Why it matters: The federal government’s number one responsibility is to protect the American people from the multitude of threats our nation faces. Arkansas, with its rich military heritage, continues to play a key role in that vital effort. Congress has an obligation to ensure that the men and women who serve our nation have everything they need to complete their missions safely and successfully.
Where I stand: There are numerous threats to U.S. security that cannot be ignored. Our senior military leaders have warned of the technological advancements being made by adversaries like Russia and China, whose international actions have demonstrated their intent to challenge our leadership. We also face threats from rogue nations like North Korea and Iran. As we have seen from the last two decades of war, we must be able to counter the threat posed by terrorist organizations whenever and wherever they may be. The men and women of our armed forces must be ready for today’s challenges while preparing to counter tomorrow’s threats.
Chronic budget uncertainty has allowed our adversaries to gain a strategic advantage by failing to ensure the Department of Defense (DoD) has the necessary resources for manpower, training and purchasing purposes. The broken budget process has further exacerbated our military’s readiness, constrained services’ ability to plan with any certainty and forced DoD to spend more to do less. Congress must do a better job of deciding how taxpayer dollars are spent so our military leaders can confront today’s threats head-on while planning for the future.
I am committed to using my role as the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies—as well as my seat on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense—to right the ship. I will work to ensure that Arkansas’s military instillations—including Little Rock Air Force Base, Camp Robinson, Ebbing Air National Guard Base, Fort Chaffee and Pine Bluff Arsenal—remain ahead of the curve in the effort to modernize.
What I've done: As a co-chair of the Senate Air Force Caucus, I've worked to ensure the Air Force has the resources and the tools it needs to meet evolving challenges. I've seen first-hand the rigorous training our nation’s aviators do to prepare for combat and improve their readiness and has secured investments to make necessary improvements. In 2018, I authored language to update the LRAFB runway and have continued to strengthen the LRAFB’s mission and secured funding for $47 million for a C-130H/J Fuselage Trainer facility at the base.
I helped secure a cybersecurity mission at LRAFB to combat our nation’s growing cyber threat making it a leader in the development of cyber capabilities to enhance the Air Force’s air superiority.
Here are some additional highlights:
Boozman championed construction for a new Arkansas National Guard Readiness Training Center at Fort Chaffee. The center will provide greater support for training exercises to help ensure Arkansas guardsmen continue to be some of the best. He has advocated for critical investments at Fort Chafee to preserve the capability for use by the many units from across the country who benefit from it by securing $9 million for readiness training ranges, which will support ongoing operations at Razorback Range at Fort Chaffee and $1.1 million for an Army National Guard range expansion to improve the multi-purpose machine gun range for mounted unit training at the installation.
The senator also delivered increased funding for the 188th Wing renewable energy project and worked to improve child care assistance for military families who are assigned to around-the-clock, stateside rotations units—like the 188th Wing by authoring a provision that directs the Department of Defense to research, report and provide recommendations to Congress on how to provide 24-hour child care to military families.
Boozman has secured millions of dollars for munitions manufacturing at the Pine Bluff Arsenal and advocated for funding to manufacture chemical-biological personnel protective equipment at the arsenal making it the U.S. Army’s second source for the protective gear.
In 2020, Boozman encouraged the Army to incorporate the Iron Dome short-range protection system into the force and called on then-Secretary of Defense Mark Esper to deploy capabilities to safeguard U.S. and coalition members in the Middle East. A portion of the Iron Dome defense system is produced in Camden, Arkansas.
The senator also successfully led the effort to secure funds for the military newspaper Stars and Stripes to continue after the Department of Defense planned to eliminate the media outlet.