VALDOSTA – Sen. Raphael Warnock is promoting an act that would bring millions of dollars to military bases in Georgia, including Moody Air Force Base.
The National Defense Authorization Act would bring at least $12.5 million to Moody Air Force Base and $320 million overall to “revitalize” Georgia’s military installations.
The act would benefit bases such as Moody, Warnock said in a phone interview with The Valdosta Daily Times, but the measure is still up in the air.
The NDAA is an annually approved bill that was recently halted by a partisan dispute over amendment votes — several Republican senators objected to the votes, later voting to filibuster.
The filibuster motion failed, forcing the Senate to work out its disputes to advance the NDAA. According to Warnock’s staff, the NDAA could pass within the week.
Warnock is a champion of the bill and hopes it will pass for the many benefits Georgia gains from it including:
– A 2.7% pay raise for military service members and Department of Defense civilian workforce.
– The prevention of funds being used to retire Moody Air Force Base’s A-10 fighter plane fleet.
– The authorization of $12.5 million for a new HH-60W parking apron.
– Support for technological innovations in small unit robotics integration and intelligence projects/efforts.
– Support for military spouses and families via addressing the needs of military spouse employment and the examination of Department of Defense methodology in basic allowances for housing for service members.
Given all that service members do for their country and what their families give up during that time, the nation needs to do right by them — the “best of us,” Warnock said.
He said the near 3% raise should help service members but leaders need to ask “what do their families need?”
“(We’re) trying to make sure spouses have access to gainful and meaningful employment,” Warnock said. “That’s been an issue particularly in Georgia and so I have a bill that takes a hard look at this to give us the data we need to address it.”
Beyond that, this is also about making sure Moody gets what it needs.
Warnock said the base has an important role in national defense and is a place where transitions to other forms of defense may occur in the future.
“Given the history of Moody, (we’re making sure) that we’re well positioned to make sure this Air Force base remains whole and that our airmen have the training and infrastructure they need,” he said.
The senator added that Georgia, in general, has an important role in national defense. Three-hundred-and-twenty-million dollars would be authorized for use if the NDAA is approved.
Not including Moody, that’s $17.5 million for Fort Benning; $22 million for Fort Stewart; $6 million for Robins Air Force Base; $19.3 million for King’s Bay and $69 million for Fort Gordon.
Funds will be authorized for use under the NDAA but use depends on when the project will occur but that is undetermined.