U.S. Representative Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), secured $189 million in defense priorities in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2012, which passed the House Armed Services Committee early Thursday morning. The following amendments by Representative Palazzo were approved by HASC: Restoring $150 million in cuts to LHA-7- a new amphibious assault ship - a key project for the gulf coast; providing $10 million for Army National Guard training facilities; providing $19.9 million for Ship Preliminary Design and Feasibility Studies; providing $10 million for Special Operations Forces Land Acquisition. He said the following:
"I am glad to be able to help ensure the long term viability of our shipbuilding industry and the thousands of craftsmen that build the ships. The House Armed Services Committee approved my amendment which restored $150 million in funding that would have otherwise been cut from LHA-7. The committee's decision to fund LHA-7 at appropriate levels makes certain that Ingalls will be able to deliver the finished ship on schedule and at cost while keeping our shipbuilders at work. Moving forward, my office will work proactively with Ingalls shipbuilding and the Navy to secure final contracts in a timely manner."
Congressman Palazzo also led the charge for DDG 51 multiyear procurements, which has been shown to save 15 to 20 percent on the cost of building the Arleigh-Burke class destroyers. Congressman Palazzo's work drew recognition during the opening of the HASC markup by Seapower Subcommittee Chairman, Todd Akin (R-MO). "I particularly want to take a moment to thank the gentleman from Mississippi, Mr. Palazzo, for his untiring advocacy of this multiyear procurement," said Akin. Palazzo added, "Multiyear procurements are a more efficient way for the Navy to purchase ships. This is good for the Navy and for South Mississippi. It makes sense and it saves tax payer dollars. "
In addition, Congressman Palazzo authored an amendment passed by HASC that will provide $19.9 million for Ship Preliminary Design and Feasibility Studies. This money will be used for many of the initial design elements of surface ships, much of which will directly benefit South Mississippi shipbuilding.
Congressman Palazzo authored two other amendments that were passed by HASC in the NDAA markup. He authored an amendment that provides $10 million for Army National Guard Construction and Land Acquisition Projects for training facilities. "As a current member of the Mississippi Army National Guard, I know firsthand the top quality of Army National Guard facilities. This funding will help maintain our National Guard's readiness to respond to the emerging threats we face today.
Palazzo was also able to secure $10 million in additional funding for Special Operations Forces Land Acquisition. These funds would be used to expand the warfare training missions of Naval Special Warfare. "Our Special Forces community conducts their missions professionally and efficiently. We witnessed their precision last week with the death of Osama bin Laden. They are critical to the "War on Terror' and in future conflicts. This funding will help expand Special Warfare training capabilities such as the Navy Seals and Special Boat 22 based at Stennis Space Center."