(Washington, DC) Senators Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), strongly supported the Senate Armed Services Committee’s approval on Thursday of its draft of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2013. Both are members of the committee, and Senator Lieberman chairs its AirLand Subcommittee.
“This bill supports the needs of our service members and their families, and authorizes funding for defense programs that have a positive economic impact across Connecticut,” Lieberman said. “I am very proud to have been a part of this process and to have helped support our state’s industries and men and women in uniform nationwide.”
"This measure means stronger strategic security for our nation and more jobs and economic growth for our state. This bill supports weapons and defense products made in Connecticut by Connecticut workers," Blumenthal said. "I will continue to be relentless and resourceful, to fight for Connecticut defense products so vital to our national defense. We can be proud that Connecticut makes weapons systems critical to intelligence, counterterrorism, undersea warfare, and other priorities rightly advocated by the President."
Support To Military Personnel And Their Families
- The bill authorizes a 1.7 percent across-the-board pay raise for all members of the uniformed services, consistent with the President’s request.
- The bill reauthorizes over 30 types of bonuses and special pay aimed at encouraging enlistment, reenlistment, and continued service by active-duty and reserve component military personnel.
- The bill rejects Defense Department proposals to establish enrollment fees for TRICARE, and to increase TRICARE deductibles.
- The bill includes a Lieberman amendment with Senator Collins (R-ME) requiring the military services ensure that wounded warriors receive the care they need in transition units.
- The bill includes a Blumenthal amendment requiring DOD to assign responsibility for the investigation of violations of crime victims’ rights in military judicial proceedings and requiring DOD to report to Congress on their failure to provide crime victims all their statutory rights.
- The bill includes a Blumenthal amendment strengthening protections on the extension of certain consumer credit for members of the armed forces, including a private right of action for violations of the Military Lending Act. The bill also includes a Blumenthal amendment that enables military personnel to retake DOD transition assistance programs at military installations and online after they separate from military service, a provision of S. 1060, the Honoring All Veterans Act.
Support For Key Connecticut Installations And Programs
- The bill restores $777.7 million in advance procurement funding to allow the Navy to procure two Virginia-class submarines in FY14, reversing the Defense Department’s decision reduce its submarine procurement for that year.
- The bill will authorize $6.9 billion in total funding for the continued development of the Joint Strike Fighter program, to include the acquisition of 29 JSF aircraft, powered by Pratt & Whitney engines. Specifically, the bill includes funding for 19 F-35As for the Air Force, six F-35Bs for the Marine Corps, and four Navy F-35Cs.
- The bill will authorize over $2.3 billion in funding to procure Sikorsky helicopters, to include 59 Black Hawks, 19 Seahawks and 18 Knighthawks.
- The bill will authorize $1.7 billion in development funds for the replacement of KC-46A tanker, an aircraft that will be powered by Pratt & Whitney engines and will recapitalize America’s fleet of aerial refueling tankers.
- As chairman of the Airland Subcommittee, Lieberman fought for additional funds to support the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) program. In addition to providing the $59.3 million that the Air Force requested, the bill authorizes an additional $12 million to restart the production line for the Pratt & Whitney JT-8D engines that will eventually power Joint STARS for decades into the future.
- The bill explicitly rejects the Administration’s request for additional rounds of military Base Realignment and Closures (BRAC) in FY13 and FY15. Since 2007, the Connecticut delegation has secured more than $80 million in new military construction at SUBASE New London, shoring up its infrastructure and adding value to secure its future.
- The bill includes strong provisions that prevent the Air Force from carrying out sweeping cuts to the Air National Guard and freezes Air National Guard force structure in place until an independent commission can assess the validity of the Air Force’s proposed cost savings.
- The bill includes $32 million for the Connecticut Army National Guard Camp Hartell facility.