WASHINGTON –The Senate passed legislation Nov. 16 that includes a provision to study the viability of developing a chemical-biological defense logistics center at the Pine Bluff Arsenal.

U.S. Sen. John Boozman, (R-AR), introduced the provision included in the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, according to a news release.

The House of Representatives approved the NDAA conference report Nov. 14. It now heads to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.

The bill requires the Department of Defense to deliver a report by March 2018 on the need and requirements to centrally locate manufacturing, storage and distribution of designated chemical biological defense equipment at defense department arsenals, like the Pine Bluff facility.

“Arkansans have a proud history of defending and protecting our nation and troops and want to continue this commitment,” Boozman said. “Securing and maintaining missions for Arkansas military installations must be a priority. Pine Bluff Arsenal plays a critical role in maintaining the readiness of our troops. Studying the viability of expanding its mission will allow us to better prepare for tomorrow’s challenges.”

The bill also includes $129 million to modernize the C-130 Hercules fleet to continue the Air Force mission at the Little Rock Air Force Base and $20 million to build a dormitory there.

The NDAA also authorizes a 2.4 percent pay raise for troops; preserves basic allowance for housing (BAH) benefits for military families; preserves Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance (SSIA) payments to surviving military spouses; and supports the Arkansas defense industrial base by authorizing an additional $183.5 million to address an Army unfunded requirement to maximize production capacity of Excalibur 155mm precision guided artillery rounds.

“I am proud to support this bill that prioritizes modernization and military readiness so we can be prepared for today’s missions and the evolving threats facing our nation,” Boozman said.