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Shelby announces critical funding for State in Defense Appropriations Bill

Consideration of 302(b) Allocations, Markup of the FY17 Energy & Water Development and FY17 MilCon-VA Appropriations Bills Thursday April 14 2016 10:45am

Friday U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on Defense, announced that the full committee has passed the Fiscal Year 2019 Department of Defense Appropriations Act.

Chairman Shelby said that the $675 billion funding measure allows for essential investments in our military and supports programs to protect national security interests.

“This bill sustains U.S. force structure and improves military readiness,” Sen. Shelby said. “It also recommends investments in future technologies needed to defend our nation in an increasingly complex and competitive national security environment,” said Senator Shelby. “Our military must maintain its technological superiority and this bill does that through important investments in basic research, hypersonics, directed energy, missile defense, cybersecurity, and our test and evaluation infrastructure.”

The measure contains funding for shipbuilding programs in South Alabama, supporting the area’s continued growth, development, and ability to compete on a national stage.

“It is vital to ensure that the capabilities of our naval fleet are the very best,” Shelby added. “Mobile’s shipbuilding industry plays a significant role in our nation’s ability to execute successful naval operations. I am proud that our state remains a leader in serving our Navy, and I look forward to the full Senate’s consideration of this bipartisan measure,” Shelby continued.”

The bill also contains funding that would impact programs in Anniston, supporting the area’s continued production of army vehicles.

“This measure further highlights Anniston’s strong national defense capabilities by providing essential funding for defense programs,” Shelby continued. “I am proud that Alabama remains a leader in serving our armed forces. I look forward to the full Senate’s consideration of this bipartisan measure.”

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The measure contains funding for programs important to North Alabama.

“North Alabama remains the epicenter for aerospace and defense research and development,” continued Senator Shelby. “This measure further highlights the area’s strong national defense capabilities by providing essential funding for programs in and around Huntsville. I am proud that our state continues to lead in serving our armed forces, and I look forward to the full Senate’s consideration of this bipartisan measure.”

The appropriations bill also funds programs of benefit to the Wiregrass region.

“As our nation adapts to growing instability around the world, it is critical that we provide our military with the funding necessary to best protect our nation,” Shelby said. “The missiles and helicopters produced in Troy, many of which are used at Fort Rucker, serve as essential tools to continue defending America. I am proud that our state plays a leading role in serving our armed forces, and I look forward to the full Senate’s consideration of this bipartisan measure.”

The legislation includes funding for:

One additional Littoral Combat Ship (LCS).

One additional Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) ship.

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An additional $850 million in Advance Procurement for LPD and LHA amphibious ships.

$230 million for Hydra rockets, which are built in Anniston and fired from Army and Marine Corps helicopters.

Funding for Army Vehicles which are overhauled and maintained at Anniston Army Depot (ANAD).

$2.5 billion to continue modernizing M1 Abrams tanks.

$392.6 million for Stryker vehicles; $459 million for Paladin Integrated Management artillery vehicles.

$18 million in additional funding for M88A2 Hercules Improved Recovery vehicles.

Army Research-$10.8 billion for investments in transformational technologies to address modern and future Army warfighting needs.

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$10.5 billion for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), including $1.2 billion to support urgent MDA unfunded priorities and emergent threats and $191 million for Standard Missile Improvements, which are built in Decatur, and supports work done by MDA at Redstone Arsenal and many local companies.

Directed Energy-$317 million in additional funding to further develop directed energy technology and transition these activities to both offensive and defensive capabilities.

Hypersonics – $929 million in additional funding to support and accelerate offensive and defensive hypersonics research and prototyping efforts.

Cyber – $356 million in additional funding to expand and accelerate cyber research across the Department of Defense, including $117 million for Army cybersecurity research efforts and $116 million in Missile Defense Agency cybersecurity enhancements.

The bill encourages the enhanced use of cyber red teams to address cyber intrusions that threaten our weapons systems, an area of particular excellence for Huntsville.

Space – $200 million for Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) development efforts to ensure assured access to space.

United Launch Alliance (ULA), which builds rockets in Decatur, continues to be seen as the most reliable and capable space launch provider.

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Advanced Shipbuilding Capabilities – $15 million to establish North Alabama as a center for classified, high power large-scale electron beam welding. This technology is critical to new Navy Columbia-class submarines and many high-performance aerospace systems such as hypersonic reentry vehicles, scramjet missiles, and rocket and jet engine turbomachinery.

Small Glide Munitions – An additional $15 million to integrate Small Glide Munitions onto on Unmanned Aerial Systems. This highly successful weapon is used by Special Operations Command and built in Huntsville.

An additional $75.4 million for Future Vertical Lift research, which will help accelerate development of helicopters flown at Fort Rucker $10 million to upgrade Navy MH-60 Seahawk helicopters.

$1.0 billion for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missiles.

$112 million for Long Range Anti-Ship Missiles (LRASMs). The measure also encourages the Navy to evaluate the capabilities and costs of a surface-launched LRASM.

$329 million for Joint Air-to-Ground Missiles (JAGMs); $541 million for Joint Air-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSMs), which recently made its debut in strikes on Syria in response to their use of chemical weapons; and $483.9 million for Hellfire missiles, which are made in Troy and used for training at Fort Rucker.

$254 million for Javelin missiles for the Army and Marine Corps.

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The committee approved the bipartisan legislation by a vote of 30 to 1. It now moves on to consideration by the full Senate.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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