Local, state facilities aren’t forgotten in Defense Authorization bill

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WASHINGTON, D. C. (WTVQ) – The National Defense Authorization bill making its way through the U.S. Senate contains some controversial provisions, including one that would change the names of 10 military bases that carry the names of Confederate generals.

In fact, that one has been a flashpoint given the current national debate over the country’s legacy of racial inequality.

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But other provisions, such as an attempt to limit President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of troops from Germany and a requirement the president certify certain facts before withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, are equally controversial and important within the military.

But some other provisions in the bill, such as a pay raise for military personnel, Make the massive $750 billion measure personal for soldiers,

And for military operations in Kentucky, its especially personal because it provides funding and policy for their work.

That’s especially true at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Richmond. While talking about the national issues, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell took a moment on the Senate flood Thursday to note the impact on the Kentucky facilities, including Richmond.

“As all my colleagues know, the NDAA is also a profoundly local bill for communities in all 50 states,” McConnell said.

“My home state is proud to support three Army installations and the men and women of the Kentucky Air and Army National Guard.

“This NDAA … will authorize a new elementary school at Fort Knox. This construction, paired with progress toward a new middle school at Fort Campbell, will continue making Kentucky’s installations a welcoming home for military families,” McConnell said, noting Fort Knox’s selection for the new Fifth Corps Headquarters which will bring more than 600 additional soldiers to Kentucky in support of U.S. operations in Europe.

“Our bill also authorizes the construction of a new headquarters for the Kentucky National Guard. The facility will consolidate the Guard’s operations to a central location. Just recently, our citizen soldiers and airmen have stepped up to combat COVID-19,” McConnell pointed out.

“At the Blue Grass Army Depot, the NDAA will advance the disposal of legacy chemical weapons. Families in Madison County have lived for generations with these deadly agents practically in their backyards …

“In just the first year of chemical destruction activities, the Depot has already completed a campaign ahead of schedule. An entire type of munition has been completely deleted from the U.S. stockpile. Our legislation will help us safely consign more of these weapons to the ash heap of history,” the senator said, referring to the work being sone in Richmond.

“Their recent deployments to Europe, Afghanistan, and to support the COVID-19 response in New York and New Jersey show their importance to our nation. Pursuant to the National Defense Strategy, this NDAA will encourage new capabilities so elite fighting forces like the 101st are equipped for success under any circumstances,” McConnell said, noting soldiers at Ft. Campbell are among the first called to face the “growing boldness of our nation’s adversaries.”