Daines Prioritizes National Security and Secures Air Support for Nuclear Weapons

U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines today worked to bolster aviation security, cybersecurity and nuclear security.

The Senate Committee on Appropriations today marked up and passed the Fiscal Year 2017 Defense Appropriations Bill and Fiscal Year 2017 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill.

“It’s unconscionable to imagine that our nuclear warheads do not have adequate air security,” Daines stated. “With my provisions and additional funding, we will have the needed air support for our nuclear weapons until the permanent solution of an expedited procurement is complete.” 

Daines secured the following provisions in the Defense Appropriations Bill: 

Upgrading UH-1Ns: $75 million in the bill for the Air Force to purchase Black Hawk helicopters along with language directing the Department of Defense to secure the nuclear missile fields with additional outside air support until the acquisition process has completed due to the security risks posed by the Vietnam-era UH-1N. 

Funding Cyber Command: Establishes that Cyber Command has enough funding to begin its initial operations if elevated to a Combatant Command following Daines’ amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act and directs the Department of Defense to provide planning for future funding in FY18 and beyond.

Modernization of nuclear arsenal: Six provisions for nuclear modernization, including, $12 million in upgrades to communication equipment that Daines raised security concerns, and provisions supporting the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program which replaces the Minuteman III missiles. Daines recently published an editorial on GBSD and has continued to lead the ICBM coalition in holding accountable for the upgrade of nuclear arsenal.  

Department of Defense Healthcare Management System Modernization: Establishes electronic healthcare records for servicemembers leaving the military and transitioning to the VA and directing the program to be completed in the fastest most cost effective manner possible. 

Army Research and Development: $30 million for military small arms. Daines has long called on the military to upgrade its small arms arsenal to keep up with the private sector and was informed rifle barrels made in Montana could make the Marine Corps sniper rifle 3lbs lighter- an important provision after reports that our adversaries had better sniper rifles than Marines. 

Daines secured the following provisions in the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill: 

Transportation Security Administration (TSA):

  • Fully funds the Screening Partnership Program (SPP) at $170M, which provides critical private security screening services at 8 of Montana’s 13 commercial use airports, especially for eastern Montana
  • Includes a requirement for TSA to consult with airport managers before removing any federal or contract security services, as almost happened at the Butte airport.
  • Expedites Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) scanner deployment to Great Falls and Helena airports.
    • Nationally, authorizes 1,344 additional personnel to help reduce airport security wait times.
    • Nationally, require TSA PreCheck to be more widely used and enrollment more
    • Nationally, adds another 50 canine teams

Port of Raymond: In response to efforts by the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) to reduce hours of operation at the Port of Raymond, Daines secured language requiring CBP to consult with community members, local elected officials and businesses before making any changes to port hours and prohibit reductions unless CBP demonstrates it will not impede local or regional commerce or impede residential traffic.

Cybersecurity: Ensures national cybersecurity efforts continue to focus on preventing cyber-attacks on federal agencies that hold Americans’ personal information.