Senator Joe Donnelly

Donnelly-Supported National Defense Bill Signed into Law

Washington, D.C. – President Trump today signed the bipartisan national defense bill into law, including a number of provisions benefiting Indiana. U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly helped negotiate and advance this legislation in the Senate Armed Services Committee, helped pass the bill in the full Senate, and was among the Senators who helped reconcile differences between the different versions passed in the House of Representatives and the Senate. With President Trump’s signature, the national defense bill has now been signed into law 57 consecutive years.

Donnelly, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said, “This bipartisan legislation ensures that our servicemembers have the support they need as they work to protect our nation. Importantly, it supports Indiana’s critical role in our national defense – from the Hoosiers who serve, to the men and women who support them in Indiana’s defense industry, to the innovative research and development happening at our universities, at our companies, and at our military facilities.”

Background on provisions included in defense bill that was signed into law:

Regional Highlights:

Crane and Grissom

  • Donnelly fought for robust funding to support military facilities in Indiana:
  • Crane: The law includes $16 million to support a railyard at Crane’s Army Ammunition Activity to support its operations. It also includes $6.9 million to support energy conservation projects at NSA Crane.
  • Grissom: The law includes $12.1 million for a hangar at Grissom Air Reserve Base that would fully enclose the KC-135R, supporting the performance and safety of maintenance personnel and operations, and $9.4 million for a new aerial port facility, which will provide essential and critical space for airmen to process cargo and load aircraft.

Notre Dame and Purdue

  • Donnelly successfully pushed for increased investment in technologies of the future that could help universities like Notre Dame and Purdue: The law robustly supports science and technology efforts, including $20 million to support development of hypersonic wind tunnels, which supports the next generation of weapons. Much of this work is being done at universities in Indiana, such as Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame.
    • Donnelly also supported a provision that will increase research and coordination opportunities for Purdue and other universities regarding artificial intelligence and quantum information science.


Protecting American National Security Jobs

  • Donnelly fought to keep key technologies safe: Donnelly championed provisions that help fight to keep key sectors of our defense industrial base robust and secure from threats, such as tampering and counterfeit parts. Another Donnelly-supported provision will help ensure that companies that provide products crucial to our national defense are not purchased by a foreign adversary like China.
  • Donnelly helped make sure Hoosiers can compete fairly against foreign competitors: He successfully pushed for provisions that will ensure future Department of Defense procurement competitions aren’t unfairly tilted towards the foreign competition.
  • Donnelly pushed for responsible federal contracting: Due to Donnelly’s leadership, a provision included now requires the Department of Defense to examine the F-35 supply chain and identify potential vulnerabilities of parts manufactured abroad. Currently, Honeywell’s South Bend facility manufactures components for the F-35, but some of that work is scheduled to be outsourced to Turkey.
    • Donnelly supported a provision, included in the law, which prohibits the delivery of F-35 aircraft to Turkey until the Department of Defense can report back on the costs of fully removing Turkey from the F-35 program.
  • A Donnelly provision, reflected in the law, ensures that our nation retains key national security capabilities within the federal workforce.


Supporting American Servicemembers

  • Military pay raise: The law provides a 2.6% pay raise for servicemembers, the largest in nine years.
  • Combatting the opioid epidemic: A provision included in the law will help integrate the Department of Defense’s Military Health System with state Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs), which help combat opioid abuse through information sharing, preventing the misuse or diversion of opioids and other controlled substances.
    • The law also requires the Defense Health Administration to start a pilot program to help prevent opioid abuse by minimizing early exposure.
  • Supporting National Guard mental health: At Donnelly’s request, the law supports the National Guard’s pilot program on mental health assessments. This builds on Donnelly’s Sexton Act, which for the first time requires annual mental health assessment for all active-duty and reserve servicemembers, as well as his ‘Care Package’ to improve access to mental health services for servicemembers and their families.
  • Helping servicemembers transition to civilian life: The law includes a provision that will support training necessary for servicemembers to successfully transition to civilian life at the end of their time in the military.


Other Notable Provisions:

  • Supporting Israel’s missile defense: The law fully funds support for Israel’s missile defense programs, including Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and Arrow. Cooperative missile defense is a vital component of our bilateral strategic relationship with Israel and is a high priority in light of threats posed by Iran’s ballistic and cruise missile arsenal and support for terrorist proxies across the Middle East.
  • Ensuring capabilities to confront North Korean threat: The law supports military capabilities to counter the nuclear and missile threats from North Korea. A Donnelly provision in the law seeks to ensure that U.S. government agencies have adequate resources to reduce the risk of nuclear and missile proliferation.
  • Countering Russian Aggression: Donnelly successfully worked to strengthen key measures included in the bill that allow the U.S. to more effectively defend itself against cyberattacks from foreign adversaries. Other Donnelly-supported provisions will help fight foreign influence campaigns and promote security cooperation with U.S. allies in Europe, including in Poland where the 252nd Support Maintenance Company of the Indiana National Guard is scheduled to deploy.

About Brian Scott

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