Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s Office–
On July 14, 2023, Congressman Kevin McCarthy, Representative of California’s 20th Congressional District and Speaker of the House, was pleased to announce the inclusion of multiple priorities in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 National Defense Authorization Act to bolster Edwards Air Force Base, Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore, and Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake. This bill passed the House today and has been sent to the Senate for consideration.
Congressman McCarthy released the following statement:
“The Fiscal Year 2024 NDAA, a bill supporting our troops, includes critical provisions to ensure our military stands ready to face emerging threats. I am proud to announce that numerous provisions were included in the bill that will directly benefit the dedicated men and women at Edwards Air Force Base, Naval Air Station Lemoore, and Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake by enhancing their operational readiness, resources, and overall strength.
“Specifically, the legislation establishes a new office within our region to expedite weapons systems development, extends an authority that cuts red tape to hire top talent faster, raises the authorization limit for facility improvements without incurring unnecessary delays, and makes permanent a grant program that addresses significant community infrastructure challenges that support military installations. These strategic approaches will allow our bases to attract and retain the talent needed to sustain high-level operations. I look forward to working with the Senate to pass a final bill that includes these advancements.”
The FY24 NDAA includes the following provisions that strengthen the military installations in the 20th Congressional District of California:
Edwards Air Force Base
1Defense Laboratory Modernization Pilot Program – At the request of Rep. McCarthy, the FY24 NDAA works to strengthen this vital authority by directing input from the Department of Defense on how to make this authority more effective. This program allows research and development funding to pay for the construction of facilities that support research and development activities, which provides another pathway to advance crucial military construction projects.
1Western Range Interoperability – At the request of Rep. McCarthy, the FY24 NDAA directs the Department of Defense (DoD) to address joint interoperability plans as DoD western ranges are becoming congested with new aerospace developments. This will enhance planning efforts for specific regional military installations that use the same corridors.
Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore
1NAS Lemoore Assessment – At the request of Rep. McCarthy, the FY24 NDAA directs the Navy to provide the House Armed Services Committee an update on NAS Lemoore’s successes and issues that could be addressed to help make the base even more robust. This builds upon NAS Lemoore’s proud legacy while ensuring that the dedicated men and women who operate this organization are best positioned for future success.
1Defense Community Infrastructure Program – At the request of Rep. McCarthy, the FY24 NDAA makes this grant program permanent so that more community infrastructure projects that enhance military installations can be considered for grant funding.
Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake
1Naval Air Warfare Rapid Capabilities Office – At the request of Rep. McCarthy, the FY24 NDAA authorizes a Naval Air Warfare Rapid Capabilities Office that reports directly to senior Navy leadership. This office fast-tracks the development of low-cost weapons systems. It would be located within the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division at NAWS China Lake, leveraging existing resources to ensure it delivers the best products and services for the Fleet.
1NAWS China Lake Infrastructure – At the request of Rep. McCarthy, the FY24 NDAA directs the Navy to update the congressional defense committees on efforts to address water security planning, utility infrastructure, and roadways at NAWS China Lake. This information will support more long-term planning and infrastructure investments at the base.
1Direct Hire Authority – At the request of Rep. McCarthy, the FY24 NDAA cuts through red tape, allowing installations like NAWS China Lake and Edwards AFB to continue to hire directly and more effectively recruit individuals to support their organizations. More specifically, this authority is extended from 2025 to 2035. This authority helps certain bases match the industry in hiring new personnel as the labor market is competitive.
1Unspecified Minor Construction Authority Limit Increase – At the request of Rep. McCarthy, the FY24 NDAA increases a special authority for smaller construction projects to qualify for a faster approval process. The authority limit is raised from $6M to $9M, and projects with high area construction costs authority from $10M to $14M. This change allows more significant projects to move forward without going through the extensive and time-consuming military construction approval process.