Senate Approves Defense Appropriations Bill
U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today praised passage of the 2010 Defense Appropriations Bill, which provides funding for a number of important provisions for our military men and women and their families, the operations they are conducting overseas, as well as Georgia's military installations and Georgia-made weapon systems.
"This bill is critical to our continuing commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan and ensures that we maintain the most prepared and best-equipped fighting force in the world," said Chambliss. "I do not agree with everything in the bill. Particularly, this bill would prohibit the release, transfer, or detention of Guantanamo detainees in the United States, but provides an exception allowing for prosecution within the U.S. I have been opposed to this, and continue to oppose this. However, we have the best trained, most professional, most effective, and best led military in the world and they deserve our unfailing support. That is why I voted in favor of this bill."
"Georgia's military bases and defense systems manufacturers are critical to our national security and have played a key role in the global war on terrorism," Isakson said. "While I do not agree with everything in this bill, this funding is critical to ensuring that our men and women in uniform have the resources they need to protect our homeland and continue the fight for freedom around the world."
The bill provides $636.3 billion for the military, including $128.2 billion to support the military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, this does not include funding to support President Obama's recently announced troop increase in Afghanistan. Chambliss and Isakson look forward to working with their colleagues and the administration in the New Year to move as quickly as possible to provide General Stanley McChrystal and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry and their teams the resources they need to succeed as quickly as possible.
Additionally, the bill also makes funding available for communities that have been adversely impacted by the Department of Defense's decision to not grow the Army by an additional three brigades as previously announced. Communities and local businesses in Liberty County and Southeast Georgia invested over seventy five million dollars in response to appeals by the Department of Defense to prepare for an additional brigade at Ft Stewart. However, the Department of Defense later said that the brigade would not be coming.
"I am pleased that the bill includes funding and authority for the Department of Defense to make grants to alleviate some of these communities' expenditures," said Chambliss. "This will not be enough for Hinesville and the surrounding communities to recoup all of their losses, but it is a step in the right direction."
"Whenever we call upon local communities to provide the money, the infrastructure and the manpower to support an expansion of troops, it is important for us to live up to the responsibilities we have and see to it that to the maximum extent possible those communities are made whole," Isakson said.
The bill also allows the Department of Defense to conduct or participate in studies, research, design and other activities, to define and develop a future export version of the F-22.
"Several countries have expressed purchasing an exportable version of the F-22 - particularly Japan," said Chambliss. "Japan has been a close and reliable ally for decades. Representatives of the Japanese government have told me that, although the F-35 will be a great airplane, it will not meet Japan's needs the way that the F-22 will. If we have a reliable ally who wants the F-22 and is willing to pay for it, why would we not be willing to export it to them, especially when doing so helps preserve the U.S. industrial base? I am pleased that this language is included in the bill and look forward to working with the Department of Defense and the administration to explore this idea."
Additionally, the bill includes:
- A 3.4 percent, across-the-board pay raise for all military personnel
- $124.2 billion for regular military personnel accounts
- Targeted pay raises for a variety of enlisted personnel and officer grades
- $1 billion to recruit, retain, and support 15,000 additional soldiers in FY 10
- $242.3 billion to operate and maintain U.S. forces, materials, and facilities
- $30.5 billion for defense health care programs
- $472.4 million for Family Advocacy programs and full funding for Family Support and Yellow Ribbon to provide support to military families
- $46 million in R&D funds and $54 million for in procurement funds to re-engine Joint STARS aircraft
- $2.5 billion for 10 additional C-17s
- $905 million for five C/HC/MC-130Js and advance procurement for 20 C/HC/MC-130s
- $101.1 billion for operations and maintenance and military personnel requirements for ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to support preparations to continue withdrawal from Iraq
- $6.6 billion for the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund to train and equip Afghan Security Forces and assist the government in assuming greater responsibility for its nation's security
- $6.3 billion, $825 million above the request, for the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicle Fund to complete procurement of over 6,600 new MRAP all-terrain vehicles to protect our troops
- $1.2 billion for the Commanders Emergency Response Program
Additional Georgia-related projects included in the bill:
- Transplantation for Combat Wounded Repair - $2 million - Intended for Emory University
- Bioengineering for Enhanced Soldier Survivability - $2.5 million - Intended for Georgia Institute of Technology
- Advanced SAM Hardware Simulator Development - $4 million - Intended for Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia Tech Research Institute
- Advanced Lithium Battery Scale-Up and Manufacturing - $1.6 million - Intended for Excellatron Solid State, LLC, in Atlanta
- High Energy Li-Ion Technology for Aviation Batteries - $1.2 million - Intended for Saft America Inc. in Atlanta
- Combat Skills Marksmanship Trainer - $4 million - intended for Meggitt Training Systems in Suwanee
- AN/BLQ-1OA Wideband Signal Processor - $3 million - intended for Mercer Engineering Research Center in Warner Robins.
- Advanced Bonded Diamond for Optical Applications - $2 million - intended for the Valdosta Optics Lab
- Advanced Packing Materials for Combat Rations - $800,000 - intended for Printpack in Atlanta
- Automated Communications Support for the Warfighter - $1.5 million - intended for Nexidia in Atlanta
- Fort Benning National Incident Management system Compliant Installation Operations Center - $4,000,000 - intended for Intergraph at Fort Benning
- Advanced Carbon Hybrid Battery for Hybrid Electric Vehicles - $800,000 - intended for Exide Technologies in Alpharetta
- Blood Safety and Decontamination Technology - $2.4 million - intended for Emory, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, AFLAC Cancer Center, and Porex in Atlanta and Newnan
- Customized Nursing Programs for Fort Benning - $1.6 million - intended for Darton College
- Integrated Family of Test Equipment V6 Product Improvement Program - $2.4 million - intended for Southwest Research Institute in Warner Robins
- Nanophotonic Biosensor Detection of Bioagents and Pathogens - $1.5 million - intended for the University of Georgia
- Protein Hydrogel for Surgical Repair of Battlefield Injuries - $800,000 - intended for CyroLife in Kennesaw
- Morehouse College, John H. Hopps Defense Research Scholars Program - $2.4 million - intended for Morehouse College
- Conformal Ceramics for Enhanced Aviation Armor Systems - $2.5 million - intended for Verco Material in Atlanta