Armed Forces News

Congress approved a 2.6-percent raise in basic pay for service members, which would take effect Jan. 1, as part of the 2019 defense-spending bill. President Trump is expected to sign the bill, which calls for a total of $171 billion in spending, into law. Some other provisions include:

* Additional pays and bonuses for service members in high-demand career fields.
* No more closures or downgrades of military treatment facilities.
* Requirements that the Defense Department keep track of juvenile misconduct, and improve the processes for preventing sexual assaults and assisting victims.
* Funding for a military parade in Washington, D.C.
* Increased funding for training for each service.
* A 24.2-million increase to fund flying hours.
* $58.9 million for range and test base modernizations and improvements.
* A $65 million increase for the Air Force to use in its search for a replacement for the A-10.
* $21.8 billion for equipment maintenance and $3.7 billion for spare parts.
* Several provisions, intended to move the Navy to a course that would prevent further incidents akin to last year’s fatal collisions involving the destroyers Fitzgerald and McCain. The Navy specifically would establish separate career paths for surface warfare officers, to ensure that crews are properly trained. Also, the Guam ship repair facility would be redeveloped, thus enhancing the capability in the Western Pacific.
* Accelerated construction of a fourth Ford-class aircraft carrier, two littoral combat ships, and two Virginia-class attack submarines in 2022 and 2023.
* Several modernization provisions for the Army. The funding would enhance the service’s Stryker combat vehicle, M1 Abrams Tank, armored multi-purpose vehicle, improved recovery vehicle, and joint light tactical vehicle.
* Multi-year procurement authority for the Navy’s F/A-18E Super Hornet, C-130 Super Hercules, E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, and the Army National Guard’s UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter.
* Full funding for the Navy’s Columbia-class ballistic submarine and Air Force’s B-21 Raider bomber programs.