President Biden today signed into law the annual national defense bill that includes numerous provisions from U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) to strengthen our national security, vitalize Michigan’s growing defense sector and support our nation’s veterans and servicemembers. The bill also includes nearly $144 million in investments that Peters – who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee – secured for military facilities across Michigan. Passage of the legislation also comes after Peters hosted Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks at Selfridge Air National Guard Base earlier this month to highlight defense innovation and Michigan’s contributions to our national defense.
“The national defense bill is critical to maintaining our competitiveness on the global stage – particularly as other nations, like the Chinese government, look to expand their influence,” said Senator Peters, a former Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “I’m pleased this bipartisan bill was signed into law – which not only helps solidify the Department of Defense’s commitment to Michigan – but provides a pay raise for servicemembers, helps address PFAS contamination and supports innovative military research and development that’s happening in Michigan.”
“Michigan is fortunate to have Senator Peters as an advocate who works to advance our priorities and ensures the Michigan National Guard receives the federal investments necessary to support all of our missions,” said U.S. Army Major General Paul D. Rogers, Adjutant General and Director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “His work on the NDAA will ensure Michigan is well positioned to continue to grow as a premier destination for military training and next generation mission sets.”
The National Defense Authorization Act, which sets annual policy for the Department of Defense (DOD), has been enacted into law for 60 consecutive years. The following provisions Peters led or supported were included in the final bill sent to the President:
Investing in Michigan Military Facilities:
- Secured Authorizations for Nearly $144 Million in Funding for Military Facilities Across Michigan Including:
- $23 Million for Alpena Aircraft and Maintenance Facility & New Testing Designation: This bill authorizes $23 million in funding that Peters fought for to go toward a new, state-of-the-art, 5th generation aircraft hangar and accompanying maintenance facilities at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center. This funding will ensure that Alpena is capable of hosting the most modern aircrafts and that the facility can continue to serve as a premier training venue for our servicemembers and play a vital role in our national security. Additionally, it includes a special designation for Alpena that Peters pushed for which will ensure that the Air Force and the Army continue to utilize Alpena and have it serve as a testing ground for the latest in defense technologies. This language coupled with the infrastructure investments will guarantee that Alpena continues to serve for decades as the venue of choice for the Air Force, Air National Guard and foreign partners who need access to wide open airspace, the finest ranges and the best capabilities.
- $28 Million for Selfridge Hangar & Maintenance Facilities: Peters secured $28 million in funding for a new A-10 hangar and maintenance facility at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township. This investment will help keep A-10s flying at Selfridge for decades to come by ensuring that we’ve got the state-of-the-art infrastructure necessary to fly, maintain and train on A-10s.
- $12 Million to Enhance Southfield Army Reserve Facility: Peters pressed for and secured a $12 million authorization to help construct new maintenance facilities at the Army Reserve unit in Southfield, which will allow servicemembers who serve as mechanics to maintain and extend the lifespan of military vehicles and enable them to utilize the latest equipment and facilities.
- $59 Million to Enhance Battle Creek Facilities: This bill includes a $49 million authorization that Peters fought for that will go toward constructing a new, state-of-the-art training facility at Battle Creek for Marine Corps reservists as well as a new vehicle maintenance facility, which will help extend the life of the vehicles they house. This funding will help ensure a Marine Corps presence at the Battle Creek unit for decades to come. Peters also secured $10 million to construct a new main gate and entrance facility to Battle Creek Air National Guard Base. The current base setup causes traffic congestion and presents a security risk during a drill weekend by creating a build-up of vehicles attempting to enter the facility. This new construction will ensure that Battle Creek meets the most up-to-date facility security and anti-terrorism protocols.
- $5.7 Million for Construction of Power Generation System at Camp Grayling: Peters pushed for and got a $5.7 million authorization to construct a 650kw gas-fired micro-turbine power generation system at Camp Grayling. This new power generation infrastructure at Camp Grayling will help improve the facility’s capabilities by allowing more equipment to be utilized as well as the integration of cyber and space into their operations.
- $16 Million for Construction of a National Guard Readiness Center at Camp Grayling: This bill includes a $16 million authorization to construct a state-of-the-art Readiness Center at Camp Grayling which will provide our Guardsmen with the latest facilities to help conduct training while integrating advanced technologies.
Supporting Michigan’s Defense Sector and Advanced Technology:
- Prohibits the Retirement of the A-10 Warthog: This bill includes an amendment Peters cosponsored to prohibit retiring the A-10 in Fiscal Year 2022. The A-10 still plays an important role in counterterrorism and combat search and rescue missions, and the bill prohibits divesting of that aircraft in the coming fiscal year. Selfridge Air National Guard Base hosts an A-10 fighter mission.
- Funding for Manufacturing Research: The bill secures $5 million in funding to further research additive manufacturing, as well as $7M in funding for research into composite production practices, to keep American manufacturing at the forefront of producing cutting-edge defense technologies.
- Electric Light Vehicle Reconnaissance Program: The bill includes a provision that authorized the research and engineering of electric and alternative fuel vehicle development for the electric vehicle program, which is conducted in Michigan. This funding will help ensure research and development for these vehicles is conducted in Michigan, helping to create good-paying jobs and keep us at the forefront of mobility. Michigan is home to extensive advanced vehicle system development.
- Funding for Vehicular Cybersecurity: Peters secured $3.5 million in funding to help create a Cyber and Vehicle Integration Center (CAVIC) at Selfridge ANGB. This facility will bring together industry, academia and the government to perform research dedicated to securing civilian and military vehicles from cyber-attacks. The CAVIC will help keep Michigan at the forefront of vehicle R&D.
Supporting Our Troops and Their Families:
- Pay Raise for Troops: This bill includes a 2.7% pay increase for all servicemembers that Peters supported.
- Improve Access to Medications for Servicembers, Veterans and Their Families: This bill includes a provision Peters requested and secured for a 3-year pilot program that enables TRI-CARE beneficiaries to receive their medications from an in-network, retail pharmacy rather than being required to obtain them from pharmacies at military bases or relying on the Postal Service. This pilot program will give servicemembers, veterans and their families more freedom to choose where and when they get their medicine and at their convenience.
- Supporting Military Families Struggling with Food Insecurity: The bill includes a provision based off bipartisan legislation Peters cosponsored that creates a basic needs allowance to help low-income military families put food on the table. This helps ensure no one willing to serve this nation in uniform struggles to feed their families.
- Promoting STEM Education through STARBASE: Peters supported efforts to secure $42M in funding for STARBASE, a DOD Youth Program that promotes STEM education. Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township is home to the first STARBASE program, which specifically provides K-12 students unique experiences in experiential learning, simulations and experiments in aviation and space-related fields.
- Authorize Memorial to Honor Veterans of Global War on Terrorism: Peters supported the effort to authorize a memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to commemorate and honor the servicemembers that served on active duty during the Global War on Terrorism.
Strengthening Our National Security:
- Cybersecurity Grants for Research and Development: This bill includes an increase of $6 million in funding for cybersecurity research and development for naval vessels — that Peters pushed for — which would be help highlight the tremendous capabilities like that of Michigan Tech University and what a critical asset the Great Lakes are to our national security.
- Strengthening Cybersecurity Policy: As Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Peters has led efforts to strengthen national cybersecurity defenses and hold foreign adversaries and cybercriminals accountable for targeting American networks. Peters helped to secure a provision that would authorize additional staffing for the Office of the National Cyber Director – a new position tasked with coordinating the implementation of national cybersecurity policy and strategy. Peters helped create this critical office and confirm its first leader, Chris Inglis.
- Securing Critical Infrastructure Against Cyber-Attacks: Cyber-attacks against everything from oil pipelines to wastewater treatment plants have disrupted lives and livelihoods across the nation. A Peters provision based on legislation he helped lead in the Senate requires the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to ensure they can better identify and mitigate threats to Industrial Control Systems – the operational technology involved in operating the physical functions of critical infrastructure like pipelines, and water and electric utilities.
- Directing DHS to Research Supply Chain Vulnerabilities: Recent shortages of critical supplies have highlighted significant gaps in our nation’s supply chains, as well as the need to strengthen domestic manufacturing of products that are essential to our national and economic security – such as personal protective equipment and electronics. The bill includes a provision based on legislation that Peters helped lead in the Senate to direct the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to research supply chain vulnerabilities that threaten homeland security and ensures that DHS uses these findings to identify ways to strengthen critical supply chains.
- Strengthening Ties with Allies in the Asia-Pacific Region: The legislation continues to fund and develop the Pacific Deterrence Initiative to support our allies and maintain a robust presence in the Indo-Pacific region.
- Reinforcing our Support our Baltic Partners: Senator Peters joined a provision in the bill that reinforces the sense of the Senate that security of the Baltic region is crucial to the security of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance and that the United States must continue to prioritize support for efforts by Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to build and invest in critical security areas, as these efforts are vital to deterring Russian aggression and bolstering NATO. This provision complements the efforts of the Michigan National Guard and its relationship with the Latvia National Armed Forces under the State Partnership Program. Peters previously visited Latvia and Lithuania to reaffirm American support for the NATO allies and meet with soldiers and airmen from Michigan’s Army National Guard and Air National Guard.
- Combating Human Trafficking: A provision based on Peters’ DHS Blue Campaign Enhancement Act would increase coordination between DHS components and the Blue Campaign, a national public awareness effort designed to educate law enforcement and the public to recognize human trafficking. Thousands of men, women and children are trafficked in the United States – including in Michigan. Peters’ provision requires the Director of the Blue Campaign to develop online, interactive training videos and other web-based training opportunities for federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement officers.
Addressing PFAS Contamination:
- Funding for Environmental Restoration, PFAS Cleanup: The bill includes $476 million in environmental restoration funding for the Air Force to help with environmental remediation at sites across the country, including for PFAS cleanup.
- Creation of a PFAS Task Force: This bill directs the Department of Defense to create a PFAS task force to:
- Monitor and study the health effects of exposure to PFAS chemicals;
- Identify potential alternatives to current firefighting foam which contains PFAS chemicals;
- Coordinate Department of Defense activities to mitigate the release of PFAS chemicals to help unify efforts and provide a more coordinated approach.
- Require an Official Report Outlining Defense Department Efforts to Address PFAS: The bill includes a provision that requires the Department of Defense to issue a report to Congress outlining their efforts to remediate PFAS exposure at 50 sites across the country, including the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base and K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base in Michigan.
- Mandate Public Disclosure of PFAS Water Contamination Test Results: The bill mandates that the Department of Defense publicly discloses the results of any testing performed by the Department for PFAS substances in groundwater. The disclosure must be made in a publicly accessible source so the American people can easily access the information. In addition, the Department is required to notify relevant local public officials that they are conducting testing for PFAS within their area.