WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) released the following statement after voting for S. 1790, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020. The Senate NDAA provides troops a 3.1 percent pay raise and passed by a bipartisan vote of 86-8.
“Nevada’s defense and nuclear security instillations play a critical role in keeping our nation safe, and I’m glad to see that the NDAA recognizes the strategic importance of the Silver State to our nation’s national security,” said Senator Rosen. “Nevada is the home of the fighter pilot for both the Air Force and Navy, the largest remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) mission for the Air Force, and the only place in the country where subcritical experiments are conducted to verify the viability of our nuclear stockpile. The FY 2020 NDAA gives our troops a well-deserved pay raise and authorizes $65 million for military construction projects at Nellis Air Force Base, while also heeding our calls to not include any funding for Yucca Mountain. I will continue to support legislation that recognizes the value of Nevada’s strategic defense capabilities and continue to fight any and all attempts to turn Nevada into the nation’s nuclear waste dump.”
BACKGROUND: The FY 2020 NDAA does not authorize any money for defense nuclear waste disposal at Yucca Mountain. The President’s budget request sought $166 million for the repository at Yucca Mountain and for interim storage, of which $26 million was for defense nuclear waste disposal. While testifying before Congress, Rosen has argued that the Yucca Mountain site’s proximity to the Nevada Test and Training Range – the crown jewel of the Air Force, the largest air and ground military training space in the contiguous United States without interference from commercial aircraft, and home to 75 percent of stateside Air Force live munitions – threatens national security.
The Senate NDAA also includes an amendment filed by Senator Rosen to require an updated report on the capacity of the National Guard and U.S. Northern Command to meet current homeland defense and security threats to our country, the last report being published in 1998. In light of evolving threats and hazards, including emerging threats like cyber-attacks and unmanned aerial vehicles, it is appropriate to re-examine the National Guard Homeland Defense and Security enterprise for each state and territory. The idea for this amendment was proposed by a Nevada resident who wrote Senator Rosen asking for Congress to require an updated report.
The NDAA also includes, via a Rosen-backed amendment, the text of the Burn Pits Accountability Act, bipartisan legislation co-sponsored by Rosen that would require the Department of Defense to evaluate the exposure to open burn pits and toxic airborne chemicals to servicemembers and veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The NDAA also includes the Supporting Victims of Iranian Terrorism Act, which Senator Rosen helped introduce. This bipartisan amendment from Senators Cotton, Whitehouse, Isakson, Jones, Cornyn, Rosen, and Cruz provides families of the victims of the 1983 Marine Barracks bombing in Beirut a means to collect financial judgments against Iran for its role in the terrorist attack. This provision amends the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 to allow the families of the Marine Barracks bombing victims to execute on $1.68 billion in Iranian funds currently held by a Luxembourg-based firm.
The bill also authorizes $65.2 million for military construction projects at Nellis AFB. This includes $57 million for the 365th Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Group Facility and $8.2 million for an F-35A Munitions Assembly Conveyor Facility.
In addition, the Secretary of Defense would be required to establish a secure fifth generation (5G) wireless network at the Nevada Test and Training Range to provide an advanced cellular range for the military. The Senate NDAA authorized $49 million for this project.