Congressman Donald Norcross

Representing the 1st District of New Jersey
Mobile Menu - OpenMobile Menu - Closed

Norcross Votes to Advance NDAA that Builds a Strong National Defense, Supports Service Members & Strengthens America’s Workforce

Jun 13, 2019
News Release

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Chair of the Tactical Air and Land Forces (TAL) Subcommittee, voted in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) in the House Armed Services Committee (HASC). The act, which passed with a 33-24 vote out of Committee, builds a strong national defense, supports service members and strengthens America’s workforce.

"We live in an uncertain world where there are serious threats to our country and our democracy, and we must ensure our military has the tools and manpower needed to defend our nation," said TAL Chair Norcross. "Thanks to the leadership of HASC Chairman Adam Smith, we were able to keep our military fully equipped, meet mission requirements and deter potential adversaries, while ensuring the Department of Defense’s programs are fiscally responsible. Overall, I’m proud to have voted to strengthen and modernize our military to build a strong national defense, support service members and their families and grow our nation’s workforce."

Norcross continued: "New Jersey and the Delaware Valley are home to a number of defense facilities and industries that provide high-tech jobs and play an important role in the security of the United States. This year, we prevented Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), safeguarded the Boeing helicopter production facility, protected Picatinny Arsenal and ensured the KC-46s are delivered to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst on schedule."

The FY20 NDAA provides approximately $733 billion in discretionary authorizations for our nation’s defense. Included are measures to stop further Russian interference in our democracy by addressing the issue head-on and requiring defense strategies to counter efforts in 2020. It also, rightfully, prevents the President from diverting defense funding to pay for a border wall.

Like previous years, the NDAA supports Israel, our democratic ally in the volatile Middle East, with $300 million for Israeli Cooperative Programs and $25.7 million for Iron Dome. Additionally, for the first time in years, the NDAA requires the Department of Defense to plan for potential threats posed by climate change.

As TAL Chair, Norcross oversaw efforts to fund an additional 12 F-35A aircraft and fully support the budget request for the F-15EX program to begin replacing our aging F-15C fleet. In these efforts and others, he focused on accountable modernization and enhancing the tactical capabilities of our services.

Norcross recently traveled to Normandy, France, where he recognized the incredible efforts and sacrifices made by our service members 75 years ago on D-Day. He said, "It was remarkably moving to stand on Omaha Beach and to pay respect at the final resting place of more than 9,000 American heroes that helped saved the world from tyranny. Without them, we wouldn’t be here today and it is our obligation to honor their sacrifices."

In efforts to continue building the world’s strongest defensive force, Norcross worked on some specific provisions in this year’s NDDA:

Strengthening New Jersey's Military Installations

Norcross fought to strengthen New Jersey’s military installations, including Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, the Air National Guard’s 177th Fighter Wing and Picatinny Arsenal.

  • Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst
    • Norcross worked to ensure that Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst won’t be targeted by BRAC and the act did not authorize a new base closure round.
    • Norcross led the effort to ensure the U.S. Air Force sticks to the planned schedule of delivery for the new KC-46 fleet.
  • Air National Guard’s 177th Fighter Wing
    • Norcross worked to ensure there’s continued radar upgrades for the F-16 Fighting Falcon – the mission craft for the 177th Fighter Wing located in Atlantic City.
    • The Defense Appropriations bill, which will be voted on next week, includes an additional $75 million for the Fighting Falcons.
  • Picatinny Arsenal 
    • Norcross and Rep. Mikie Sherrill worked to secure research and development funding for Howitzer modernization and included an amendment ensuring appropriate governance of the Department’s ammunition plants.
      • This follows meetings Norcross had at the arsenal with General John Murray, Commander of the Army Futures Command and Dr. Bruce D. Jette, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology.

Supporting Service Members and Their Families

As the father and father-in-law of veterans, Norcross knows the NDAA must always support our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines and meet the needs of military families who sacrifice so much for our country.

  • Norcross supported a 3.1% military pay raise, the new 'tenant bill of rights' that protects families in privatized military housing and $11.5 billion for military construction and family housing.
  • Following reports of potential cancer incidence from exposure to perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances – commonly referred to as PFAS – Norcross and his colleagues pushed for health protections for military families and retirees. Now, $121.3 million is included in the NDAA to clean up PFAS in drinking water on or near military bases.
    • Norcross specifically ensured health tests are conducted for military firefighters who may have been exposed to the potentially cancer-related contaminants.
    • Norcross and Rep. Andy Kim required the Department to advance testing and production of a fluorine-free firefighting agent not later than 2025 and, thereafter, ban the use of fluorinated foams by 2029. 
  • Norcross worked to expand the allowance for the military to pay for next-of-kin to travel to Dover Air Force Base in the event a servicemember dies overseas.
    • This follows Norcross learning that family members of Electronics Technician 2nd Class Kenneth Smith of Cherry Hill, who was one of the sailors killed aboard the USS John S. McCain when it collided with an oil tanker in 2017, were burdened by the cost of travel to Dover Air Force Base. Currently, the military will only provide travel to family members when a loved one dies in combat.
  • Norcross worked with Rep. Andy Kim to lower military spouse unemployment by making a key job training program more accessible.

Boosting Jobs, Manufacturing, Research and Development

Norcross, the only electrician in Congress, is always focused on advancing our nation’s workforce, including the skilled workers at Boeing, Lockheed, L3, Leonardo and other industrial base facilities across the region, and boosting innovative research and development projects at area universities.

  • Norcross authored provisions in the act to enhance 'Buy American' standards to bring manufacturing and high-quality jobs back home.
  • Norcross worked to require the use of registered apprentices on military construction projects, ensuring the next generation of well-trained, highly-skilled workers on our nation’s bases.
  • Norcross included $28 million in funding to keep the CH-47F Chinook Block II program on track.
    • In May, Norcross led a TAL visit to the Boeing production facility and, thereafter, decided to preserve the option for the Army to buy the Chinook Block II and match it with oversight measures, including requirements to update Congress on readiness, cost-benefits, risks and modernization strategies so our nation and region are best situated for the future.
  • Norcross pushed for new investments in our shipbuilding industry, which is receiving roughly $24 billion. That supports research being conducted at the Philadelphia Yard using three inactive submarines for modern equipment testing.
  • Norcross worked to support research projects being led by top-notch New Jersey institutions:
    • Rowan University will continue to research military engineering for cold regions (like Russia and the arctic).
    • New Jersey Institute of Technology will continue work on green, lower-cost materials.
  • Norcross is looking ahead to how regional and national projects will adjust to new threats.
    • Norcross requested a report on the modernization of current Aegis ballistic missile defense programs, which are integrated and tested at Lockheed Martin in Camden and Moorestown.
    • Norcross requested a study on cyber security for critical infrastructure in response to attempted attacks on our electric grid.
    • Norcross directed the U.S. Navy to look at acquiring the Coast Guard’s Fast Response Cutters (FRCs) that L3 Communications helps equip.

COMING UP: New Jersey Military Installation Delegation Tour

On July 19, 2019, Norcross will be leading a New Jersey delegation tour of the state’s military installations, with stops at the installations mentioned above. To request information as we get closer to the trip, please email Ally.Kehoe@mail.house.gov.

###


Contact: Ally Kehoe, Communications Director
ally.kehoe@mail.house.gov