Thom is a Champion for North Carolina Servicemembers and Military Families

As Chairman, Thom has led the Personnel Subcommittee in a bipartisan manner, spearheading commonsense solutions that have improved the quality of life for servicemembers and military families. Thom has also used his position on the Senate Armed Services Committee to champion North Carolina’s military installations – including securing more than $1.1 billion in improvements to Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune, Cherry Point, New River, and Seymour Johnson. Thom has also advanced initiatives that reaffirm North Carolina’s status as the nation’s tip of the spear.

Pay Raises for Servicemembers

Chairman Tillis helped secure the two largest across-the-board pay raises over the last nine years for our servicemembers. The FY2018 NDAA, provided an across-the-board 2.4% pay raise and the FY2019 NDAA provided another 2.6% pay raise.

Defense Officer Personnel Management Act (DOPMA) Reform

  • Thom led the most comprehensive reform of the Defense Officer Personnel Management Act since its inception in 1980, which includes key provisions to better align officer management with the objectives included in the National Defense Strategy. These provisions will modernize DOPMA to provide the services with the authority and flexibility to better recruit, support, and retain officers.

Combatting Opioid Abuse

  • Thom secured a provision requiring the Department of Defense to establish and maintain a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program that will allow bi-directional information sharing for designated controlled substances.

    This language was the result of a roundtable hosted by Thom in Fayetteville that examined pain management practices in the DoD, VA, and civilian health care sectors.

  • Thom also secured a provision establishing a 3-year comprehensive pilot program to minimize early opioid exposure and to prevent opioid misuse and abuse. This program will maximize opioid safety across the entire continuum of care and seeks to prevent the progression to misuse or abuse of opioid medications.

Advocating on Behalf of Military Families

Securing Impact Aid for Military Dependent Children

Thom has secured impact aid that assists military dependent children, including:
  • $120 million in supplemental impact aid to local educational agencies with military dependent children.
  • $20 million in impact aid for schools with military dependent children with severe disabilities.
  • $1 million for a pilot program on public-private partnerships for telework facilities to facilitate spousal employment on military installations outside the United States.

Leading the effort to modernize and improve health care for servicemembers and their families

Thom secured several key provisions in the FY2017 NDAA that reformed TRICARE by increasing collaboration between the military and private sector. TRICARE is the military health plan for servicemembers, military retirees, and their families.

Thom’s provisions:
  • Established high performance military-civilian integrated health delivery systems, which would foster innovation in military treatment facilities, enhance operational medical force readiness, and improve access to specialized medical care.
  • Required the Secretary of Defense to enter into centrally-managed, performance-based contracts with private sector entities to improve the delivery of health care services at military treatment facilities with limited ability to provide services such as primary care or expanded-hours urgent care.
  • Set the stage for memoranda of agreement between the Department of Defense and institutions of higher education to improve and sustain operational medical force readiness and possibly serve as a productive recruiting ground for new military physicians.

Working across the aisle to ensure military families have access to autism therapy for their children

Senators Tillis and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) have worked together to help stop reductions to TRICARE’s reimbursement rates for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy to beneficiaries diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In 2016, Tillis and Gillibrand urged the Secretary of Defense to delay the new rates until after completion of the TRICARE Autism Care Demonstration program to protect ABA therapy access for over 26,000 children of military personnel and retirees. The following month, the Defense Health Agency (DHA) moved forward with adjusting TRICARE reimbursement rates for ABA therapy to beneficiaries diagnosed with ASD. The FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act included a Tillis-Gillibrand provision that would address issues with reimbursement rates for the TRICARE Autism Care Demonstration program to ensure access to care for all military dependents with ASD.

Rolling back these…rules alone will save our economy billions of dollars and millions of hours in compliance costs over time. That is real money back in the pockets of hard working Americans without reforming a single provision in the tax code or cutting a single program in the budget.

McClatchy

10/05/2016

Combatting juvenile sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse

Thom took action following an Associated Press investigation on the prevalence of juvenile sexual assault and harassment on military bases. Thom secured a provision in the FY2019 NDAA which requires the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) to establish policies and procedures to extend the same Title IX protections for students at civilian schools to students at DoDEA schools who are victims of sexual harassment.

Thom has also worked across the aisle to prevent domestic violence and child abuse. He introduced the Military Family PROTECT Act with Senator Gillibrand (D-NY), which was codified into law. It established multidisciplinary teams for military installations on child abuse and domestic violence.

Additionally, Thom secured a provision in the FY2019 NDAA to authorize a pilot program on the prevention of child abuse and training on safe childcare practices among military families and a provision to establish a new punitive article in the Uniform Code of Military Justice prohibiting domestic violence.

Creating career and job opportunities for servicemembers and their spouses

  • Thom has worked to expand career and job opportunities for military spouses, recognizing the vast personal and professional sacrifices they make.
  • Thom included a provision in the FY19 NDAA to expand authority for non-competitive appointments of military spouses by federal agencies.
  • Thom secured an amendment in the FY17 NDAA that would close the two-year time limit loophole for military spouses who move from base to base and seek federal employment on that base. Thom’s amendment will have an immediate impact on the quality of life for military spouses and their families.

    Currently, a military spouse only has two years to invoke the military spouse preference from the date of the service member’s permanent change of station orders, which are issued well in advance of a military family arriving at a new duty station. Combined with the demands of raising children, adjusting to new surroundings, and the actual availability of federal jobs, many military spouses have missed consideration for employment or have had job offers withdrawn because they lost eligibility.
  • In 2017, Thom co-introduced legislation with Senators Warren (D-MA) and Cornyn (R-TX) that helps provide more job opportunities for servicemembers by easing the burden on the process whereby active-duty military, reservists, and veterans apply for their commercial driver’s license. The new law allows the experience servicemembers gained serving our nation to apply in a civilian capacity and not force them to go through a redundant credentialing process to obtain a commercial driver’s license.

Securing a major Census change to count North Carolina servicemembers

Thom worked with the communities of Fayetteville and Jacksonville and the U.S. Census Bureau to ensure that U.S. military personnel who are deployed outside the U.S. and are living on or off a military installation outside the U.S. are counted as residents of the state where they live and sleep most of the time. Previously, the Census counted deployed servicemembers as residents of states they lived in at the time they originally enlisted for service.

The changes to the 2020 census mean that all Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines from North Carolina’s military installations will be counted in the decennial census as residents of the state, regardless of whether or not they are deployed abroad.

Since many federal tax dollars are proportional to population, North Carolina would benefit from additional Departments of Education, Transportation, and Agriculture funding as a result of an increased population in the 2020 census.

Supporting NC’s Military Installations

Thom has helped secure more than $1.1 billion in funding for improvements to North Carolina’s military installations.

Protecting Fort Bragg’s rapid deployment capabilities

Thom secured a provision in the FY2017 NDAA that would require the Secretary of the Army, in coordination with the Commander of the 18th Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, to submit a report to the Senate outlining plans to extend the runway at Pope Airfield and to indicate whether such project is a priority for the Army.

The runway at Pope Airfield is currently too short to accommodate fully fueled and fully loaded C-17 and C-5 airlifts, forcing the airlifts to be refueled in South Carolina or Newfoundland at a taxpayer cost of $17,000 per hour.

Thom also led the opposition to the Pentagon’s short-sighted and strategically flawed decision to dismantle the 440th Airlift Wing and remove the C-130H presence at Fort Bragg, which has been vital to the training and readiness of the 18th Airborne Corps. Thom has made it clear he intends to continue to hold the Pentagon accountable for failing to meet the training needs of the Global Response Force, and he will continue to work on options to ensure that the future of Fort Bragg includes a C-130 presence.

Supporting Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base

In 2017, Thom secured $15 million for Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point that guarantees the construction of the Vertical Lift Fan Test Facility and ensures the future home of F-35B Joint Strike Fighters in North Carolina.

Thom also secured over $25 million that paves the way for Seymour Johnson Air Force Base to house a squadron of KC-46 Air Force Tankers. In 2017, the United States Air Force selected Seymour Johnson Air Force Base as the Main Operating Base for a KC-46A Pegasus Air Refueling Squadron. Senators Tillis and Burr also secured funding for the construction of an air traffic control tower in the FY2016 omnibus. The control tower will provide the needed safety for the squadron of tankers, which are expected at Seymour Johnson by 2019.

Successfully halting a plan to transfer 24 AG-64 Apache helicopters from the North Carolina National Guard

Thom secured a provision in the FY2016 omnibus that stopped the planned transfer of 24 AG-64 Apache helicopters from the N.C. National Guard in Raleigh to the regular Army. Thom’s provision helped save roughly 400 North Carolina jobs, and most importantly stopped a plan that would have undermined the combat prowess of the Army Guard, the nation’s first line of defense.

Assessing Cyber Security Risks to National Electric Grid

Senators Tillis and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced bipartisan legislation requiring the Department of Defense (DoD) to issue a one-time report on significant security risks to the national electric grid and the effects of those risks on military readiness. Their legislation was codified into law in 2018.

Camp Lejeune

  1. $37.9M – Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (FY18)
  2. $65.7M – Water Treatment Plant Replacement Hadnot Point (FY18)
  3. $15.3M – Ambulatory Care Center Addition (FY18)
  4. $43.4M – Ambulatory Care Center/Dental Clinic (FY18)
  5. $10.8M – SOF Human Performance Training Center (SOCOM) (FY18)
  6. $20.5M – SOF Motor Transport Maintenance Facility (SOCOM) (FY18)
  7. $31.0M – Dental Clinic Replacement (FY17)
  8. $18.4M – Range Facilities Safety Improvements (FY17)
  9. $50.5M – 2nd Radio BN Complex Operations Consolidation (FY16)
  10. $54.8M – Simulator Integration/Range Control Facility (FY16)
  11. $54.9M– SOF Marine Battalion Company/Team Facilities (FY16)
  12. $14.0M – Combat Service Support Facility (FY16)

$417.7M – Total

Cherry Point

  1. $55.0M – Flightline Utility Modernization (FY19)
  2. $60.0M – Aircraft Maintenance Hangar (FY19)
  3. $15.6M – F-35B Vertical Lift Fan Test Facility (FY18)
  4. $12.5M – Central Heating Plan Conversion (FY17)
  5. $4.7M – KC 130J Enlisted Air Crew Trainer Facility (FY16)
  6. $29.6M – Unmanned Aircraft System Facilities (FY16)

$177.6M – Total

Seymour Johnson

  1. $6.4M – KC-46A ADAL for Alt Mission Storage (FY18)
  2. $20.0M – Tanker Truck Delivery System (Defense Logistics Agency) (FY18)
  3. $90.0M – KC-46A Two Bay Corrosion/Fuel Cell Hanger (FY17)
  4. $5.7M – KC-46A ADAL Building for Age/Fuselage Training (FY17)
  5. $2.2M – KC-46A ADAL Squadron Operations Facility (FY17)
  6. $17.1M –Air Traffic Control Tower/Base OPS Facility (FY16)

$141.4M – Total

Fort Bragg

  1. $10.0M – Dining Facility
  2. $12.1M – SOF Replace Training Maze and Tower
  3. $20.2M – SOF SERE Resistance Training Lab. Complex
  4. $20.2M – SOF Human Performance Training Center (SOCOM) (FY18)
  5. $13.5M – SOF Support Battalion Admin Facility (SOCOM) (FY18)
  6. $43.5M – SOF Tactical Equipment Maintenance Facility (SOCOM) (FY18)
  7. $4.0M – SOF Telecom Reliability Improvements (SOCOM) (FY18)
  8. $30.6M – SOF Special Tactics Facility, Phase 3 (FY17)
  9. $21.4M – SOF Parachute Rigging Facility (FY17)
  10. $10.9M – Combat Medic Training Facility (FY17)
  11. $32.9M – Butner Elementary School Replacement (FY16)
  12. $14.3M – SOF 21 STS Operations Facility (FY16)
  13. $38.5M – SOF Battalion Operations Facility (FY16)
  14. $8.3M – SOF Indoor Range (FY16)
  15. $28.2M – SOF Intelligence Training Center (FY16)
  16. $43.8M – SOF Special Tactics Facility, Phase 2 (FY16)

$353M – Total

New River

  1. $10.0M – Dining Facility
  2. $32.5M – Amb Care Center/Dental Clinic Replacement (FY19)
  3. $4.9M – Radar Air Traffic Control Facility Addition (FY16)
  4. $3.3M – Operational Trainer Facility

$40.8M – Total

N.C. National Guard/Charlotte Airport

  1. $29.6M – C-17 Corrosion Control/Fuel Cell Hangar
  2. $21.0M – C-17 Type III Hydrant Refueling System
  3. $9.0M – Replace C-130 Squadron Operations Facility

$59.6M – Total

TOTAL: $1.19 Billion