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Defense Authorization Act Could Protect Mississippi Jobs, Strengthen National Guard

WASHINGTON, D.C.–The Defense Authorization Act, passed Thursday by the U.S. House of Representatives, would protect Mississippi defense jobs and would strengthen the Mississippi Army National Guard, if approved by the Senate.

The bill must now pass the Senate. That body is expected to vote next week. Then it’s on to the president for his signature.

Some of the key provisions in the NDAA include:

  • Authorization of $800 million for the construction of a 12th LPD-17 amphibious warship;
  • Prohibition of the transfer of C-130Js at Keesler Air Force Base until 60 days after financial reports are submitted to Congress;
  • Protecting Mississippi’s 155th Heavy Brigade Combat Team by delaying for one year an Obama Administration proposal to reduce Army personnel while an independent commission assesses the Army’s needs;
  • Authorization of $416 million for the construction of 55 new light-utility helicopters;
  • Prohibition of the relocation of National Guard Apaches, including those in Tupelo, to the Army in FY2015;
  • Requiring annual mental health assessments for all service members to help prevent military suicides;
  • Elimination of the “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” (LEED) monopoly as the sole green building standard for DOD residential construction; and
  • Requiring the Department of Defense to issue new comprehensive guidelines on religious freedom.

“The world is not becoming a safer place; it’s becoming much more dangerous, and we face threats across the globe.  Congress took a bold step today to provide the equipment, training, and manpower needed to protect the United States of America,” said Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-4th Dist.).

Sen. Roger Wicker commended the House for passing the NDAA.

“For the past 52 years, NDAA has served as a blueprint for America’s defense and national security interests, ensuring that our troops have the resources they need to fulfill their mission. Support for this legislation has had a longstanding history of broad bipartisan consensus, which the House demonstrated quite clearly today,” said Wicker.

“As ranking member on the Airland Subcommittee, I am particularly pleased that NDAA protects the Mississippi National Guard and helps to ensure the vitality of the state’s aerospace manufacturing industry. It also contains critical funding essential to the next generation of shipbuilding on the Gulf Coast. I am optimistic that the Senate will pass this bill next week and send it on to the President for his signature.”

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