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.
What I've done: 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.
Senator Boozman's National Security Accomplishments
Senator Boozman is committed to making critical investments to defend our country against evolving threats posed by adversaries like China and Russia, modernizing the military and providing servicemembers with the tools and resources they need to successfully carry-out their missions. He has worked to strengthen Arkansas’s role in national defense.
As a co-chair of the Senate Air Force Caucus, Boozman works to ensure the Air Force has the resources and the tools it needs to meet evolving challenges. He’s 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, Boozman authored language to update the Little Rock Air Force Base (LRAFB) runway. He has continued to strengthen the LRAFB’s mission by securing a new C-130J flight training unit at the 189th Airlift Wing of the Arkansas Air National Guard at LRAFB and funding for $47 million for a C-130H/J Fuselage Trainer facility at the base.
Boozman helped secure a cybersecurity mission at LRAFB to combat the growing cyber threat we face, making it a leader in the development of cyber capabilities to enhance the Air Force’s operations to protect information and defend against vulnerabilities that could compromise our national security.
The senator has consistently championed the unique capabilities and assets of Fort Smith to support our nation’s air superiority. In June 2021 Ebbing Air National Guard Base was selected to house the Foreign Military Sales F-35 Squadron and the Singapore Air Force F-16 Squadron following concerted efforts by Senator Boozman and the Arkansas Congressional Delegation along with state and community leaders to demonstrate the region’s suitability for hosting this unique and significant mission. In the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Boozman strengthened this partnership by including language reinforcing the relationship between Singapore and the U.S. as major security cooperation partners through combined military training exercises and stationing at Fort Smith.
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 Chaffee 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.
The senator has advocated for improved mammography services for servicemembers and veterans. Congress adopted a Boozman-authored provision in the FY 2022 NDAA requiring the Department of Defense (DoD) to report breast cancer rates of servicemembers deployed over the past 10 years and directing DoD to make recommendations to improve mammogram screening services in order to identify breast cancer in servicemembers earlier. Additionally, Boozman’s measure requires the DoD to assess its capabilities to conduct 3D mammograms at its facilities.
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.