Tester Secures Upgrades for Malmstrom, Montana Air National Guard in Annual Defense Bill

(Missoula, Mont.) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester today secured major wins for Montana in an annual national security bill.

President Donald Trump today signed the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act into law. Tester successfully included funding in the bipartisan bill to replace the aging Vietnam-era “Huey” helicopters at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, to improve the infrastructure for the Air Force’s fleet of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), and to build a new aircraft apron to store the Montana Air National Guard’s C-130s.

“This law invests in the Montana men and women who keep America safe,” said Tester. “We are sending a clear message to our enemies: America is strong and our troops are unparalleled.  It strengthens the mission at Malmstrom, invests in the Montana Air National Guard, and provides the largest pay raise for our troops in nearly a decade.”

Tester worked closely with Republicans and Democrats to authorize the following projects in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, which provides resources and equipment for the military:

  • 2.6 percent pay raise for military members, the largest since 2010.
  • $9 million to build an apron at the Great Falls International Airport for the Montana Air National Guard to store its fleet of C-130 aircraft.
  • $288 million to replace the aging Vietnam-era “Huey” helicopters at Malmstrom Air Force Base.
  • $154 million increase to improve ICBM infrastructure.

The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act authorizes funding for critical national security initiatives.  Congress now must appropriate the money authorized in this important bill.  Immediately after Trump signed the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, Tester pushed Appropriations Committee leaders to fully fund the aircraft apron at Great Falls International Airport.

“I believe that our military needs the opportunity to build long term readiness, and that requires consistent investment into the critical infrastructure that has been neglected for too long,” Tester wrote.

Tester's letter to Senator Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Al.) and Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.Y.) and Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) is available online HERE.