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Jun 06 2012

Final Defense Bill Includes Senator Collins' Provisions for Maine

Senate Armed Services Committee Releases Final Defense Bill That Includes Senator Collins' Provisions for Maine

WASHINGTON, D.C.--With the support of Senator Susan Collins, the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee approved the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization bill to authorize funding for the Department of Defense (DoD). The bill includes continued funding for shipbuilding at Bath Iron Works, submarine repair at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, operations at the Defense Financial Accounting Service (DFAS) office and Maine Military Authority in Limestone, operations of the 101st Air Refueling Wing in Bangor, and other important defense projects at Pratt & Whitney in North Berwick, General Dynamics in Saco, and several other Maine companies.

“This fiscally responsible legislation contains numerous provisions to ensure our service members have the resources they need to accomplish critical missions overseas in protection of our country and our freedoms,” said Senator Collins, a member of both the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.


The 2013 Defense Authorization bill includes many provisions important to national security.  Senator Collins led an effort among members of the Senate Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee to try and increase shipbuilding rates and authorize the construction of two more ships for the Navy’s fleet than was requested in the President’s budget request.  The bill included a provision requested by Senator Collins that provides multi-year procurement authority for up to ten DDG-51 destroyers, one more than the President’s budget request, which would ensure the workload at BIW through 2017.  The bill also authorizes advanced funding for a second Virginia-Class Submarine to be built in Fiscal Year 2014, which is one more than the President’s budget request.


Senator Collins supported several provisions to support our men and women in uniform.  The Committee adopted a provision authored by Senator Collins to increase accountability in the Warrior in Transition program to ensure wounded service members are provided with the care they have earned.  The Committee also adopted a provision she authored to ensure that the Pentagon exercises all available authorities to fill critical health care personnel shortage in order to provide high-quality care and treatment for wounded or injured service members.  In addition, Senator Collins advocated for provisions to help prevent or limit hearing loss to our service members and to expand behavioral health-care for Wounded Warriors.  Finally, the Committee adopted a provision proposed by Senator Collins to ensure that veteran advocacy groups have a seat at the table regarding any proposed changes to military retiree benefits.


Senator Collins was able to successfully authorize funding for the following defense programs:


• $3 billion for the Navy’s DDG-51 program and $669 million for the DDG-1000 program, both built at Bath Iron Works.


• $6.3 billion for Navy ship repairs, which includes the overhaul, refueling, and maintenance of nuclear-powered submarines at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

• $6.9 billion for procurement of 29 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft; components for the F-35 are built at Pratt & Whitney in North Berwick and at General Dynamics’ facility at Saco Defense.


• $606 million in funding for research and development for the CH-53K marine helicopter.  Hunting Dearborn in Fryeburg manufactures the rotor shaft for this helicopter.


• $412 million for depot maintenance at National Guard repair sites, including Maine Military Authority in Limestone.


• $232 million for research and development of aerospace propulsion systems.  The University of Maine conducts research on new propulsion and power technologies.


• $200 million in Rapid Innovation Program funding to increase investment in small businesses and developing technologies that benefit DoD.


• $56.7 million for procurement of the Common Remotely Operated Weapons System (CROWS).  Vingtech in Biddeford, Maine Machine Products in South Paris, and Arundel Machine in Arundel produce components for the CROWS.  In addition, the Senate Armed Services Committee, at Senator Collins’ urging, required the Defense Department to conduct a report on the future requirements for this important weapons system.


• $40 million for M2 .50 caliber machine gun modifications performed at Saco.  In addition, Senator Collins authored an amendment that requires the Army to outline a plan for future large caliber machine guns.


• The Armed Services Committee also included a provision, at Senator Collins’ request, that requires the Defense Department to report on how it could reduce overseas operations and relocate them to domestic locations, such as the Defense Finance and Accounting Service in Limestone.