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e-News 6/30/17

e-News 6/30/17

  • Defense Appropriations Bill Helps New Jersey Support Our Military
  • The Appropriations Committee at Work
  • Another Frelinghuysen Telephone Town Hall Meeting
  • Salute: Congratulations to SGT Robert Dolloway

 

Defense Appropriations Bill Helps New Jersey Support Our Military

The Fiscal Year 2018 Defense Appropriations bill passed by the House Appropriations Committee today helps various New Jersey organizations support our Armed Forces and their missions.  Overall, the legislation funds the Intelligence Community and the Department of Defense – including operations, readiness and training activities, and health and quality-of-life programs for our troops and military families.

After years of unwise cuts to our national security, this legislation represents the next step forward in rebuilding our military and ensuring our nation is ready to meet any current or emerging threat. This bill will provide our forces with the resources they need to do their jobs and ensure the success of their missions.  As Chairman, I am pleased to support New Jersey’s historic role to improve the lethality, effectiveness and safety of our troops.

For example, the legislation provides over $130 million in funding to the Armaments Research Development Engineering Center (ARDEC) at Picatinny Arsenal in Morris County as a follow-up to a recent study conducted under the auspices of the Office of Secretary of Defense.

World events such as state aggression, terrorism, global weapons proliferation, and technological threat evolution have resulted in a gradual erosion of US Army superiority over potential peer adversaries. The OSD study identified specific areas of concern including loss of weapons range overmatch, effects of enemy countermeasures to GPS, and the proliferation of low-cost commercially available unmanned aerial systems.  This bill provides the funding to allow the experts at Picatinny to advance the capabilities of our Armed Forces as soon as possible.

For example, my Committee’s bill recommends for execution at Picatinny Arsenal:

  • $20 million for the Army’s Extended Range Cannon program
  • $20 million for the sensor fused munition
  • $15 million to improve laser weapons accuracy
  • $20 million for improved defense against small unmanned aerial systems
  • $15 million for weapons effectiveness in urban environments
  • $20 million for armament systems integration
  • $20 million for armament systems development

The funding is provided above the President’s budget request in order to accelerate technology development.

Notably, the bill also provides funding and direction to the Navy, Marines, Air Force and Special Forces to improve ammunition manufacturing and cost reduction, develop, demonstrate and deploy new technologies to increase weapons systems capabilities and procure advanced services and equipment to meet future lethality and range requirements set forth by the services.  The bill adds funding to a Navy program designed to protect surface ships from enemy torpedoes.   The measure boosts strategies and technologies to improve the efficiency of burn patient care in military treatment facilities.  The bill also supports research into the development of hybrid unmanned air/water systems that can be submerged while carrying payloads. Many New Jersey companies and academic institutions are doing this important work for the Department of Defense.

In addition to providing operations and maintenance monies for every New Jersey military installation, the bill also: 

  • provides $2.4 billion for another 15 KC-46 aircraft – the new airborne tanker that will be stationed at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst;
  • directs the Secretary of the Air Force to explore the use of granular activated carbon for the removal of perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) that impact water quality at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and other Air Force installations.
  • provides a $11.7 million increase for aircraft and vehicle purchases for the Civil Air Patrol, an organization that is very active in New Jersey;

New Jersey’s military and veterans families will be interested to know that our bill provides $282 million for cancer research, $125 million for traumatic brain injury and psychological health research, and $277 million for sexual assault prevention and response. Due to the critical nature of these programs, all of these funding levels represent increases above the President’s budget request.

Because of the importance of the National Guard and Reserves to New Jersey and all states, the bill provides $1 billion for the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account (NGREA) and an additional $100 million for Army National Guard HMMWV modernization, among its other provisions.

The bill directs the construction of two Virginia-class attack submarines and provides $776 million for the new Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine program, supporting a submarine defense industrial base in New Jersey.  Likewise, funding in the bill supports various national security space and satellite programs, to which several New Jersey firms contribute.

Earlier this month, the Appropriations Committee approved the Military Construction-Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill which included over $157 million to upgrade facilities at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in preparation for the arrival of the new KC-46 tanker after 2020.

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Overall, the FY 2018 Defense Appropriations bill provides $584.2 billion in discretionary funding – an increase of $68.1 billion above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $18.4 billion above the President’s Defense budget request. The bill also provides $73.9 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO)/Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) funding.  The OCO/GWOT funding will provide the needed resources for preparation and operations in the field to fight ongoing threats, including funding for personnel requirements, operational needs, the purchase of new aircraft to replace combat losses, combat vehicle safety modifications, additional Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) assets, and maintenance of facilities and equipment. It also provides critical support to our key allies, such as Israel, Ukraine and Jordan to resist aggression.

  • Additional funds are targeted to requirements identified by our military services, including higher troop levels, readiness efforts, infrastructure, and equipment recapitalization and modernization. This also includes additional training time, facilities and aircraft repairs, procurement of modernized equipment, and the research and development of new military capabilities.
  • The bill includes $1 billion above the President’s budget request for additional troop end strength, and fully funds a 2.4% pay raise for the military.
  • Funding in the bill also supports key readiness programs to prepare our troops for combat and peacetime missions, including flight time and battle training, equipment and facility maintenance, and base operations.
  • The bill contains funding above the President’s budget for the Defense Health Program to provide care for our troops, military families, and retirees.

Read the FY 2018 Defense Appropriations bill here.

The Appropriations Committee at Work

In addition to completing Committee consideration of the Defense and Legislative Branch Appropriations bills for the Fiscal Year that begins on October 1, the Appropriations Committee also completed Subcommittee work on the Financial Services/General Government, AgricultureCommerce/Justice/Science and Energy/Water Development bills. 

As of the end of this week, the Committee had moved seven of our 12 annual appropriations bills through with Subcommittee or the full Appropriations Committee, despite getting a very late start due to the late submission of the new President’s budget.

The State- Foreign Operations Subcommittee hosted U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley at an oversight hearing on Tuesday.  I questioned Ambassador Haley about current U.S. goals in Syria.

Watch the hearing here.

Another Frelinghuysen Telephone Town Hall Meeting

I had over 11,000 people on the line Tuesday as I conducted another Telephone Town Hall meeting.  While constituents raised such varied issues as veterans’ services, the future of Medicare, tax reform, the Department of Labor’s “Fiduciary Rule” and handicapped permits for automobiles, the future of Obamacare was the most common topic raised by residents in this live, unscripted Telephone Town Hall.

I reminded participants that Obamacare is failing and told “David from Whippany” that one of the major issues with here is we have rising premiums, we have rising deductibles, and there are less choices for many of the people I represent.  However, the legislative process is working. …the House passed a bill, we hope it will be improved by the Senate and we'll save the system.

Of course, I invited participants to engage on any issues they found important.

Veterans’ services were on the minds of “Vinny from Parsippany” and “Patricia from Wayne.”  “Harold from Wanaque” wanted to address tax reform and “David from Morris Plains” talked about “bipartisanship” which we clear need more of!

Tuesday’s Telephone Town Hall Meeting is the fifth such meeting of 2017.  There will be more!

Salute: Congratulations to SGT Robert Dolloway who recently accepted his diploma from Kinnelon High School, 29 years after he missed his Class of 1988 graduation ceremony as he was reporting for duty in the U.S. Army!  Thank you Robert for your service!

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