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Collins, King Hail Passage Of National Defense Authorization Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the strong support of U.S. Senators Angus King and Susan Collins, the Senate today passed the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorizes more than $3 billion for the U.S. Navy destroyer programs, including $2.66 billion for two Arleigh Burke-class DDG-51 destroyers, one of which will be built at Bath Iron Works, and $419 million for construction of the DDG-1000 Zumwalt-class destroyers, among many other provisions important to Maine.

As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator King worked to secure the authorizations for these critical defense programs and provisions important to Maine, while as a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, Senator Collins worked to fund them in the Fiscal Year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill that passed the House yesterday and is expected to pass the Senate in the coming days.

“This bill achieves one of the most fundamental purposes of the federal government: providing for the common defense. By authorizing funding for the Department of Defense, it allows us to fulfill our obligation to our men and women in uniform and their families, enhance our military force preparedness, and, among many other things, confront new and dangerous threats across the globe like ISIL,” said Senator King, who is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “I am particularly pleased that it fully authorizes funding for the DDG-51 and DDG-1000 class ships, which are vital to our Navy’s fleet and helps sustain jobs at Bath Iron Works, along with several other critical provisions that will directly benefit Maine. Maine’s contributions to our national defense are immense, and as we clearly see in this bill, our state will continue to play an important role in safeguarding our national security interests.”

“The National Defense Authorization Act, realized through a bipartisan and bicameral effort, illustrates the importance that Congress places on our nation’s shipbuilding programs, including Bath Iron Works, which support the Navy in meeting its essential national security commitments around the globe.” said Senator Collins, who is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.  “This 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.  Maine’s contributions to our national security stretch from Kittery to Limestone and affect workers in every one of Maine’s 16 counties.  This bill will not only strengthen our military, but also will benefit Maine’s economy and support good-paying jobs.”

Provisions of particular importance to Maine include:

• More than $3 billion for Navy destroyer programs, including $419 million for the construction of DDG-1000 Zumwalt-class destroyers, $2.67 billion for the procurement of two DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, one of which will be built at Bath as a part of the 5-ship multiyear procurement for Bath that was announced last year, and $134 million for DDG-51 advanced procurement.

• $32 million to construct a National Guard/Reserve Center Joint Force Headquarters in Augusta.

• $2.7 million for Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNSY) to be used for energy conservation projects. PNSY is a nationally recognized leader in energy efficiency and sustainability efforts, projects that Senator King saw firsthand while touring the shipyard last year.

• Requires the military to fund its depots’ facilities Capital Investment Program at the levels required by law. PNSY is one of the Navy’s depots that benefits from the funding provided by this program.

• $5.82 billion for procurement of 34 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. Components for the F-35 are built at Pratt & Whitney in North Berwick, General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems in Saco, Hunting Dearborn Inc. in Fryeburg, and Fairchild Semiconductor in South Portland.

• Rejects calls by the Administration for a new Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round.

• $1.6 billion for Navy facility maintenance and modernization, including projects at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery.

• $387.3 million for military engines that power F-15 and F-16 fighter aircraft. Twenty-five percent of the parts for these engines will be built at the Pratt & Whitney plant in Maine. The F100-PW-229 production line would have closed without new orders.

• $25.3 million for M2 .50 caliber machine gun modifications performed at General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems in Saco.

• $8.4 million for procurement of the Common Remotely Operated Weapons System (CROWS). Vingtech in Biddeford produce components for the CROWS.

• $25 million to support important Civil Air Patrol operations and maintenance nationwide. The Civil Air Patrol has nine stations in Maine.

• $573 million for research and development for the CH-53K helicopter. Hunting Dearborn in Fryeburg manufactures the rotor shaft for this helicopter.

• $75 million in Rapid Innovation Program funding to increase investment in small businesses and developing technologies that benefit DoD.

The bill also contains a bipartisan, bicameral package of public land provisions, including legislation introduced by Senator King last year that would authorize a multi-year study of the York River to determine whether it is suitable to be designated as a Wild and Scenic Partnership River. Senator King urged leaders of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee to include the bill in the larger lands package. Also included is legislation authored by Senator Collins to create a Commission to evaluate and plan the establishment of a National Women’s History Museum. Since 2003, Senator Collins has led the effort to establish such a museum. The Commission will make recommendations to Congress about the need for and location of a museum and will be paid for entirely with private funds, at no costs to taxpayers.

The 2015 NDAA authorizes funding for the Department of Defense as well as national security programs under the Department of Energy and is based substantially on two bills: 1) H.R. 4435, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015, which passed the House of Representatives on May 22nd by a vote of 325-98; and 2) S.2410, which was approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee – with the support of Senator King – on the same day by a vote of 25-1. The two bills were merged through a series of negotiations led by the leadership of the two committees.

The legislation provides for the pay and benefits earned by members of the military and their families, provides for national defense – including the authorization of funds for operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria – and reflects our national security policies and priorities as a nation. For additional information on the NDAA, click HERE.