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December 20, 2013

Sen. King Praises Passage of Defense Bill with Measures Important to Maine

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the support of U.S. Senator Angus King (I-ME), the Senate last night passed the Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by a vote of 84-15. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator King helped author the legislation which authorizes funding for the Department of Defense and national security programs under the Department of Energy. In addition to provisions that support members of the military and their families, provide for national defense, and combat sexual assault in the military, the bill also contains several policy and funding measures important to Maine’s defense-related industries.

“Ensuring that our military men and women are provided the tools, resources, and support they need to protect our country and safeguard our freedoms is one of Congress’s most important responsibilities. This bill meets that fundamental obligation through cost-efficient provisions that support our servicemen and women and their families, provides for our national defense and security, and advances groundbreaking reforms to the military justice system to combat sexual assault in the military,” Senator King said. “The legislation also includes measures that will benefit Maine’s economy and contribute to stable jobs for people in defense-related industries across the state. As a member of the Armed Services Committee, I am proud to have played a role in crafting the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, and I am pleased to see it receive such widespread and bipartisan support in the Senate this evening.”

The following NDAA provisions are of particular importance to Maine:

  • AUTHORIZATION OF ADDITIONAL FUNDING FOR DDG-51: Senator King worked closely with Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), the Chairman of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower, to secure language that provides statutory authority for a $100 million funding increase to help procure the fifth option DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer. In August, the Navy awarded Bath Iron Works a $2.8 billion multi-year procurement contract to build four DDG-51s with the option for a fifth ship if the necessary funding could be secured by congressional appropriators under sequestration.
  • SETTLEMENT OF A12 ISSUE: Senators King and Collins authored a provision enabling the Navy to accept the terms of a legal settlement with General Dynamics and Boeing under which General Dynamics will provide to the Navy the equivalent of $198 million in design, production, and delivery costs for components of the third Zumwalt-class destroyer to be built at Bath Iron Works.
  • NO NEW BRAC ROUND: Senator King, along with his colleagues on the committee, rejected the President’s call in his Fiscal Year 2014 budget request for additional base closures under the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. The last BRAC process occurred in 2005 when the Pentagon's recommendation to close the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard was ultimately overturned by the BRAC Commission, but their recommendation to close Brunswick Naval Air Station was accepted.
  • $25.3 million for construction projects at military facilities in Maine, including structural shop consolidation efforts at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
  • $5.95 billion in Navy funds for procurement of Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, components of which are built at Pratt & Whitney in North Berwick and General Dynamics' facility in Saco
  • $503 million in funding for research and development for the CH-53K marine helicopter, the rotor shaft for which is manufactured at Hunting Dearborn in Fryeburg
  • $56.6 million for procurement of the Common Remotely Operated Weapons System, or CROWS, portions of which are built in Biddeford, South Paris, and Arundel
  • $346 million for research and development of aerospace propulsion systems. The University of Maine conducts research on new propulsion and power technologies

The 2014 NDAA includes several provisions supported by Senator King that make historic reforms to the Uniform Code of Military Justice that will provide assistance to victims of sexual assault and help to establish a no-tolerance climate in the military for sexual assault or for retaliation against those who report it. Reforms include: (1) An automatic review of any sexual assault case by a civilian Service Secretary when a commander overturns the recommendation of a military legal advisor to prosecute that case; (2) requirement that, when a military legal advisor recommends and a commander agrees not to refer a sexual assault case to trial by court martial, that the next higher level commander review that decision; and (3) criminalizes retaliation against a victim who reports a sexual assault.

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