H.R.2471 Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 was signed into law on 11 March 2022, fully funding the federal government through the end of the current Fiscal Year. The compromise package ends the nearly six-month stalemate between the House and the Senate in which the government has been funded by continuing resolutions. This budget also marks a major shift in how the Department of Defense pays for contingency operations by replacing the Overseas Contingency Operations account with two new accounts that fall under the department’s base budget.
This legislation contains multiple provisions beneficial to the National Guard including: $285.0M for the ARNG and $285.0M for the ANG in NGREA funding, $337.9M in ARNG MILCON, $305.0M in ANG MILCON, $194.2M for the National Guard Counter-drug Program, $25.7M for National Guard Counter-drug schools, $85.2M for the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program, and $42.0M for National Guard STARBASE.
Army National Guard provisions include $987.8M for 33 H-60M helicopters for the ARNG, $1.1B for modernizing 90 ARNG M1 Abrams tanks, and $100.0M for the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) modernization program for the ARNG. This bill also requires the Secretary of the Army to regularly report to the appropriations committees on Army National Guard multi-domain operations readiness.
Provisions affecting the Air National Guard include: $1.8B for 16 C-130Js for the ANG, $272.2M C-130H modifications for the ANG, $95.8M for F-16 AESA RADAR kits for the ANG, and $25.0M for modular small arms ranges for the ANG. This legislation recognizes the importance of maintaining C-130J manufacturing capabilities and requires the Secretary of the Air Force to report to the appropriations committees on the C-130 diminishing manufacturing sources.
S.1605 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 was signed into law on 27 December 2021, authorizing DoD activities, programs, and defense related programs for FY2022. This legislation supports the elimination of the Overseas Contingency Operations Account from the DoD budget. The NDAA fully authorized all unfunded priorities requested by the Chief, National Guard Bureau and authorizes special incentive and bonus pay parity for the Guard and Reserve.
H.R.3512, Healthcare for our Troops Act, would provide zero-cost TRICARE Reserve Select and dental coverage for all members of the Reserve Component and authorizes TRS eligibility for servicemembers who are federal employees in their civilian capacity. Initial CBO scores estimate this bill to cost $718 million a year. The cost savings of this bill due to streamlining medical spending has yet to be calculated. NGAUS Legislative Staff has continued to garner support for H.R.3512 in both the House and the Senate. There is no Senate companion bill.
S.1291/H.R.7041, Record of Military Service for Members of the Armed Service Act of 2021, would provide a definitive record of military service (DD-214) for all members of the reserve components. This bill would replace NGB Form 22 and would make it easier for Guardsmen to obtain benefits. Rep. Chirs Pappas of New Hampshire introduced the house companion bill on 9 March 2022, shortly after BG Robinson testified to Congress about this issue. NGAUS Legislative Staff remains committed to increasing support of this initiative in the House and Senate.
Additional legislation NGAUS remains active in shepherding through Congress include S.1178/H.R.1854 – RECRUIT Act which authorizes small business an additional tax credit for employing members of the Guard and Reserve.
NGAUS Legislative Staff continues to engage Congress to ensure that the National Guard remains concurrently and proportionally equipped and modernized equal to the Active Component, as well as socializing Space National Guard as the reserve component of Space Force.