MIL-OSI USA: House Votes to Pass Courtney-Backed Provisions in 2022 Defense Authorization Bill

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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Joe Courtney (2nd District of Connecticut)

WASHINGTON, DC – Tonight, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02), Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, voted to pass the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (H.R. 4350) in the House of Representatives. The House-passed NDAA supports servicemembers and their families, would protect and strengthen America’s global alliances, and includes historic support for shipbuilding and submarine construction and procurement—the most since the 1980’s. The bill received bipartisan support in the House of Representatives, and was passed today by a vote of 316-113

“At a time when America’s national security priorities continue to shift towards the maritime domain—a necessity underscored just recently by the historic new AUKUS alliance—our 2022 NDAA is exactly what’s needed to ensure we’re prepared to overcome tomorrow’s challenges,” said Rep. Courtney. “The decisions made in this bill are not random – it is the result of months of focused and bipartisan review of the budget and the needs of our nation. One of the most urgent needs facing Congress and the administration is the expansion of our Navy fleet to meet the looming challenges around the world. Shipbuilding is a long game that requires a stable and clear outlook – and this bill provides a strong starting point for fleet size deliberations moving forward.”

It’s no wonder then that this bill focuses so much on boosting our naval and maritime fleets and, in particular, our submarine capabilities,” Courtney added. “Building on a budget request that represented the largest combined investment in submarine procumbent and development in recent history, the NDAA goes even further by taking the initial and needed steps needed to expand submarine production. The expansion of the shipyard, the new submarines being built by our skilled workers, the increase in work up and down our eastern Connecticut supply chain—the NDAA is the foundation of that activity and will help keep it going strong.

“We’ve got more work ahead until our 2022 NDAA becomes final, and as Chairman of the Seapower Subcommittee I’ll continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle—and on both sides of the Capitol building—to send it to President Biden’s desk.”

Earlier this month, the House Armed Services Committee voted 57-2 to authorize the 2022 NDAA for final consideration. Click here to read more. 

Eastern Connecticut Priorities included in the 2022 NDAA

Submarines and Undersea Capabilities  The House-passed NDAA provides a total of $13.4 billion for submarine procurement, repair, research & development priorities including: 

  • Virginia-class Submarine – supports the sustained two-per-year build rate of new Virginia-class submarines in 2022 and beyond, continuing the Block V multi-year contract and reflecting Courtney’s bipartisan work to preserve the two a year build rate. The bill also authorizes $567 million to allow the Navy to support shipyard facility and industrial base improvements to enable future increases in Virginia class submarine production from two to three by 2025, a long-time priority of Chairman Courtney’s. 
  • Columbia-class Submarine – fully supports the second year of funding for the first Columbia class submarine and supports advanced procurement to support the second, in line with the contract announced in June 2020. The bill includes a Courtney-authored provision providing $200 million to continue efforts to improve the nationwide submarine supplier base.  Also included in the bill is a provision Courtney authored to expand the National Sea-Based Deterrence Fund (NSBDF) to extend continuing production authority to additional components of the new submarine, increasing production efficiency and reducing costs. Recent data from the Navy shows through the use of this authority has saved $1.4 billion in the Columbia program to the tune of over $100 million per boat.  
  • Research and Development of Future Submarine Capabilities– the bill includes $949 million in research and development of future submarine capabilities, including a $150 million increase for developing capabilities for the next block of submarines, and about $30 million to develop the SSN(X), the planned future follow-on to the Virginia-class. These efforts are vital to sustaining the health of the design and engineering workforce at Electric Boat.   
  • USS Hartford repair availability – the bill fully authorizes the budget request of $710 million to support the remainder of the maintenance availability for the USS Hartford in 2022. In June, the Navy awarded the “smart start” contract to Groton’s Electric Boat (EB) for initial maintenance work on the boat, one of the largest submarine maintenance availabilities ever executed by the yard. Click here to learn more. 

The bill also includes other Courtney-led provisions to augment undersea priorities such as: 

  • Academic Partnerships for Undersea Research – The bill authorizes $25 million to support partnerships with academic institutions conducting research on undersea capabilities, such as the National Institute for Undersea Vehicle Technology, a collaborative program between the University of Connecticut and the University of Rhode Island.   
  • Submarine Workforce Development – Authorizes $20 million to support training programs to help support expansion of the skilled submarine workforce as the industrial base ramps up construction of new submarines. Courtney has strongly supported workforce development efforts in the region to support hiring at Electric Boat and the supply chain through programs like the Eastern Connecticut Manufacturing Pipeline. 
  • Remote Acoustic Sensors – The bill included a Courtney-authored provision to allocate $20 million towards supporting operational testing of unmanned remote acoustic sensor systems, which will help the Navy evaluate existing off-the-shelf platforms like those developed by Groton’s ThayerMahan. 
     

Defense Impact Aid – Authorizes $50 million for the DOD supplemental impact aid program, which provides support to local school districts with high proportions of military children, including Groton public schools. This program is in addition to the primary Impact Aid program funded through the Department of Education, which does not fall within the jurisdiction of the House Armed Services Committee.

Putnam National Guard Readiness Center – Authorizes a new Connecticut National Guard Readiness Center in Putnam. The new Putnam Readiness Center would primarily support the CT Guard’s 643rd Military Police Company and its training, administrative, and logistical requirements. Currently, the unit is stationed at an armory in Westbrook, CT, which was built in 1955 and does not meet current anti-terrorism and force protections standards. Click here to read more.   

Seapower and Projection Forces

Shipbuilding – Courtney is the Chairman of the Seapower Subcommittee, which oversees U.S. Navy shipbuilding. Following his subcommittee’s bipartisan work to examine shipbuilding industrial capacity and Navy force structure requirements, the NDAA authorizes 13 battle force ships, four more than previous Administration’s FY21 NDAA, including:

  • Three DDG 51 Arleigh Burke destroyers, two more than the budget request following the subcommittee’s initial action to restore a second destroyer in 2022. The measure also includes multiyear procurement another for up to 15 destroyers in the next block contract, as well as advanced procurement for a third DDG in 2023.  
  • Two Virginia-class submarines;   
  • One guided missile Frigate (FFG);   
  • One LHA amphibious assault ship;  
  • Two John Lewis Class T-AO fleet oilers;   
  • One T-AGOS(X) surveillance ship; and   
  • One T-ATS towing, salvage, and rescue ships 
  • Two expeditionary fast transport ships (EPF)

The bill also adopted provisions from the Seapower Subcommittee to improve shipbuilding performance, including:

  • A provision that will help ensure ship designs are adequately mature at the start of construction. 
  • Another that requires the Navy to make sustainment a Key Performance Parameter (KPP) during the contract bidding process.  

Sealift & Maritime – The bill includes several Courtney-led provisions to prioritize the recapitalization and expansion of critical sealift capabilities:

  • John Lewis Class T-AO fleet Oilers – The bill fully authorizes the construction of two John Lewis Class T-AO fleet oilers, which will be operated by Military Sealift Command to provide critical services like underway replenishment of fuel to U.S. Navy and other vessels, allowing them to operate efficiently worldwide. 
  • Expeditionary Fast Transport Ships (EPF) – The FY 2022 NDAA authorizes the construction of two expeditionary fast transport ships (EPF) to be operated by Military Sealift Command, which support the rapid transit and deployment of equipment, supplies, and personnel 
  • Tanker Security Program (TSP) – The bill fully authorizes the budget request of $60 million for the new Tanker Security Program, created by the Seapower Subcommittee in the FY21 NDAA to address critical gaps in at-sea refueling and logistics.   
  • National Security Multi-Mission Vessel (NSMV) – The bill fully authorizes the fifth and final planned NSMV, a vessel first authorized by the Seapower Subcommittee to meet urgent mariner training needs at the nation’s state maritime academies. Courtney recently visited the Philly shipyard where these boats are under construction and saw first-hand the potential of domestic shipyards to support recapitalization of our sealift capacity through contracting flexibility already authorized by Congress. Click here to learn more.

Aircraft and Projection Forces Capabilities:

  • Tactical Airlift & C-130 Modernization – Maintains a five-year statutory floor that the Air Force is required to retain for tactical airlift aircraft like the C-130 to meet operational and strategic requirements, and authorizes propulsion and propeller upgrades of Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve C-130H airlift aircraft.  
  • KMAX – The bill $12.4 million to continue development of unmanned logistics capabilities with the CQ-24A helicopter manufactured by Bloomfield-based Kaman Aerospace.

Other Courtney Priorities and Notable Provisions

Additional Connecticut Aerospace Priorities:

  • F-35 Joint Strike Fighter – Supports procurement of 80 F-35 aircraft for the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps and reprioritizes F-35 program funding to support the services’ Unfunded Priority Lists that would accelerate and bolster F-35 maintenance activities and procurement of additional engine modules, built at Pratt & Whitney.    
  • Blackhawks – Supports the budget request for 48 UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, built at Sikorsky. 
  • CH53-K – Supports the budget request for 9 CH-53K heavy lift helicopters, built at Sikorsky. 

A pay raise for servicemembers – the bill authorizes a 2.7% pay increase for American military personnel

Afghanistan – The bill includes several provisions related to Afghanistan, including creation of a bipartisan commission to review the totality of the war and lessons learned. The bill requires that the Defense Department provide information and brief the committee on a wide range of concerns related to the withdrawal from Afghanistan and post-war counterterrorism strategy, reallocating of funds initially requested to support the non-defunct Afghan National Security Forces, and equipment abandoned by Afghan security forces. Finally, the bill includes provisions honoring the servicemen and women who put themselves in harm’s way to support the Kabul airlift operation – especially the thirteen who lost their lives. 

Military Justice – Incorporates many recommendations of the Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military to the Secretary of Defense, including removing the Commander from decisions related to the prosecution of special victim crimes and creating an Office of the Special Victim Prosecutor within in each Service and ensuring their independence by requiring they directly report to the Service Secretary.  

Buy America Requirements – the bill increases the required percentage of domestic content for acquisitions covered by the Buy American Act

More Support for our National Guard – the bill requires the military to provide Reserve and National Guard servicemembers incentive and special duty pays at the same rate as their active-duty counterparts 

Childcare for military families – the House-passed NDAA expands the in-home childcare pilot program, providing financial assistance for military families utilizing in-home child care 

More support for families with special needs – the bill establishes an Exceptional Family Member Program Advisory Council to better support military families who have members with special needs 

Enhanced Protection Against Harassment Over Debt – the bill prohibits debt collectors from using unfair or threatening practices in connection with the collection of debt from servicemembers and veterans 

Improving Mental Health Resources – the bill directs the Department of Defense to create a program to provide direct assistance for mental health appointment scheduling at military medical treatment facilities and clinics, with a reporting requirement to the Armed Services Committee 

 

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