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Mr. BARTLETT. I rise in support of H.R. 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013. I have the privilege of serving as the chairman of the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee. Our jurisdiction includes approximately $65 billion of Department of Defense research, development, and procurement programs within the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and the Air Force.
I want to first thank the subcommittee's ranking member, Silvestre Reyes from Texas, and an incredible staff for their support in the hearing process and in completing the markup of this bill. Under the leadership of Chairman McKeon and Ranking Member Smith, the committee effort is truly bipartisan.
The committee's focus is to support the men and women of the Armed Forces and their families, providing the equipment they need and the support they so deserve. Our first priority is providing the equipment to support our military personnel serving in Afghanistan and other areas where they may be under threat of hostile actions.
Over $2 billion in the President's budget request is recommended to be authorized to address urgent operational needs for the warfighter, to include counter-improvised explosive device requirements. An additional $500 million is provided for the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account.
The committee bill sustains the Nation's heavy armored production base by maintaining minimum sustained production of upgrade modifications for Abrams tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, and Hercules recovery vehicles. The Army's budget request would result in a production break of 3 to 4 years for the upgrade of these heavy-armored vehicles, which would negatively impact many small businesses.
The committee believes maintaining a minimum sustained production is a better alternative for taxpayer dollars than closing production lines and then paying to reopen the production lines years later. Minimum sustained production would also retain the valuable workforce and supplier base that would otherwise be lost and provide upgraded vehicles to the Army Heavy Brigade Combat teams.
The committee bill would also retain the Air Force's Global Hawk Block 30 unmanned intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft to support the deployed warfighter rather than placing these aircraft in storage, as the Air Force plan would do.
In addition the committee bill would fund over 150 helicopters of varying types for the Army and approximately 70 fighter aircraft of varying types for the Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force.
Mr. Chairman, I want to thank Chairman MCKEON and Ranking Member SMITH for their support in providing an excellent bill to support the men and women of our armed forces.
I strongly urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this bill.
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