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Langevin Backs Major Defense Bill Necessary to Support Troops, National Security

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Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), a senior Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, helped the committee pass legislation late Wednesday that included important measures he backed to provide our service members the resources they need to carry out their missions and support their families. The Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the annual blueprint for defense programs and funding levels, also contained portions authored by Langevin, who co-founded the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, to build on his efforts to strengthen protections of the nation's critical computer networks.

Langevin also applauded passage of provisions he advocated to prevent the Obama Administration's proposed cut in production of the peerless Virginia Class Submarines from two to one boat in FY 2014. He has urged his colleagues to recognize that a full complement of the boats, which have been built in Rhode Island ahead of schedule and under budget, are critical to our national security, particularly in the important Asia-Pacific region. Read more about steps taken to address this issue.

"While I will continue to work to address specific concerns as the process continues, it is critical to move forward with this bill, which will ensure our support for the men and women in uniform who are sacrificing every day on our behalf," said Langevin, the Ranking Member on the Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities. "I proudly support the 1.7 percent pay raise for our troops as well as provisions that continue benefits like bonuses and access to family housing.

"In addition, I was proud to work on the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee with Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) to increase resources for our Special Operations Forces, which are overseen by the subcommittee and will receive a boost for intelligence gathering and other activities. Their roles have continued to grow since theCongressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), a senior Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, helped the committee pass legislation late Wednesday that included important measures he backed to provide our service members the resources they need to carry out their missions and support their families. The Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the annual blueprint for defense programs and funding levels, also contained portions authored by Langevin, who co-founded the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, to build on his efforts to strengthen protections of the nation's critical computer networks.

Langevin also applauded passage of provisions he advocated to prevent the Obama Administration's proposed cut in production of the peerless Virginia Class Submarines from two to one boat in FY 2014. He has urged his colleagues to recognize that a full complement of the boats, which have been built in Rhode Island ahead of schedule and under budget, are critical to our national security, particularly in the important Asia-Pacific region. Read more about steps taken to address this issue.

"While I will continue to work to address specific concerns as the process continues, it is critical to move forward with this bill, which will ensure our support for the men and women in uniform who are sacrificing every day on our behalf," said Langevin, the Ranking Member on the Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities. "I proudly support the 1.7 percent pay raise for our troops as well as provisions that continue benefits like bonuses and access to family housing.

"In addition, I was proud to work on the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee with Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) to increase resources for our Special Operations Forces, which are overseen by the subcommittee and will receive a boost for intelligence gathering and other activities. Their roles have continued to grow since the mission that killed Osama bin Laden as we increasingly rely on them to carry out targeted attacks on the most dangerous terrorist cells. We must recognize that their activities are vital to the Pentagon's new national security strategy.

"Furthermore, I am pleased our subcommittee was able to make strides in addressing the shortage of highly-skilled workers in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields required by our government and emerging industries to ensure we have a strong military and a strong economy," said Langevin, referring to increased support for STEM initiatives, such as a National Research Council Review of the defense industry's scientific and technical needs.

Langevin-Authored Cybersecurity Measures

Recognizing the growing and varied threats our nation faces in cyberspace, Langevin included provisions to address shortcomings in critical infrastructure protections and in partnerships that safeguard key networks at the state and local levels. One measure encourages the Department of Defense (DOD) to work with international and domestic partners to defend our electric grid and other vital industries in conjunction with institutions nationally recognized as Cyber Centers of Excellence, including the University of Rhode Island. Partnering with the experts in higher education will have the added effect of improving training of our cyber workforce, which requires a rapid buildup, according to findings of a study commissioned by Langevin.

A second part of the bill requires DOD to define the roles and responsibilities that National Guard Units can undertake to assist states in dealing with cyber threats. This provision will benefit partnerships like the nationally recognized Rhode Island Cyber Disruption Team, which includes members of the Rhode Island National Guard. The group was launched last year by Langevin with the State Police and the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency to coordinate law enforcement, state agencies, colleges and businesses in efforts to prevent and respond to cyber attacks on vital sectors ranging from the power grid to health care facilities.

Concerns Remain

Following the committee's unanimous approval of the overall legislation, Langevin stressed that he would continue working to alter some disappointing segments of the bill before it reaches the President's desk. He expressed particular dismay at the fiscally irresponsible measures included by the majority, breaking the agreement reached in the Budget Control Act that resulted from last summer's debt debate. In total, the NDAA allocates $8 billion more than allowed under that agreement.

For example, Langevin fought to cut $369 million provided beyond the Obama Administration's request to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) for nuclear weapons activities. The Congressman pointed to testimony by NNSA Administrator Tom D'Agonstino stating his agency "can't spend that kind of money" and that NNSA can handle all of its responsibilities to maintain the country's weapons and do necessary assessments at the funding level recommended by the President.

"In this fiscally constrained environment, the amount of funding proposed for NNSA is irresponsible," said Langevin, who offered an amendment to change the funding level, which failed along party lines.

In addition, Langevin strongly objected to an amendment passed by Committee Republicans that would prevent gay and lesbian couples from getting married or hosting "marriage-like" ceremonies on military installations.

He also pledged support for an effort led by Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) to allay concerns about the scope of current executive powers in detaining individuals under the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). Langevin favors addition of language to the NDAA explicitly prohibiting military commissions and indefinite detention for individuals detained in the United States under AUMF and guaranteeing rights of due process and access to the federal court system. mission that killed Osama bin Laden as we increasingly rely on them to carry out targeted attacks on the most dangerous terrorist cells. We must recognize that their activities are vital to the Pentagon's new national security strategy.

"Furthermore, I am pleased our subcommittee was able to make strides in addressing the shortage of highly-skilled workers in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields required by our government and emerging industries to ensure we have a strong military and a strong economy," said Langevin, referring to increased support for STEM initiatives, such as a National Research Council Review of the defense industry's scientific and technical needs.

Langevin-Authored Cybersecurity Measures

Recognizing the growing and varied threats our nation faces in cyberspace, Langevin included provisions to address shortcomings in critical infrastructure protections and in partnerships that safeguard key networks at the state and local levels. One measure encourages the Department of Defense (DOD) to work with international and domestic partners to defend our electric grid and other vital industries in conjunction with institutions nationally recognized as Cyber Centers of Excellence, including the University of Rhode Island. Partnering with the experts in higher education will have the added effect of improving training of our cyber workforce, which requires a rapid buildup, according to findings of a study commissioned by Langevin.

A second part of the bill requires DOD to define the roles and responsibilities that National Guard Units can undertake to assist states in dealing with cyber threats. This provision will benefit partnerships like the nationally recognized Rhode Island Cyber Disruption Team, which includes members of the Rhode Island National Guard. The group was launched last year by Langevin with the State Police and the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency to coordinate law enforcement, state agencies, colleges and businesses in efforts to prevent and respond to cyber attacks on vital sectors ranging from the power grid to health care facilities.

Concerns Remain

Following the committee's unanimous approval of the overall legislation, Langevin stressed that he would continue working to alter some disappointing segments of the bill before it reaches the President's desk. He expressed particular dismay at the fiscally irresponsible measures included by the majority, breaking the agreement reached in the Budget Control Act that resulted from last summer's debt debate. In total, the NDAA allocates $8 billion more than allowed under that agreement.

For example, Langevin fought to cut $369 million provided beyond the Obama Administration's request to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) for nuclear weapons activities. The Congressman pointed to testimony by NNSA Administrator Tom D'Agonstino stating his agency "can't spend that kind of money" and that NNSA can handle all of its responsibilities to maintain the country's weapons and do necessary assessments at the funding level recommended by the President.

"In this fiscally constrained environment, the amount of funding proposed for NNSA is irresponsible," said Langevin, who offered an amendment to change the funding level, which failed along party lines.

In addition, Langevin strongly objected to an amendment passed by Committee Republicans that would prevent gay and lesbian couples from getting married or hosting "marriage-like" ceremonies on military installations.

He also pledged support for an effort led by Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) to allay concerns about the scope of current executive powers in detaining individuals under the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). Langevin favors addition of language to the NDAA explicitly prohibiting military commissions and indefinite detention for individuals detained in the United States under AUMF and guaranteeing rights of due process and access to the federal court system.


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