Final version of 2019 defense bill includes highest pay raise in nine years

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The final version of the 2019 defense bill has come out of Congress and includes $717 billion for national defense, including many direct impacts to the Hampton Roads military community.

"This legislation will strengthen our military’s readiness, provide our troops a pay raise, support effective implementation of the National Defense Strategy,  drive further innovation in emerging technologies to secure our military advantage, and continue to reform the Department of Defense," read a statement from the House and Senate Armed Services Committees.

The report represents a compromise between the House and Senate versions of the defense bill. It includes $40.8 billion earmarked for military aviation and $36.3 billion for shipbuilding.

The conference report fully funds a 2.6% pay raise for service members, which is the highest increase in nine years.

Navy specific, the budget supports the accelerated construction of the fourth Ford-class aircraft carrier, construction of two additional Littoral Combat Ships, and options to build two additional Virginia-class attack submarines in fiscal years 2022 and 2023.

It also supports the President's budget request for 77 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, which include variants for the Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force.

Click here to read the FY19 NDAA Conference Summary Report