Pryor Facilitates Camp Robinson Land Exchange, Cuts Bureaucracy in Nanotechnology Reporting
Measures Adopted as Part of Defense Policy Legislation
Senator Mark Pryor today announced the Senate has passed his measures to expand training capabilities at Camp Robinson and cut redundant reporting requirements for nanotechnology research and development. The provisions are part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, which passed the Senate late Thursday evening.
Pryor said the legislation authorizes $679.8 billion in discretionary budget authority for defense programs next year and makes several improvements to support critical national security priorities. He commended efforts to provide fair compensation and first rate health care to active duty, the National Guard and Reserves, and their families in addition to ensuring our troops have the resources, training, technology and equipment to succeed in combat and stability operations. Additionally, Pryor applauded the Senate's commitment in this bill to strengthen counterinsurgency operations and counter nontraditional threats, such as terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. Additionally, several provisions in the bill will improve efficiencies and terminate troubled programs within the Department of Defense.
"This bill provides essential funding to keep our troops safe abroad and take care of them at home, and also gets rid of wasteful spending and pet projects," Pryor said. "From equipping our soldiers with the training and resources they need to succeed to improving health care and other services for military families, this legislation helps us fulfill our obligation to do right by our armed forces and their loved ones who have given so much to this country."
Facilitating a Camp Robinson Land Exchange
Pryor said his amendment to facilitate a 40.5-acre land exchange between the City of North Little Rock and Camp Robinson was accepted. The amendment waives a 1950 statute, which requires the Arkansas National Guard to relinquish land to the federal government if it is not needed for training. This waiver enables the Guard to gain land more conducive for training exercises in exchange for terrain it considers too rugged, inaccessible and unsecure. The City of Little Rock plans to use the land for economic development purposes.
In 2005, Pryor secured a similar waiver facilitating a 325-acre land exchange to allow Camp Robinson to construct an aviation support facility and maintain a clear flight path for landing. The provision saved taxpayers $6 million that would have otherwise been paid to a landowner to cover the cost of his land.
"This land exchange is a win-win situation for both the Arkansas National Guard and the City of Little Rock," Pryor said. "The Army National Guard will be able to expand its training capabilities and the City of Little Rock will be able to create new economic development opportunities. This relatively minor provision will have a tremendous impact for central Arkansas."
Streamlining Reporting Requirements on Nanotechnology Research
The Senate also accepted an amendment proposed by Pryor that would streamline reporting requirements by the Department of Defense (DoD) on its nanotechnology research and development programs. Currently, DoD submits a bi-annual report on its nanotechnology program to Congress in addition to reports submitted to the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office and the Office of Management and Budget. The Pryor amendment would eliminate the bi-annual report to Congress.
The National Nanotechnology Initiative's (NNI) proposed budget for FY10 is $1.64 billion, which brings the cumulative investment to nearly $12 billion since the inception of the NNI.
"We need to make aggressive investments in nanotechnology. This funding enhances our nation's competitiveness, technology, national security and will deliver revolutionary advances in every field," Pryor said. "Oversight of federal dollars is crucial, except when it's purely redundant and time-consuming. Then, it's bureaucracy. My amendment simply streamlines duplicative reporting requirements to ensure funds are spent appropriately."