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Virginia set to benefit from new defense budget

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(The Center Square) — The latest defense budget passed Friday authorizes over $920 billion in spending and contains significant investments in Virginia.

The commonwealth has one of the biggest military populations in the U.S., and the defense industry comprises a large portion of its economy.

The bill funds many initiatives that improve the quality of life for military members and their families, but it also supports some military construction projects in Virginia.

The legislation directs over $800 million to military construction projects at various military facilities across the commonwealth.

The headquarters of the Defense Health Network East at Fort Belvoir is poised to receive the largest portion of that funding at $225 million.

Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall will receive $180 million for its barracks; nearly $152 million will go to the Naval Weapons Station at Yorktown for long weapons storage, its conventional boost-glide hypersonic weapons facility and the Conventional Prompt StrikeTest Facility.

The remaining over $240 million will go to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Norfolk Naval Shipyard, the Pentagon, Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Naval Air Station Oceana and a vehicle maintenance shop in Richmond.

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2025 includes a 4.5% pay raise for Virginia’s more than 150,000 servicemembers and a 19.5% raise for junior enlisted. While down from last year’s highest-in-20-years basic pay raise of 5.2%, the 4.5% raise remains at the higher end of military raises since at least 2007. Since then, military pay raises have averaged 2.6% yearly and only surpassed 3.9% in the last three years.

It also allocates taxpayer dollars for military spouse employment programs, military child care, improvements to some military housing and physical and mental health care, requiring monthly reporting to Congress on servicemember suicide rates, enabling TRICARE providers to provide tele-mental health services and creating more resources for those suffering from traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder.

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