Defense and National Security

Defense and National Security

Senator Collins supports a strong national defense.  As a member Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Collins is in a key position in Congress, and has the important responsibility of overseeing and shaping national security issues of importance for both Maine and the United States.  Selected efforts and accomplishments include:

Shipbuilding: Senator Collins has consistently advocated for a highly capable and technologically advanced Navy Fleet that can meet the increasingly volatile and complex threats faced by our nation in the Asia-Pacific region, in the Middle East, and in the Mediterranean Sea.  This has included fighting for increased funding for Navy shipbuilding, including the DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class and the three DDG-1000 Zumwalt-class destroyers being built at Bath Iron Works.  

In 2011 and 2012, with Senator Collins’ strong support, the Navy awarded Bath Iron Works contracts valued at approximately $3.4 billion, ensuring stability for Maine’s largest private employer through 2015 and showing that the Navy’s recognizes the truth that “Bath built is best built”.

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard: As a result of Senator Collins’ efforts, the Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act requires the Navy to invest and upgrade the shipyard facilities at our nation’s public shipyards, including Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery. 

In addition, as a result of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report requested by Senator Collins, the Chief of Naval Operations agreed to provide $100 million for infrastructure modernization at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.  In March 2012, the Navy awarded two contracts, each for $38 million, to advance modernization efforts, the largest investment at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in recent years.

Maine Military Authority: Senator Collins has defended Maine Military Authority in Limestone from budget cuts and worked to protect jobs by advocating for increased contracting opportunities at MMA with the Army.  In 2010, she brought the Director of the National Guard Bureau to visit MMA, and in 2011, the Army allocated additional work to MMA following Senator Collins engagement with senior Army leadership including the Deputy Secretary of the Army.

Senator Collins authored an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act that requires each military service to review its non-tactical wheeled vehicles and equipment fleets to see if service life extensions, which could be performed at MMA, could produce cost savings for the Army while securing good jobs in Maine and around the country.

Bangor Air National Guard: Senator Collins has sought to improve both current and future opportunities for the 101st Air Refueling Wing based in Bangor.  She brought General Raymond Johns, Commander of the Air Mobility Command, to Bangor in November 2010 to highlight the capabilities at the base.  Despite large force structure cuts and aircraft movements to be conducted by the Air Force in 2013, no Air National Guard aircraft or personnel in Maine will be reduced. 

In the FY2012 National Defense Authorization Act and the FY2012 Defense Appropriations Bill, Senator Collins authored language directing the Air Force to consider operational costs, such as distance to refueling tracks, in its strategic basing process regarding placement of the next generation refueling tanker.  This will help ensure work for the 101st Air Refueling Wing because it is the closest unit to two of the busiest, operational refueling tracks used by the Air Force.  The FY12 NDAA supported by Senator Collins also included a requirement for the Air Force to formalize its process for allocating National Guard and Reserve man-days, giving more stability to National Guard and Reserve units activated in support of ongoing operations.

Maine Military Construction Projects: In Fiscal Year 2012, Senator Collins worked to ensure full funding for military construction projects in Maine, including $15.6 million for the Bangor Readiness Center, and $23 million for the Brunswick Armed Forces Reserve Center.

Keeping Weapons Out of the Hands of Terrorists and State Sponsors of Terrorism: Senator Collins has worked to help keep missing Libyan portable surface to air missiles out of terrorists’ hands by authoring and passing legislation that was unanimously adopted by the Senate in 2011.  The bipartisan provision charged the Administration to conduct an urgent intelligence assessment of the threat these missiles post to the American people and our allies. It also required the President to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to mitigate this threat.

Senator Collins called on the GAO to investigate the State Department’s enforcement of previously imposed sanctions on companies that did business with both the United States Government and Iran’s energy sector.  In 2010, Senator Collins, as Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, co-chaired a hearing entitled Iran Sanctions: Why Does the U.S. Government Do Business with Companies Doing Business in Iran?

In 2011, Senator Collins introduced legislation to close a loophole in the law to prevent sea-going classification societies from doing business with both the United States and nations designated as state sponsors of terrorism like Iran.

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