Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012. The legislation included several provisions authored by Congressman Jon Runyan (NJ-3): Directing the Department of Defense (DoD) to establish goals for competition in contracting as it relates to contingency operations overseas; Pay parity for wage grade civilian employees at Joint Bases - a priority to the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JB MDL); and $49 million in military construction funding for a New Jersey National Guard Army Aviation Support Facility (AASF).
Agreeing by voice vote, yesterday the House of Representatives included Runyan's amendment on Department of Defense (DoD) wartime contracting. The amendment called for DoD to implement transparency and goals for competition when awarding contingency operations contracts and reflects proposals put forth by the Commission on Wartime Contracting (CWC). The CWC recommended that as contingency operations stabilize, the DoD should shift approaches regarding how contracts are granted. The CWC was created by Congress in the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act to study contracting for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The House Armed Services Committee adopted Congressman Runyan's provision regarding the issue of pay disparity, which affects DoD wage grade employees at all installations during Committee Mark-up for the National Defense Authorization Act. Before the 2005 Base Realignment and Consolidation (BRAC) decision, the current JB MDL operated as three separate bases, with then Fort Dix and McGuire Air Force Base on one locality pay and Lakehurst on another. Runyan's report language seeks to correct the wage grade pay discrepancies that have occurred since the installations were made into one joint base. An estimated 600 employees at JB MDL could be affected.
Congressman Runyan also secured $49 million for the New Jersey National Guard AASF. This authorized funding would provide critical new military construction funding for JB MDL. The complex will house the New Jersey Army National Guard aviation units, along with their aircraft, and personnel, and a consolidated place from which to conduct their mission. With the Mercer Airport and Picatinny Arsenal Army Aviation Support Facility now closed, the AASF will house the consolidation of New Jersey National Guard Army aviation activities into one central location at JB MDL.
"Supporting our nation's defense efforts and providing for those who serve on the front lines, is my highest priority and responsibility," said Runyan. "HR 1540 boosts military pay for servicemen and women, and makes essential investments in military equipment and weapons systems. It does so while enacting fiscal responsibility within the DoD as well. I am also gratified that the House chose to institute competition in the contracting process. That measure alone will ensure that American tax dollars will be spent more fairly and efficiently."
H.R. 1540 authorized $690 billion overall, including money for the following key programs that Congressman Runyan worked to secure, which would benefit Lockheed Moorestown. Runyan supported the FY12 Budget request levels for programs carried out by this facility including:
* $ 286.8M Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Research Development and Testing
* $1.082 B Littoral Combat Ship Procurement to procure four ships
* $960.02 M for the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) for Aegis
* $307 M for Aegis Ashore
* $227.4 M for Advanced Above Water Sensors for Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR)
* $227.6 M for Counterfire Radar in support of EQ-36/AN TPQ-36 Radar
* $273.7 M for the Space Fence Program
* $70.5 M for the Navy Energy Program for ENERGY Ocean Thermal Conversion (OTEC)
Other priorities for the Congressman, which will be awarded on a merit-based selection process, include the following funding programs:
* $3 M for Airborne Reconnaissance Systems for the Navy, which will improve communications for our warfighters by allowing more information to be managed more quickly and accurately
* $5 M for Enhanced Survivability and Lethality System (ESLS) Development will provide lighter-weight ballistic protection against Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) for military vehicles, while lowering overall vehicle weight
H.R. 1540 included additional elements that Congressman Runyan believed critical, such as honoring our nation's military servicemembers with an increase in pay of $1.6 % as well as prohibiting any funds to be used for housing, or transferring or releasing any Guantanamo detainees in the United States.
The legislation, which now moves to the Senate, funds the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration and the Department of Transportation Maritime Administration.