Missouri’s Defense Priorities Head to President’s Desk in Legislation Shaped by McCaskill
Senator secured resources for Missouri’s Fort Leonard Wood, 139th Airlift Wing, 1107th Aviation Group— Bill also includes Super Hornets, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, childcare for National Guard, care for military sexual assault survivors on inactive duty
WASHINGTON – Several Missouri national defense priorities are headed to President Trump’s desk after a final agreement was signed by U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill and a bipartisan group of colleagues, clearing the way for the sweeping legislation to become law.
Following McCaskill’s advocacy, the annual national defense bill includes new resources for Missouri’s military installations, as well as the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency in St. Louis, childcare services for the National Guard, and resources for new F/A-18 Super Hornets for the U.S. Navy.
The legislation also includes a provision from McCaskill to allow servicemembers in the Guard and Reserves experiencing trauma following a sexual assault to get the support they need if that assault took place during their weekend training. Previously, that coverage was only extended for Guard or Reserve servicemembers on active duty.
“It’s all too rare to hear words like, ‘big bipartisan accomplishments’ coming out of Congress these days, but today that’s an apt description,” said McCaskill, a senior member of the Armed Services Committee and the daughter of a World War II veteran. “This is a defense bill that delivers for Missouri, and for the men and women who power its military installations. It enhances the capability of our bases that are already on the front lines of this country’s national defense, and ensures we’re giving our servicemembers and their families the tools and resources they need while serving this country—keeping us safe abroad and strong at home.”
The annual National Defense Authorization Act, which sets the nation’s defense funding and priorities, was approved by the U.S. Senate 89-8 in September. McCaskill and others signed a bipartisan agreement to merge the Senate and House defense bills together, and to send the final legislation on to President Trump for his signature.
The annual defense bill includes the following McCaskill priorities:
- $100 million for Fort Leonard Wood’s General Leonard Wood Army Hospital, and another $11 million for the installation’s blood processing center.
- $10 million in funding for the 139th Airlift Wing in St. Joseph, Mo for construction of a consolidated communications facility, and the flexibility to fund the C-130H full motion simulator. McCaskill had pushed Department of Defense and Air Force leadership for these necessary improvements to support the “Top Gun” of Military Airlift.
- $32 million for 1107th TASMG, Missouri Theater Aviation Sustainment Group in Springfield, Mo. for a new maintenance hangar. Last year McCaskill visited and toured the unit’s facilities as part of her Security and Defense Tour.
- Full authorization for the Geospatial Intelligence Agency, which McCaskill advocated at the highest levels of government to remain in St. Louis.
- 24 F/A-18 Super Hornets for the U.S. Navy.
- Care and benefits coverage to veterans for the Guard and Reserves experiencing trauma following a sexual assault to get the support they need if that assault took place during their weekend training. Previously, that coverage was only extended for guard or reserve servicemembers on active duty.
- Expanding childcare services for the National Guard and Reserves, an issue raised to McCaskill by a Missouri guardsman who was having problems finding childcare while attending her monthly drill. The provision directs the Department of Defense to explore ways of expanding childcare benefits available to active duty servicemembers, including on-post Child Development centers, to accommodate the needs of Missouri Guardsmen and Reservists while conducting regular weekend or annual training.
- The bipartisan PRIVATE Act, which McCaskill introduced with Republicans Dean Heller of Nevada and Joni Ernst of Iowa, as a bipartisan fix to military law to better guard against “revenge porn” following the Marines United scandal earlier this year, by making such conduct a standard offense across the services.
Visit mccaskill.senate.gov/defense to learn more about McCaskill’s fight to protect our national security.