Sen. Roy Blunt has tirelessly supported Missouri’s role vital role in the nation’s defense during his first term in the Senate, as he has fought to sustain and expand missions at each of the state’s military installations.
Blunt championed several key state defense priorities as part of the 2014 omnibus spending agreement, including $337 million to keep the Air Force’s A-10 fleet flying at Whiteman Air Force Base and elsewhere, and $1.46 billion to build 15 new Growler aircraft in St. Louis. He also worked to preserve the Missouri National Guard’s 139th Airlift Wing training base in St. Joseph and the Army Aviation Flight Activity and the Missouri National Guard Aviation Classification Repair Activity Depot, which are co-located in Springfield. He has been a staunch advocate for state-hosted active and reserve component military installations and DoD agencies, including Fort Leonard Wood, Whiteman, the 139th Airlift Wing and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.
In this year’s defense bills, the senator played an integral role in preserving the necessary military construction authorization and appropriation funding for the new Consolidated Stealth Operations and Nuclear Alert Facility at Whiteman. He worked to include critical C-130 engine upgrades for the airmen at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, which serves as the preeminent Air National Guard and international training facility for advanced airlift tactics.
To support Fort Leonard Wood, Blunt offered an amendment to the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill to prevent the Army’s active-duty end strength from dropping below 475,000 until DoD submits a plan to reduce its excess headquarters elements and administrative overhead. He led the effort in the Senate to address the Navy’s tactical aviation shortfall by adding 12 F-18 Super Hornets to the FY 2016 defense appropriations bill.
Blunt, a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee and the Select Committee on Intelligence, has worked tirelessly to ensure that veterans receive the health care and other retirement benefits they deserve. He co-sponsored the Senate-passed Veterans Affairs reform bill in 2014 and succeeded in including language in the FY 2015 defense authorization bill to align mental health treatment for veterans and military dependents with physical health care treatment offered under TRICARE.
For his efforts to promote greater investment in Missouri’s defense facilities and support the 17,000-plus active duty service members, 8,000-plus DoD civilian employees and 20,000-plus reservists and members of the National Guard who call Missouri home, ADC is honoring Blunt with its Congressional Leadership Award. Blunt will be recognized along with the other Defense Community Awards winners at the ADC Awards Breakfast today on Capitol Hill.