen. Cruz secured a provision that provided funding for the rapid procurement of an interim cruise missile defense capability. It requires a briefing identifying what capabilities have been deployed and are in development that could be considered for use to address the Counter-Unmanned Aircraft System (C-UAS) and Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense (M-SHORAD) mission areas.
- Security Clearance: Sen. Cruz’s provision requires the department to report when security clearances are taken away outside of the normal window for periodic investigations, to boost trust and transparency in our security clearance process.
- Chief of Chaplains: Sen. Cruz secured a provision to protect the Chief of Chaplains serving in each branch of the military from being diminished and to underscore their important role of caring for those in need.
- Terrorist Use of Human Shields: Sen. Cruz led a bipartisan effort with Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) to gain transparency into the use of human shields by terrorist groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and to develop measures to address these tactics.