For Immediate Release 
Contact: (202) 228-1578 or press@heinrich.senate.gov

Heinrich Secures Major Wins For N.M. Military Bases, National Labs, Defense Programs, And Service Members

WASHINGTON (Dec. 16, 2021) – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) secured major wins in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) that support New Mexico’s men and women in uniform, military installations, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and job-creating initiatives throughout the state. The Senate passed the NDAA on a vote of 89 to 10. The legislation has passed both chambers of Congress with strong bipartisan support and now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law. 

The NDAA sets the Department of Defense (DoD) spending levels and policies for the upcoming fiscal year and authorizes funding for the U.S. Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons programs at Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories, as well as the Department of Energy’s environmental cleanup programs including the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). 

“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,” said Heinrich, now Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies. “This bill makes major investments to provide our Armed Forces with the state-of-the-art equipment they need to stay ahead of our adversaries and to advance our leadership in emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Directed Energy, and Hypersonics. I’m especially pleased that we are passing provisions that I authored to advance the Department of Defense’s Artificial Intelligence and digital capabilities so we can maintain our competitive advantage in the rapidly changing cyber space. These provisions, among many others, benefit New Mexico’s economy, and advance our state’s position as a leader in national security for years to come.” 

The FY22 NDAA includes a 2.7% pay raise for both military service members and the DOD civilian workforce. The defense bill includes historic reforms that Senator Heinrich championed to how the military investigates and prosecutes certain offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. 

Heinrich concluded, “I’m proud that this legislation maintains a strong commitment to our service members who keep all of us safe, and makes historic reforms to the military’s handling of sexual assault cases.” 

Senator Heinrich has long-championed provisions that benefit New Mexico’s men and women in uniform, national laboratories, and defense programs as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee from 2013-2020. Beginning in the 117th Congress, Senator Heinrich is now a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, where he serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies. 

A list of many of the programs and provisions that Senator Heinrich advocated for during the bill writing process that were included in the FY22 NDAA is available as a PDF HERE and below. 

New Mexico’s National Laboratories and WIPP

Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Plutonium Mission

Senator Heinrich again supported full funding to secure Los Alamos National Laboratory’s (LANL) role as the nation’s Center of Excellence for Plutonium Research. The bill authorizes $1 billion for LANL’s ongoing plutonium research and pit production programs. The funding supports personnel, equipment and other activities at LANL to meet pit production requirements by 2026; highlights include $660 million for plutonium operations and $350 million to support pit production. 

Sandia National Laboratories

Within the FY22 NDAA’s $15.9 billion funding for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), Sandia’s funding in the bill supports and sustains its system integration, engineering, and science programs. Sandia is supporting NNSA’s program of record modernizing the stockpile, conducting ongoing assessments of the stockpile, and continuing important stockpile science research. Senator Heinrich also supported $13.8 million for a power sources capability project at Sandia. 

Environmental Cleanup

The bill authorizes $338 million for environmental cleanup efforts including $4.6 million for Sandia National Laboratories, $275 million for Los Alamos National Laboratory, and $58 million for Los Alamos excess facilities. 

Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP)

The bill authorizes full funding of over $430 million to operate the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), including $55 million to continue construction of additional ventilation for the mine and $25 million to continue work on a new utility shaft. 

Artificial Intelligence

The FY22 NDAA makes significant advancements and authorizes over $200 million for AI. The NDAA authorizes versions of two major pieces of legislation championed by Senator Heinrich, who is the co-founder of the bipartisan Senate Artificial Intelligence Caucus.

Specifically, the bill includes: 

Artificial Intelligence Capabilities and Transparency Act 

The FY22 NDAA includes a modified version of the Artificial Intelligence Capabilities and Transparency (AICT) Act aimed at bolstering U.S. leadership in AI research and development. Senator Heinrich and U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) introduced the original bill (S.1705) in 2021. The AICT Act included in the FY22 NDAA requires:

  • The DoD to develop a plan for the creation of a modern information technology infrastructure that supports state of the art tools and modern processes to enable effective and efficient development, testing, fielding, and continuous updating of artificial intelligence capabilities; and
  • The DoD to establish a Chief Digital Recruiting Officer (CDRO) within the DOD. The CDRO would be charged with identify digital talent needs (AI, data science, autonomy, engineering, etc.) and actively recruit personnel from the private sector, universities and other sources. 

AI for the Military (AIM) Act

The FY22 NDAA also includes provisions from S. 1776, Artificial Intelligence for the Military Act, which was co-introduced by Senators Heinrich and Portman. These provisions require:

  • The establishment of a short course on emerging technologies for senior executive civilians and general and flag officers. This course ensures senior leaders at DoD remain educated on emerging technologies and their potential capabilities within the military; and
  • Directs the Director of the Office of Personnel Management to establish or update one or more occupational series for digital career fields. This would ensure that only properly trained and highly qualified personnel would be able to hold certain demanding positions within the fields of software development, software engineering, data science, and data management. 

New Mexico Military Installations and Programs 

Kirtland Air Force Base Wyoming Gate Project

Senator Heinrich secured authorization for $5,600,000 in funding to finish construction on the Wyoming Gate Project at Kirtland Air Force Base. This project was included in the Air Force’s Unfunded Priorities List for Fiscal Year 2022, and, once the project is complete, it will enhance the base’s defense perimeter and provide increased protection for the base’s uniformed and civilian personnel. 

Kirtland Air Force Base Dedicated Facility for the Space Rapid Capabilities Office

Senator Heinrich secured authorization for $5,280,000 in funding to accelerate the designing and planning of a dedicated facility for the Space Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) on Kirtland Air Force Base. The Space RCO is tasked with developing next-generation satellite capabilities to ensure U.S. space superiority. Its location on Kirtland Air Force Base ensures that the organization is able to leverage the new space economy that is rapidly growing in and around Albuquerque. The Space RCO’s workload has expanded significantly over the past several years and a new, dedicated Space RCO facility will enable the organization to realize its goal of bringing new space capabilities to the U.S. military at the speed of relevance. 

192 Bed Dormitory at Cannon Air Force Base

Senator Heinrich secured authorization for over $5 million to speed the construction of a new dormitory facility on the grounds of Cannon Air Force Base. The facility will house unaccompanied enlisted Airmen assigned to Cannon and will substantially contribute to service member quality of life and overall welfare. By increasing the availability of housing on base, the facility has the potential to alleviate the demand for affordable, quality housing in the base’s surrounding communities of Clovis and Portales. 

Deployment Processing Center at Cannon Air Force Base

The bill includes a $6 million authorization championed by Senator Heinrich that will provide funding to accelerate the construction of a Deployment Processing Center on the grounds of Cannon Air Force Base. Air Force Special Operations Forces conducts worldwide deployments that both begin and end at Cannon – and state-of-the-art logistics facilities are key to ensuring service members deploy quickly and safely. This deployment processing center will consolidate parachute rigging and airdrop resupply operations at one key facility on the base and will alleviate current logistics complications which have led to deployment delays in the past. 

Test Facility at Holloman Air Force Base

Senator Heinrich secured authorization for $2 million in funding to speed the construction of a facility on the grounds of Holloman Air Force Base aimed at testing the next generation of radar detection technology. Accurately measuring an aircraft’s radar cross section characteristics is key to accurately measuring U.S. aircrafts’ vulnerability to enemy radar and to more readily identifying enemy aircrafts from great distances. Holloman Air Force Base hosts a key facility dedicated to this mission, but it is aging and in need of modernization. Funding in the bill will enable the Air Force to begin the planning and design work needed to begin construction on a new facility sooner than had been originally planned by the Department of Defense. 

New Facilities for Pararescue Training at Kirtland Air Force Base

Senator Heinrich secured authorization for $810,000 for planning and design funding that will enable the Air Force to accelerate the delivery of new facilities for Kirtland Air Force Base’s pararescue training school. Kirtland is a key training installation for the Air Force’s Air Education and Training Command (AETC) and is charged with ensuring a steady pipeline for qualified Airmen with advanced pararescue skills. Once fully trained, these Special Operators conduct worldwide rescue and recovery operations to ensure no service member is left behind enemy lines. This funding will enable AETC to speed the delivery of new facilities for the pararescue schoolhouse at Kirtland, including classrooms, dormitories, and training complexes. 

Hypersonic Test and Evaluation at White Sands Missile Range

The FY22 NDAA includes authorization for $5,000,000 in funding to conduct additional hypersonic test and evaluation at White Sands Missile Range. This test and evaluation will be conducted in conjunction with New Mexico State University and will specifically focus on the ability to test interceptors for the defeat of hypersonic missiles using a rocket-based experimental approach for flight experiments for key high-speed technologies. 

New Test Support Facility at White Sands Missile Range

Senator Heinrich helped secure authorization for $29 million in funding to accelerate construction of a Missile Assembly Support Facility on the grounds of White Sands Missile Range (WSMR). The facility will support one of the Army’s major modernization priorities, the ability to construct new and more accurate long-range munitions. This facility will provide a safe and secure environment for uniformed and civilian Army personnel to design and test the next generation of precise artillery. 

Defense Priorities and Programs 

Pilot Program to Incentivize Employee Ownership in Defense Contracting

Senator Heinrich helped secure language to create a DoD pilot program that gives companies that are 100% employed owned a competitive advantage when contracting with the DoD. This pilot program will also provide the Department with information to understand the potential use and benefits of allowing competitive advantages and whether these procedures create incentives for businesses to continue to work with the Department. 

Tactically Responsive Space Launch

Senator Heinrich supported the inclusion of a $50,000,000 authorization requiring the Secretary of the Air Force to continue developing the Tactically Responsive Space Launch program that will develop tactics, training, and procedures needed to ensure space launch mission assurance in a rapidly changing threat environment. 

Additional NDAA Provisions Supported, Sponsored By Senator Heinrich 

RECA Extension 

Senator Heinrich helped establish the sense of Congress statement that the United States Government should continue to extend the Radiation Compensation Exposure Act which is set to expire in July 2022. This act provides monetary compensation to individuals who contracted certain cancers and other serious diseases following their exposure to radiation released during atmospheric nuclear weapons testing during the Cold War or following exposure to radiation as a result of employment in the uranium industry during the Cold War. 

Afghanistan War Commission

Senator Heinrich sponsored the legislation to establish a multi-year independent Afghanistan War Commission to examine the war in Afghanistan, beginning just prior to the U.S. led invasion and covering the entire twenty years of the U.S. and NATO involvement in Afghanistan. The commission will review key strategic, diplomatic, and operational decisions across the entirety of the U.S. government and develop a series of reports with recommendations 

Unidentified Aerial Phenomena

Senator Heinrich sponsored the effort that would require the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Director of National Intelligence, to establish an office to carry out the mission currently performed by the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon (UAP) Task Force. The office would be mandated to provide comprehensive reporting, analysis, and sharing of information on UAP incidents with other agencies and allies and partners. Additionally, the office would be charged with developing an intelligence collection and analysis plan, and a science plan to determine the origin, characteristics, capabilities and objectives of UAPs and report their findings in a yearly unclassified report. 

Reauthorization of the Donations Acceptance Program (DAP)

Senator Heinrich supported a provision that mirrors his legislation to reauthorize the Donations Acceptance Program (DAP). The program enables U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) and the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) to explore, create and facilitate partnerships for improvements on port of entry infrastructures and technology, with the investment made by the local entities. U.S. Senators Jon Cornyn (R-Texas) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) are original sponsors of the standalone legislation. 

Senator Heinrich fought to include a reauthorization of the Donations Acceptance Program (DAP) in the 2020 end of year spending package to strengthen New Mexico’s ports of entry. Because of the DAP reauthorization, a donation from TPI Composites is allowing Santa Teresa to alter its infrastructure and allow newer and larger wind blades to enter the port. 

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) 

Remediation and Cleanup

Senator Heinrich championed efforts to secure authorization of $517 million to clean-up military communities impacted by PFAS contamination. Out of these funds, $175 million would be available to the Air Force to address the serious contamination issues found at both Cannon and Holloman Air Force Bases. 

Real Property Report

Senators Heinrich and Lujan championed an effort to put additional pressure on the Air Force to acquire property that has been contaminated by PFAS chemicals. The Air Force was originally granted authority within the FY20 NDAA to acquire contaminated property and provide relocation assistance to those who are affected. However, jobs, lives, and livelihoods of citizens and livestock still remain threatened. The Air Force will now be required to provide a report that gives a detailed description of any real property contaminated by their activities with PFAS, a description of any progress made to acquire and remediate property or provide relocation assistance, and an explanation if they have not acquired property or provided relocation assistance.