07.23.20

Peters-Supported Measures to Provide Servicemembers Pay Raise, Strengthen National Security & Michigan’s Defense Sector Pass Senate

Peters Helps Senate Approve the Bipartisan National Defense Bill

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Senate passed the annual national defense bill that includes provisions led and supported by U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) benefiting servicemembers and their families, supporting Michigan’s defense sector and strengthening our national security. It includes a pay raise for our men and women in uniform and Peters-led provisions to strengthen the medical supply chain and increase support for missile defense. The National Defense Authorization Act, which sets policy for the Department of Defense (DoD), must be reconciled with the bill from the U.S. House of Representatives. The annual defense bill has been signed into law for 59 consecutive years.

“Whether it’s helping with Coronavirus response efforts, serving in our Armed Forces across the world, or leading innovative manufacturing projects right here at home to keep our servicemembers safe, Michiganders are critical to our national security,” said Senator Peters, a former Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “I was proud to help pass this bill that would give our servicemembers a pay raise and includes the provision I authored to ensure that National Guardsmen and Reservists can more easily access the benefit they’ve earned. This bipartisan bill is key to supporting our troops and securing our national security. I will continue working to ensure that the measures I led to strengthen key alliances, protect our medical supply chain and support cutting-edge defense manufacturers across Michigan are signed into law.”

“In 2019 $6.6 Billion in defense contracts were awarded to Michigan companies. The defense industry supports both directly and indirectly nearly 155,000 Michigan workers and contributes $24 Billion in overall economic activity to the state, so, this is an important segment of our economy,” said Vicki Selva, Executive Director of the Michigan Defense Center. “I want to thank Senator Peters for his hard work on the NDAA and for staying laser-focused on growing Michigan’s defense footprint. Provisions in this NDAA will benefit Michigan's defense assets, companies and those trying to expand into this sector.”

“Senator Peters’ provisions in this year’s NDAA are critical for Michigan servicemembers,” said Ret. Brigadier General Mark A. Montjar, U.S. Army, of South Lyon. “Whether it’s ensuring Guardsmen and Reservists can access the benefits they’ve earned – securing a raise for servicemembers – or strengthening and modernizing JROTC programming across Michigan – this bill is important for all military personnel. We are fortunate to have Senator Peters as one of our US Senators supporting our troops.”

The following provisions Peters led or supported were included in the Senate-approved bill:

 Supporting Our Troops and Their Families:

  • Pay Raise for Troops: This bill includes a 3% pay increase for all servicemembers that Peters supported.

  • Ensuring National Guardsmen, Reservists and Their Families Receive the Benefits They Have Earned: The bill includes a provision that builds on language Peters secured in last year’s defense bill to ensure members of the National Guard and Reserves receive a record of service following their retirement. This year’s provision will provide members of the National Guard and Reserve components a “Certificate of Military Service” that summarizes their record of service and will be the same form received by servicemembers from the active component of the Armed Forces. This type of form, which is currently labeled a DD-214 form, is usually required by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and other private sector organizations to unlock certain benefits.

  • Promoting Youth STEM Education Programs in Michigan: This bill authorizes $15 million 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.

  • Supporting JROTC STEM Programs: The bill includes a measure Peters supported to form a grant program for Junior ROTC organizations that focus on STEM education, including cyber security training.

Strengthening Our National Security:

  • Protecting Our Medical Supply Chain: As Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Peters released a 2019 report identifying the national security risks of our country’s overreliance on foreign sources for critical medications and medical supplies – including adversaries like China. Peters authored language that was included to require the Government Accountability Office to assess the Department of Defense’s current pharmaceutical and medical device contracts and identify opportunities to invest in domestic advanced manufacturing capacity for these items.

  • Bolstering Anti-Espionage Efforts: This bill contains a bipartisan amendment Peters co-authored to help universities protect critical defense research from espionage by our nation’s adversaries, including the Chinese government. The amendment would specifically require high-ranking officials at universities that conduct sensitive defense research to receive briefings on the espionage risk to those projects.

  • Funding the Pacific Deterrence Initiative: This bill authorizes $1.4 billion that Peters helped secure for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, which works to defend American interests in the Indo-Pacific region against aggression and coercion by the Chinese government.

  • Strengthening the U.S.-Israeli Defense Partnership: This bill includes an amendment Peters sponsored to establish a working group between the United States and Israel focused on developing defense technology. This builds upon Peters’ bipartisan legislation to increase coordination on conducting research and developing technology to combat threats faced by both the United States and Israel.

  • Ensuring Economic Stability During a Crisis: This bill includes a requirement for the President that Peters authored to create a plan for bolstering the economy during a major incident, such as a cyber-attack or pandemic.

  • Increasing Coordination Among National Guards During Cyber-attacks: This bill includes an amendment Peters led that would direct the Secretaries of the Army and Air Force to create a pilot program to enable the National Guards to remotely support other state guards and governments during cyber-attacks.

  • Reviewing Great Lakes Port Security: The bill additionally includes a Peters amendment requiring the Department of Homeland Security to review and report to Congress on Great Lakes and inland waterways seaports. The review would include scanning equipment on site or available to a seaport, staff by role, Customs and Border Protection expenses, and other information.

Investing in Michigan’s Defense Sector and Advanced Technology:

  • Bolstering Missile Defense: The bill includes a requirement Peters supported for the DOD to study a layered approach to homeland missile defense. Peters offered an additional amendment requiring that study to include the possibility of locating any future missile defense sites at locations that have already been evaluated by the Department, including Fort Custer near Battle Creek.

  • Cybersecurity Grants for Small and Medium Manufacturers: The bill contains an amendment Peters introduced to provide grants to Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Centers to be used to assist small and medium manufacturers with meeting new federal cybersecurity standards — which are set to be phased-in as a requirement starting this year. Peters has previously worked to strengthen and cement the MEP program and the Michigan Manufacturing and Technology Center (MMTC), which provides technical assistance to small and medium-sized manufacturers.

  • Supporting Defense Research Initiatives at the Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC): This bill authorizes an increase of $18 million Peters secured for projects currently underway at the Ground Vehicle Systems Center in Warren that are focused on modeling and simulation and unmanned capabilities, including immersive virtual modeling and simulation techniques, cyber and connected vehicle innovation research and virtual experimentations enhancement efforts.

  • Prohibits the Retirement of the A-10 Warthog: This bill includes an amendment Peters cosponsored to prohibit retiring the A-10 in Fiscal Year 2021. 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 FY21 and requires the Air Force to provide a briefing to Congress on the future of the A-10. Selfridge Air National Guard Base hosts an A-10 fighter mission.

  • Establishing a Quantum Research and Development Program: This bill includes a provision Peters authored to improve a research and development program for quantum computers, including developing a list of problems for which quantum computers are uniquely suited.

Other Provisions:

  • Increasing Funding for CDC Study on Effects of PFAS Contaminated Drinking Water: The bill includes an amendment Peters helped introduce to increase funding for an ongoing Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study assessing human exposure to PFAS chemicals through drinking water by $5 million dollars, including ongoing work in Michigan. Peters helped establish the study in the national defense bill for FY 2018, which has been the first study to examine exposure to PFAS at multiple sites across the nation.

  • Renaming Military Bases Currently Named After Confederates: The bill includes a provision Peters supported and that was approved unanimously by Democrats and Republicans in the Senate Armed Services Committee that instructs the DOD to remove names, symbols, or monuments that honor the Confederate States of America and those who served the Confederacy voluntarily from all Department of Defense installations.

  • Improving Recruiting Efforts: The bill includes a provision Peters authored that instructs the Secretary of Defense to work with senior officials from the Departments of Agriculture, Education, Health and Human Services, and Justice to address issues that negatively impact military recruiting efforts.

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