News Column

Congresswoman Hartzler and House Armed Services Committee Approve FY15 National Defense Authorization Act, Save A-10 'Warthog'

May 8, 2014



WASHINGTON, May 8 -- Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo. (4th CD), issued the following news release:

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (MO-4) and the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) have approved the FY15 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

"I am very happy to see the Committee work in an open and bipartisan manner to get this critical legislation moving," Hartzler said. "Providing for our men and women in uniform is simply too important to let this wait until the last minute."

"I remain concerned about the long-term effects of cutting our force levels to the lowest we have seen since World War II, but we are working to find a way to address a scarcity of funding while still making sure our men and women in uniform have what they need to protect our nation," Hartzler continued. "This legislation does well to provide for the common defense while keeping in mind difficult economic realities."

Some key provisions impacting our national security and Missourians include:

- A-10 "Warthog" - The Department of Defense proposed the divestment of the A-10 airframe, which would create a critical gap in the Air Force's close air support capability that will put the lives of our ground troops at risk. Simply put, the A-10 is the nation's best close air support platform and has proven itself time and time again in combat. This legislation includes an amendment that Congresswoman Hartzler co-sponsored, that will fully fund the maintenance, operation, and upgrading of the A-10 fleet for FY15, providing our troops the vital close air support that has saved numerous American lives.

- AH-64 "Apache" Helicopter - Under the proposed Army Aviation Restructuring Initiative, National Guard units like the 1-135th Attack/Reconnaissance Battalion at Whiteman Air Force Base would see all of its Apaches transferred to active duty units. Congresswoman Hartzler co-sponsored legislation included in this bill that would prevent this initiative and keep the Apache helicopters with these highly trained units. Congress and the Army have invested billions of dollars training the National Guard to be interchangeable with the Army; this legislation will allow that investment to pay off.

- Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) - At a time when the final force structure of our military is still undecided, it makes little sense to approve a new round of BRAC. As a member of the Readiness Subcommittee, Congresswoman Hartzler believes that the Administration needs to provide detailed information on its proposed savings and efficiencies before a new round of BRAC is considered.

- EA-18G "Growler" - The Navy has an unfunded requirement for airborne electronic attack aircraft. If allowed to go unfunded, as the President's budget suggests, the Navy would lose its only airborne electronic attack platform. This bill provides funding to keep the program and production line alive. The Growler is the nation's only full spectrum tactical airborne electronic attack aircraft, and controlling the electromagnetic spectrum is paramount to strike capability in contested environments. This funding will allow the St. Louis Boeing plant to continue the F/A-18 production line, which supports 60,000 jobs and accounts for $3 billion in economic impact.

- Long-Range Strike Bomber - This legislation continues funding for long-range strike bomber research and development. The bill invests in the future of long-range strike capabilities and a long-range strike bomber by tripling previous investments.

- TRICARE, Military Pay, and Benefits - This bill rejects proposed cuts to military health benefits, commissaries, and basic housing allowance, providing our veterans, war fighters, and their families with the care and support they have earned. The combination of these cuts could have resulted in thousands of dollars of out-of-pocket costs for military families. The legislation has no fundamental changes to the TRICARE benefit and it does not include the request for military retirees to pay more for health care. Instead, it requires a complete analysis from the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission to Congress before any changes can be made.

The FY15 NDAA will now go before the full House for a vote.

Congresswoman Hartzler serves on the House Armed Services Committee, where she sits on the Readiness and Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittees. She also serves on the Agriculture and Budget Committees. She represents Missouri'sFourth Congressional District, which is home to Whiteman Air Force Base and Fort Leonard Wood.

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