The U.S. Senate passed on Thursday the fiscal year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act which will allow for the modernization and expansion of the Fallon Range Training Complex.
Nevada U.S. Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, announced the passage with separate media releases.
The House of Representatives passed the NDAA one week ago.
The $857.9 billion NDAA will also deliver a 4.6% pay raise for the troops, invest in cybersecurity, continue support for Ukraine’s fight against Russian aggression and strengthen national security.
A key component involves the FRTC, a project that has taken more than six years to come to fruition after numerous meetings, scoping sessions and presentations.
Cortez Masto, Rosen and U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, who represents Northern Nevada, the U.S. Navy, the Department of Interior, local stakeholders and tribal nations worked for a compromise proposal to modernize the training range at NAS Fallon.
The FRTC, according to the NDAA, will add 558,535 acres for military training and designate more than 581,887 acres of conservation, wilderness and other protected areas. Approximately, 18,170 acres of land will be held in trust for the Walker River Paiute and Fallon Paiute Shoshone tribes and provide the tribes with funding to preserve their history, knowledge and culture. Additionally, the agreement will allow Churchill and Lander counties to access land for economic growth.
Rosen said the Lander County Land Management and Conservation Act will transfer land to Lander County to improve airports, water infrastructure, support economic development and designate over 14,000 acres of new wilderness.
Other provisions of the NDAA will affect the military including the Off-Base Military Housing Allowance for junior servicemembers. This package directs the Secretary of Defense to brief Congress on the implementation of the expanded dislocation allowance authority.
This legislation follows a year-long effort by Rosen to make the housing dislocation allowance available to junior servicemembers when they’re ordered to vacate barracks and dormitories due to housing shortages.
The NDAA directs the Secretary of Defense to report to Congress options for reducing the price of high-need products at military exchanges as inflation continues raising prices for servicemembers and their families.
A report on the feasibility of the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Crew Mission Readiness Program directs the Secretary of the Air Force to provide a report on establishing a program to help improve quality of life for remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) crews and their families, who face a retention and mental health crisis due to the stressors and intensity of their occupation.
Creech Air Force Base north of Las Vegas is one of the highest operational tempo RPA installations throughout the Air Force.
The NDAA directs the Secretary of the Air Force to brief Congress on their basing criteria for more capable C-130J aircraft to better fight wildfires and encourages the Air Force to follow through on its commitment. This is a top priority for the Nevada Air National Guard.
Other funding includes the following:
• $159 million for NAS Fallon military construction to modernize the base.
• $18 million for the operation of the Nevada Army National Guard Harry Reid Training Center in Reno.
• $7.2 million for a dormitory at Nellis Air Force Base to address a housing shortage among junior enlisted service members.
• $62.6 million for the Nevada Test Site
• Legislation requiring the Secretary of Defense to conduct a study on opportunities for providing support services to Remotely Piloted Aircraft crew.
Cortez Masto said the Water Resources Development Act was also included in the NDAA. It includes the following:
• $50 million to support the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Lake Tahoe “108 Program” to assist with environmental infrastructure projects in the Lake Tahoe Basin.
• $415 million for the Western Rural Water program, which supports projects that provide safe water, waste disposal and pollution control in rural communities.
• $25 million for a pilot program to address aquatic invasive species in Alpine Lakes such as Lake Tahoe, Crater Lake, and Yellowstone Lake.