Alexander Votes to Fund Tennessee Military, National Security Needs

Senate-Passed Bill Includes 3.4 Percent Military Pay Raise, $28 Million for Tennessee Defense Requirements

Posted on December 19, 2009

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today supported legislation to fund America’s troops, including a 3.4 percent pay raise for soldiers and $28 million for Tennessee military and national security priorities. The Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Appropriations bill passed the Senate by a vote of 88-10.

“Whether they are serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, elsewhere around the world, or right here at home, the men and women of our military deserve nothing less than the best equipment and a raise in their pay,” said Alexander, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “I’m glad this bill supports our troops who are doing so much to support and protect each of us.”

The bill provides funding for troops and equipment for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and other military activities of the Department of Defense, operation and maintenance of weapons and facilities, weapons procurement, and research and development.

Included in the bill is $28 million for military priorities in Tennessee, including:

• $5 million for the Tennessee National Guard for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle virtual trainers. MRAP vehicles are quickly becoming the go-to vehicles for combat and security operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since almost no MRAP vehicles are available in the United States for training, MRAP Virtual Trainers are essential for crews to learn the skills necessary to operate these vehicles.

• $4 million for the Tennessee National Guard Counter Drug Task Force. Funding will be used to help the Tennessee National Guard (in coordination with state and local officials) find and destroy marijuana crops; find, eliminate, and clean up meth labs; and support law enforcement in seizing illegal drugs.

• $4 million for Milan Army Ammunition Plant. Funding would be used to support the President’s budget request for acquisition of 40mm mortars that are currently being used in operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan. This ammunition is to be produced at Milan Army Ammunition Plant and supplied to the Army.

• $5 million for the Tennessee National Guard for combined arms virtual trainers, which allow infantry training for many different combat scenarios.

• $8 million for Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) for advanced supercomputing. Funding will be used to expand the supercomputing facility at ORNL to meet the needs of the Department of Defense.

• $2 million for Aerojet for research and replacement of depleted uranium rounds. Funding will be used by the Department of Defense (DoD) to support scientists and equipment to determine whether tungsten can replace depleted uranium (DU) in different types of ammunition. DoD is considering replacing uranium due to radioactivity and toxicity concerns.

• Approximately $200,000 for the Air Force Minority Leaders Program at Tennessee State University, out of $4.8 million that will be used nationwide to support the Air Force Minority Leaders Program which works with Historically Black Colleges and Universities to advance materials research programs for new Air Force technologies.
The bill must now be sent to the President for his signature before becoming law.