U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

McConnell Secures Critical Resources for Kentucky Priorities in Defense Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced the U.S. Senate passed the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2024, which contains significant resources to support programs in Kentucky critical to our national defense.

Senator McConnell secured over $528 million in defense funding for Kentucky priorities and its servicemembers across the FY 2024 Defense and MilCon/VA (Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies) bills. As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator McConnell advocated on behalf of the Commonwealth in this year's government funding process. The measure passed both the Senate and the House and was signed into law by the President.

“The work of deterring America’s adversaries and the growing threats we face abroad begins with restoring hard power at home, in states like Kentucky. The Senate’s defense legislation is an important step toward rebuilding our defense industrial base and deepens Kentucky’s important role in our national security,” said Senator Mitch McConnell. “It invests in job-creating projects to develop cutting-edge tools and next-generation armor systems that give our servicemembers an edge on the battlefield. It harnesses the potential of our top universities, fostering technological innovation in areas critical to national defense at the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky. It also dedicates resources to longtime Kentucky priorities, like our ongoing mission to complete chemical weapon demolition activities at Blue Grass Army Depot. In many ways, the Senate’s legislation delivers on Kentuckians’ priorities, strengthens our economy, and solidifies my home state’s important role in our national defense.”  

Senator McConnell secured the following provisions that specifically benefit Kentucky and increase the Commonwealth’s role in America’s defense:

  • $66 million for the Army and Marine Corps to accelerate procurement of life-saving advanced camouflage systems manufactured in Stearns, KY
  • $20 million for the NSA to support its long-running Cybersecurity Workforce Development partnership with the University of Louisville·       $280 million for the Air Force’s continued development of advanced engine capabilities supported in Madisonville and Erlanger, KY
  • $10.5 million to provide a unique training facility to support Special Operations Forces in Kentucky
  •  $8 million for the Army to develop next-generation vehicle armor manufactured in Brandenburg, KY
  • $10 million for the Defense Innovation Unit OnRamp program to establish a defense-technology gateway in partnership with the University of Louisville
  •  $5 million for the Army to procure modernized drone technology sustained and supported in Somerset, KY
  • $20 million for the Army’s continued development of advanced materials and additive manufacturing in partnership with the University of Kentucky
  • $4 million for the Defense Health Agency to test an innovative technology developed in Covington, KY, allowing physicians to tailor prescription medications to patient’s unique genetic makeup
  • $20 million for the Army to develop specialized carbon composites for hypersonic weapons and low-cost synthetic graphite for domestic production of tactical vehicle batteries in Hitchins, KY

Additionally, the bill contains $1.09 billion for the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives Program to support completing the demilitarization mission and transition operations at Blue Grass Army Depot. It secures $305.7 million for the National Guard Counter Drug Program, which supports the Kentucky National Guard’s efforts to train and assist state and local law enforcement in combatting the illegal drug trade.

“These appropriations constitute a tremendous step forward for Kentucky’s surging defense industrial base and will grow Kentucky jobs.  Every Kentuckian should thank Leader McConnell for securing these commitments,” said President and CEO of the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers Frank Jemley III. “Home to vital military facilities, some of our country’s most elite military units, and a growing number of defense and aerospace companies, Kentucky is playing an increasingly important role in America’s national security because of what Leader McConnell has accomplished through these appropriations and other measures. From advanced materials, manufacturing, and technology for future warfighters, to ready now combat material, to cyber, drones, and advanced engine capabilities for our country’s frontline fighter jets, this funding will make America stronger and Kentucky’s economy stronger, and our state’s business community is grateful.”

“This legislation is a significant milestone in our effort to further integrate UofL into the national defense. With thanks to Senator McConnell’s efforts and long-standing support of UofL, this bill will strengthen our existing programs and enable UofL to expand our collaborations with the Defense Innovation Unit OnRamp Hubs and the National Security Agency Cybersecurity Program. By working hand-in-hand with our national defense partners, UofL will continue to foster a culture of innovation and excellence, ensuring that we remain at the forefront of research, education, and technological advancements in areas critical to our national defense. We are grateful for the Leader’s support that allows us to help address some of the greatest challenges facing our national defense,” said University of Louisville President Kim Schatzel.

“We extend our deep gratitude to Senator McConnell for his unwavering support of this vital project. His commitment to advancing innovation and manufacturing in Kentucky is commendable. This investment will further empower our collaborative efforts with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the Army to conduct impactful and consequential research that drives real-world solutions,” said University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto. “Together, we are poised to make significant strides in enhancing our nation's manufacturing capabilities. This partnership exemplifies the spirit of cooperation and collective action that defines this university and strengthens Kentucky’s position as a leader in innovation. We look forward to the impact this funding will have on our communities and beyond.”



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