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HAFB receives $19M in federal defense funds

The Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act included $19.2 million for two projects of import at Holloman Air Force Base, part of a $54.4 million package benefitting New Mexico's military installations and national labs.

The continued modernization of the high-speed test track at Holloman was awarded $15 million. An additional $4.1 million was designated for use on the F-16 formal training unit airfield requirements at Holloman.

Both projects were part the NDAA's $857.9 billion designation, approved by the U.S. Senate Dec. 15 in a 83 to 11 vote.

Sen. Martin Heinrich, hair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, called the passage of the NDAA a win for the state's service members.

"After serving over a decade on Armed Services Committees in the House and Senate, I'm proud to continue supporting New Mexico's military installations and the incredible service members dedicated to carrying out our national security missions," Heinrich said in a Dec. 15 news release.

Also funded through the NDA was White Sands Missile Range which will receive $3.6 million for the missile assembly building. At Cannon Air Force Base, $8 million will go toward the construction of a munitions storage area, while Kirkland received just under $23 million for various projects. The New Mexico Army National Guard Vehicle Maintenance Shop was included in the budget with an award of $600,000.

New Mexico Sen. Ben Ray Lujan said the bill would allow New Mexico to "continue to be on the forefront of science, energy and military innovation."

"Today I was honored to join the Senate in approving the annual defense authorization bill that makes a historic investment in our armed services, ensuring they are ready to meet the national security challenges of the 21st century," Lujan said in a news release.

"With four military installations and two National Laboratories, Ne Mexico plays a vital role in maintaining our national security and this legislation will further our state's impact."

Lujan praised the bill's inclusion of funds to increase service member pay and monies for child care services.

The Senate approved version of the NDAA contains a 4.6 percent raise for both military service members and civilian workforces within the Department of Defense. According to the news release from Lujan's office, it is the largest pay raise in two decades.

The Senate passed the NDAA on a 83 to 11 margin; the House passed it earlier in December in a 350 to 80 vote.

The bill will be sent to President Joe Biden to be signed into law.