September 18, 2017

Cardin Amendments to Defense Bill Establish Process Intended to Prevent Closure of Key Biodefense Lab at Ft. Detrick, Provide Upgrades to F-16 Fleet at Joint Base Andrews

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) today praised the Senate for its work on a bipartisan defense authorization bill. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018 was approved by the Senate Tuesday evening.

“I commend my colleagues for coming together before the end of the fiscal year to ensure that the men and women who so honorably defend our nation have the tools and the support they need to carry out their mission. Maryland is home to more than 40,000 active and reserve service members. These men and women have volunteered to defend our nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic. This bill will improve the quality of life of more than 2 million men and women of the all-volunteer force – as well as their families – through more fair compensation, policies and benefits, including first-rate health care. It also better addresses the needs of wounded, ill and injured service members.

“I am especially pleased to have included an amendment that will establish a process intended to prevent the imminent closure next month of the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) located at Ft. Detrick. Preventing this closure will allow for the Department of Homeland Security to work with other agencies that rely on this lab, and ensure that our country does not lose this essential capability. This will ensure our continued ability to understand and counter against biological threats to our national security.

“I also am pleased that we were able to include my amendment that would direct the U.S. Air Force to modernize the existing National Guard F-16 fleet with upgraded radar systems. This amendment would ensure that the National Guard F-16 fleet, including the District of Columbia Air National Guard at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, is able to detect modern and evolving threats.

“The NDAA is not a Democratic bill or a Republican bill, but bipartisan legislation to provide defense for our nation. The NDAA is the key mechanism to provide necessary authorities and funding for America’s military.”

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