In the News

Speaker Mike Johnson steered key wins for Barksdale in defense spending

Greg Hilburn

Louisiana military bases scored key wins in the annual defense spending bill, including a $7 million appropriation for a medical facility at Barksdale Air Force Base that media reports said was added for Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson in his home district.

In all, Barksdale, Fort Johnson, Camp Beauregard, Camp Minden and Naval Air Station New Orleans secured $156 million in the National Defense Authorization Act passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden.

“As America is facing unprecedented threats across the globe, the National Defense Authorization Act will strengthen our national security against adversaries like China and Russia and support our servicemembers by providing them with the tools necessary to continue to be the most lethal and effective fighting force in the world,” Johnson said in a statement.

Republican U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy also praised the final version.

“When Louisiana and our military are strong, our country is strong," Cassidy said. "These investments in U.S. bases like Barksdale send a clear message to the world that the United States is always ready to defend itself and will never bow to our adversaries.”

The bill also includes a 5.2% raise for service members, the largest in 20 years.

“This year’s National Defense Authorization Act includes consequential investments for Louisiana and America," Kennedy said. "The funding will give our service members a much deserved pay raise, strengthen border security and keep China, Russia and Iran in check by bolstering U.S. military readiness.”

Here are the key funding wins for Louisiana: 

∎ $112 million for a weapons generation facility at Barksdale Air Force Base (AFB): This funding builds on the $165 million secured in the past two years for this project, which will enable Barksdale to become a nuclear weapons base. Currently, B-52s stationed at Barksdale must fly to North Dakota to be armed with nuclear weapons. Johnson said that presents national security and efficiency issues.

∎ $13.4 million for an athletic track and field at Fort Johnson.

∎ $7 million for a dormitory at Barksdale.

∎ $7 million for the medical facility at Barksdale.

∎ $6.4 million for the communications grid at Naval Air Station New Orleans.

∎ $3.7 million for a dormitory at Camp Minden.

∎ $2.4 million for the dormitory at Camp Beauregard.

∎ $2 million for the National Guard Readiness Center at Camp Beauregard.

∎ $2 million for a Child Development Center at Barksdale.
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