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National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. REYES. I want to thank our chairman from California and the ranking member for, again, leading the way in a bipartisan effort.

Although probably not a perfect bill, under the circumstances, with troops still deployed in war zones, I think a bipartisan agreement to this very important and critical legislation was reached. I especially want to thank my chairman, Chairman Bartlett, for working and continuing the tradition of working on a bipartisan basis. I am pleased that our portion of H.R. 4310 supports, I believe, all the high-priority acquisition programs in the President's budget.

Some examples are: it fully funds the Army's Ground Combat Vehicle program at about $640 million. It provides $5.8 billion for Army helicopters, UAVs and other aviation platforms and upgrades. It also provides $1.6 billion for 21 V 22 Ospreys, which are a critical component of supporting our troops and their operations in Afghanistan today.

It further provides $2.2 billion for upgrading the Army's tactical communications network. It increases funding for the Abrams tanks by $181 million. It also increases funding for Bradley fighting vehicles by $140 million. And more than anything, it protects our industrial base at this pivotal and critical time to ensure that we don't lose the expertise and the quality workforce that we have in this country and all their capabilities.

But I guess the most important legislative provision in H.R. 4310 is legislation requiring the Air Force to continue to operate the Global Hawk Block 30 unmanned aerial system, which just reached operational capability in August of 2011. This is important because testimony before our committee underscores what we have known all along and in the 4 years I was chairman of the Intelligence Committee, that we have to continue to emphasize ISR capability. This legislation, H.R. 4310, holds the Air Force to its plan from last year to continue to operate both the Global Hawk and U 2 systems through 2014. So I ask all Members to support this critical piece of legislation.


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