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Portman Fights to Strengthen National Security While Protecting Taxpayer Dollars During Defense Budget Mark-up

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), and the Ranking Member on the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, fought for Ohio's military men and women while also balancing the need for a strong national defense plan that is fiscally responsible during the committee's mark-up of the Department of Defense (DoD) Authorization for 2013.

"With the many threats we face now and in the future, we must maintain a strong national defense and ensure that our military men and women who put their lives in harm's way have the resources to defend our freedom," said Portman. "At the same time, with Washington more than $15 trillion in debt, we need to make sure every dollar is spent wisely," Portman said.

"This entire budget, however, is predicated on Congress fixing the defense sequester. We must move quickly to fix this looming disaster for our national security," he added.

"While our funding from last year keeps production going into 2014, I am concerned about the incremental approach taken in this bill and the potential risk this approach could pose to the Lima facility. As currently drafted, this bill would require Congress to revisit this funding again next year," Portman said. "I remain committed to this very important issue. I will continue to work with the Army, the contractor, and my colleagues to ensure that production rates at Lima are achieved to sustain this facility through FY 2014 and beyond. Continuing minimum production will retain this national capability and be less expensive than mothballing JSMC as the Pentagon proposes."

The Senate Armed Services Committee National Defense Authorization Act for FY2013, adds $91 million dollars for the advanced procurement of long-lead materials that will be needed to continue Abrams upgrades into 2015. JSMC will be manufacturing upgraded Abrams tanks through mid-2014 under current Pentagon plans.

Portman successfully advocated for the following measures, which are included in the Armed Services Committee Authorization:

Additional funding for joint U.S.-Israeli cooperative missile defense programs and procurement of "Ir Dome" short-range rocket defense batteries.

Reauthorization of critical security cooperation authorities to help key partners in counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics operations as well as direction to the

Defense Department to holistically review its partnership building capabilities in relation to the latest Defense Strategic Guidance.

Provided Congressional support and direction to the DoD to coordinate with FAA and NASA to conduct joint research and find solutions to challenges associated with the integration of Unmanned Air Systems in the National Airspace.

Strongly endorsed the Committee's proposal for the establishment of a National Commission to evaluate and determine the best force structure of the Air Force.

Doing so will ensure critical aircraft, like the C-27J, KC-135 and C-130, are retained and not prematurely retired next year. This will allow an independent commission to recommend a structure for the Congress to consider and avoid irreversible cuts that could negatively affect operational readiness and long-term costs. The Commission must report its findings in time for next spring's Defense Authorization consideration.

Direction to the Defense Department to perform a thorough review of their specialized degree-granting programs in engineering, science and management to ensure institutions, like the Air Force Institute of Technology, are being utilized to their fullest potential in producing highly-educated military and civilian leaders who perform and manage the Department's technology program.

Guidance to the Defense Department to launch an integrated program to include partnerships with industry and academia to address the adverse effects corrosion has on military equipment and facilities, which cost the DoD over $20 billion annually.

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