CONGRESSMAN SANFORD BISHOP STATEMENT ON FY19 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT
Jul 26, 2018
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) released the following statement on the passage of the FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act. The bill passed in the U.S. House of Representatives in a vote of 359 to 54. Congressman Bishop voted in support of the legislation.
“This bill includes several major enhancements to our national defense and national security. Key provisions include a much needed 2.6% percent pay raise for our service members, which is the largest in nearly a decade. As co-chair of the Congressional Military Family Caucus, I am also pleased by the bill’s enhancements to the career development and employment assistance program for military spouses, who also sacrifice so much for our country. This legislation also provides for modernization initiatives for equipment, cybersecurity enhancements, and many other efforts to increase our military readiness.
“However, with all of the good this bill does to enhance our national defense, I am extremely dissatisfied with the conferees’ decision to cancel the recapitalization program for the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS). Although I am pleased with the recent announcement that the Air Force will be making Robins Air Force Base the home for the Advanced Battle-Management System (ABMS), this capability is years off. Our combatant commanders have relied heavily on JSTARS, and Congressman Austin Scott and I fought hard to keep it funded in the House bill until the new platform is in place. Our soldiers should continue to have this lifesaving battle tool while its replacement is being developed.
“In some estimations, the replacement for the JSTARS program, the ABMS, will not be ready for deployment until the year 2035. This delay is unacceptable, and I remain committed to using my oversight capacity to ensure that this vital capability is maintained until the Air Force finalizes and puts into service its replacement. I take very seriously my constitutional responsibility to ‘raise and support Armies’, and although much of this legislation does just that, the elimination of the JSTARS recapitalization is a step in the wrong direction.
“Despite this significant reservation, I do appreciate the bipartisan work on this bill, and I join my colleagues in support of the FY19 National Defense Authorization Act.”