U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, today rejected the Administration's request for another round of military base closures and made important investments in military readiness to mitigate the impacts of sequestration at the subcommittee's markup of this year's Defense Authorization legislation. The Readiness and Management Support Subcommittee is primarily responsible for military readiness including training, logistics, military construction, and maintenance.
In their consideration of annual defense spending in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014, the New Hampshire Senators opposed a proposed Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round, which diminishes the possibility that a BRAC round will be included in this year's final defense authorization. Shaheen and Ayotte opened the subcommittee hearing to the public as an effort to promote transparency in defense spending.
"We have a responsibility to make sure the men and women who serve our nation in uniform are fully prepared and ready to accomplish their missions," Shaheen said. "Sequestration is not the right way to protect our national security or our servicemen and women, and it has affected our military's readiness to meet today's challenges and threats.
"This bill cuts wasteful spending and reinvests into vital training and defense maintenance, including a critical project at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, while also preventing a potentially costly BRAC round," Shaheen added.
Senator Ayotte said: "Despite the serious challenges that sequestration presents to our nation's military readiness, I believe we have crafted a good bipartisan bill that prioritizes the critical readiness needs of our service members. I am pleased that this legislation supports the administration's request for an important military construction project at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard that will save money and enable the skilled workers there to continue to provide world class maintenance for our nation's attack submarine fleet."
The Readiness and Management Support Subcommittee portion of the NDAA cuts $1.7 billion in unneeded military construction and reinvests those funds in each of the Service's Operations and Maintenance (O&M) accounts to offset reductions imposed under sequestration.
The Readiness Subcommittee mark authorizes numerous military construction projects, including an important military construction project at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to consolidate structural workshops. This new facility will save time and money, and allow the skilled workers at Portsmouth to continue to provide the highest quality maintenance that is so critical to the readiness of our attack submarine fleet.
Instead of spending billions on base closures, the bill provides important investments, energy efficiency as well as contract management and oversight personnel. Specifically, the bill authorizes an additional funding for the Department of Defense (DoD) Inspectors General (IG). DoD IG reviews have given the U.S. taxpayer a return on investment of nearly eleven dollars for every dollar appropriated.
As leaders of the Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, Shaheen and Ayotte have worked closely in advocating for New Hampshire's military facilities, with a particularly strong commitment to the future strength of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and have each opposed new BRAC rounds. The subcommittee-approved defense authorization language will now move to the full Senate Armed Services Committee for consideration.