Though U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a Senior Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), welcomed the completion of the committee's markup of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2011 (FY11), he remains skeptical that the President's Defense Budget is adequate enough to meet the challenges for our national defense.
"I remain concerned over what I see as a continuing trend towards a reduction in our defense spending and our national security. Though this bill will help improve care and support provided to our military members, veterans and their families in Oklahoma and around the world, it still comes up short in terms of where I think we should be for national defense" Inhofe said. "It is now up to the Senate's leadership to pass this bill. I hope that this legislation does not get pushed off and delayed because of other legislative reform efforts."
Inhofe continued, "Americans need to be aware of the significance of this budget. I have made it a matter of principle to prevent the cuts to our defense budget and have argued for many years that the failure to maintain the defense budget at a minimum level of 4 percent of GDP continues to undercut our national security. The President and Democrats continue to underfund and under-equip our military by ending production of the C-17, continuing to terminate remaining portions of the Army's Future Combat System, to include the Non-Line of Sight Launch System and failing to provide funding for critical missile defense systems that can protect this country from an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). Additional cuts that limit research and development for systems such as a future strategic bomber and our nuclear arsenal; or delay programs or development of systems like the Paladin Integrated Management program or a new ground combat vehicle, are creating a significant deficit in our ability to defeat America's enemies. The recent round of commentary coming from the Secretary of Defense questioning the need for aircraft carriers, bombers, submarines and nuclear weapons leaves me to believe that this Administration continues to get it wrong."
Inhofe pointed to President Obama's proposed $300 million cut to the Afghanistan Commander's Emergency Relief Program (CERP), a critical tool for our tactical commander's in the field who are tasked to build up the infrastructure as a part of the counter -- insurgency strategy as another example of where the administration is undermining our military efforts.
Inhofe was happy to see that the Secretary of Defense continues to treat the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program as a critical component of our global engagement. The bill authorizes the funding of IMET training for all African continent officers and soldiers; an important part of assisting Africa with security and regional stability that Inhofe strongly support.
Beyond the funding issue, Inhofe said, "We need to take a hard look at the policies being considered. In particular, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" needs to remain in its current status until the Defense Department completes its comprehensive. I am very concerned that Congress will act prematurely before we have a solid understanding of the implications of changing a policy that does not need to be changed. I will continue to block any movement by the Administration or the majority in Congress to pursue any other course then the current one that has been in place since 1993."
Inhofe Defense Initiatives -- (Amendments/Language)
Acoustic Intelligence Preservation: Requires the Commander, Office of Naval Intelligence to submit a plan to Congress including: a report on the status of the ACINT archive and digitization efforts, recommendations for digitization and environmental disposal of analog tapes, and maintenance of the ACINT archive post-digitization.
Pre and Post Deployment Neurocognitive Assessments: Encourages the US Army to continue to employ pre-deployment neurocognitive assessments to establish a baseline, and re-initiate the use of post-deployment neurocognitive assessments as a means of comparing pre and post deployment psychological health of our military heroes.
Depot Maintenance and Recapitalization: Orders the Director of DLA to submit a report to the Congressional defense committees on the status of DLA's drawdown, retrograde, and reset program: including any parts backlog. Furthermore, this amendment instructs DLA to work with the materiel commands of the Services and the domestic manufacturing base to find employ a strategy to liquidate the backlog and create a more flexible process employing what technological means are available.
Domestically Produced Alternative Fuels or Technologies by Vehicles of the Department of Defense including Compressed Natural Gas (CNG): Requires the Secretary of Defense to submit a study to Congress evaluating the use of alternative fuels to include natural gas by the DoD in non-deployable vehicles, a description of the procurement of alternative fuels and alternative fueled vehicles by DoD, assessment of possible costs accrued by increasing CNG AFV usage, and factors which may increase the use of CNG where appropriate such as; regional availability, economic factors, infrastructure, and cooperation with OEMs.
Force Protect/Anti-terrorism Standards: Recognizes the importance of anti-terrorism and force protection (AT/FP) measures for Department of Defense installations and facilities. Main gates and entry control points (ECPs) are the first line of defense on a military installation to guard against intrusion and potential vehicle-borne terrorist attacks. Admonishes the Department of Defense to fully fund (AT/FP) in the FY12 budget request.
Ground Based Missile Defense: Directs the Secretary of Defense to select an entity outside the Department of Defense (such as the Institute for Defense Analysis or RAND) to conduct an independent review of the GMD system. The terms of reference for this review are taken from a similar review that was required of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) under Sec. 232 of the FY 2010 National Defense Authorization Bill, but which the administration is late in submitting to Congress. Elements of this review include the force structure and inventory levels necessary for the GMD system, an evaluation of the plan to maintain and improve the GMD system over time, the plan to flight test the GMD system to ensure its reliability, and the plan to develop and test the two-stage GBI as a hedge.
Second Amendment Rights Protection: Prohibits the Secretary of Defense from issuing any requirement relating to, or collect or record any information relating to the otherwise lawful acquisition, possession, ownership, carrying, or other use of a privately owned firearm, privately-owned ammunition, or another privately-owned weapon by a member of the Armed Forces or civilian employee of DoD on property that is not owned or operated by DoD. This bill protects the second amendment rights of military members and DoD civilian employees by prohibiting the DoD from requiring the registration of privately owned firearms, ammunition, or other weapons beyond what is already required by state and federal law.
Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA): Requires Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to develop and submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a comprehensive strategy to provide logistic and intelligence support across the Ugandan and the Great Lakes region of Africa for viable multilateral efforts to mitigate and eliminate the threat to civilians and regional stability posed by the Lord's Resistance Army.
Gitmo: Prohibits transfer of Gitmo detainee to the US without a plan
Paladin Integrated Module (PIM) Program: Directs the Secretary of the Army to reassess the PIM development and production schedules and report to the congressional defense committees, not later than 1 November 2010, plans to compress the overall timeline.
Solid Rocket Motors: States that it is the policy of the U.S. to: field all four phases of our planned missile defenses in Europe; ensure that the IIB missile will be capable against ICBMs launched from the Middle east; ensure there are no limitations on these plans resulting from ratification of New Start; and continue development of the two-stage GBI as a hedge.
Thompson Funding: Prohibits the use of Department of Defense funding for the modification of the detention facility in Thompson, Illinois to be used for the temporary or permanent housing of Gitmo detainees.
Oklahoma Defense Investments
$2 million for Advanced Ultrasonic Inspection of Helicopter Rotor Blades - (Veracity Technology Solutions in Midwest City, OK): Fields an advanced ultrasonic inspection system for aging helicopter rotor blades that provides the military with the ability to conduct comprehensive, digital inspections to improve safety, maintenance as well as save costs and improve aircraft readiness.
$5 million for Expanded Infrared Focal Plane Array Technology and Availability - (Amethyst Materials Laboratories in Ardmore, OK): Eliminates DoD dependency on a single foreign source for a key component of high performance IRFPAs and save taxpayers $100,000,000 over 10 years. This program will provide U.S. warfighters and sea-, air- and spaceborne platforms advanced technology to locate, track, and destroy enemy threats. This made-in-USA effort also will create domestic research and development jobs.
$7 million for FIDO Explosive Detector - (ICX Nomadics in Stillwater, OK): Provides funding for handheld and mounted detection equipment to detect and deter Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as individuals responsible for the manufacture of IEDs.
$5 million Impact Aid For Children with Severe Disabilities - (Department of Defense in all CONUS bases): Senator Inhofe joined 7 other Members in helping school districts with a large military presence have higher percentages of students with disabilities than do districts with non-federally connected students -- in part because military personnel who have children with disabilities often receive compassionate post assignments to these districts. This funding will ensure these school districts have strong special education programs.
$4 million for Improved Prosthetics Manufacturing - (OrthoCare Innovations in Oklahoma City, OK): Transitions prosthetic and other medical technology for amputees, initially developed for military use, for clinical use. Newly available technology will improve quality of life for veteran and civilian amputees.
$4 million for Information Security Research - (iSec -- University of Tulsa in Tulsa, OK): The Institute for Information Security (iSec) at The University of Tulsa (TU) is one of America's premier cyber security programs integrating education, training, research and outreach activities. iSec is the lead institution in the NSF and DoD Cyber Service (Cyber Corps) initiatives, which train students for security positions with the U.S. government and military. Funding provided under this request will provide iSec with financial resources for advanced instrumentation and research.
$2 million for Nanoscale Technologies for Batteries - (University of Tulsa in Tulsa, OK): Prototype battery systems have been developed; however, further research and development is needed to make a commercial battery, along with the plan for manufacturing. Nanoscale battery technology is critical for a myriad of defense and civilian applications including advanced artillery systems and green energy technologies.
$3 million for Rare Earth Alternatives for Permanent Magnet Motors - (Baldor Electric in Westville, OK): Identifies and develops domestically produced alternative materials, material technology, and manufacturing methods involving rare earth elements currently imported from China. Rare earth elements used in green technologies are no longer mined in the United States -- China accounts for 95 percent of the world's supply. The project seeks to provide DoD and eventually private industry with a domestic source.
$25 million for Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative - (REPI) (Land Legacy in Tulsa, OK): Senator Inhofe joined 12 other Members of the US Senate in address sing encroachment issues around military installations, specifically Ft. Sill. Funding allows REPI to develop partnerships between DoD, state and local government, and willing landowners to ensure the safety of the public, readiness of the military, and health of the environment.
$3 million for Secure Supply of Carbon Nanotubes - (South West Nano Technologies in Norman, OK): SouthWest NanoTechnologies (SWeNT) is working with the nation's largest supplier of nanotube solutions for micro-electronic applications, Brewer Science. This collaboration will enable SWeNT to provide micro-electronic grade nanotubes for US Defense applications, and to meet DOD's mandate to assure a U.S. supply source for these materials.
$4 million for Technology Development for Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems - ( University Multispectral Labs (UML), Oklahoma State University (OSU) in Ponca City/Stillwater/Fort Sill, OK): Establishes a National Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Test Facility adjacent to Fort Sill restricted airspace that provides USSOCOM greater access to test ranges for design, test, evaluation and fielding of next-generation UAS platforms.
Oklahoma Military Installations
- $3.3 million for a multipurpose machine gun range at Fort Sill, OK
- $3 million for igloo storage, depot level at McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in McAlester, OK
- $13.8 million for a general purpose storage facility at Fort Sill, OK
- $9.3 million Air Control Tower at Tinker AFB -- Midwest City, OK
- $14 million for building 3001 infrastructure at Tinker AFB -- Midwest City, OK