Thursday, August 2, 2012
Reed Restores Funding for Second Submarine in Senate Defense Bill
Key Senate Panel Approves 2013 Defense Appropriations
WASHINGTON, DC - In an effort to maintain the readiness and strength of the Armed Forces and remain within budget constraints, the Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved a bipartisan $604.5 billion Defense Appropriations bill, which is consistent with the cuts directed by the Budget Control Act of 2011.
U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense stated: “I am pleased to have worked closely with Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) to move this defense budget proposal forward and outline smart investments in our national defense. This bill provides critical federal funding to help maintain a strong, flexible military while providing critical support for our troops and their families.”
The bill includes key provisions backed by Senator Reed for the Virginia-class submarine program.
Submarine manufacturing is a vital part of Rhode Island’s defense industry. Reed helped ensure the 2013 Defense Appropriations bill includes full funding for the continuation of two Virginia-class submarines. The bill adds more than $777 million in advanced procurement funding to enable the Navy to begin buying equipment for two submarines in 2014, preventing a cut in production that was proposed in the President’s Budget request, and allows the Navy to incrementally fund the construction of the submarines over the next several years. Locking in the two-per-year procurement rate for the Virginia-class submarine program is critical given the cost savings achieved, the efficiencies gained in the production schedule, and the projected shortfall in attack submarines in the next decade.
“Submarines’ unique capabilities for stealth, strike capacity, and their ability to deliver special forces personnel into difficult environments make them an extremely effective force multiplier and deterrent to our adversaries. And as our strategy focuses more on the Asia Pacific region, it is vital we have a robust submarine fleet,” said Reed. “This legislation provides full funding for the continuation of the Virginia-class submarine. The Virginia class submarine is a critical component of our national defense capabilities, and Rhode Island plays an important role in its construction.”
Reed also serves as the Chairman of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and led the effort to include these provisions in the National Defense Authorization bill.
The Defense Appropriations bill also provides funding to several research and development programs, including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Rapid Innovation Program to aid in technology transition across a broad spectrum of technologies, and the Defense Production Act to build production capacity for critical defense technologies.
To help Rhode Island companies compete, Senator Reed helped ensure the bill provides an additional $10 million for the Department of Defense's national Procurement Technical Assistance Program, which will help Rhode Island's small businesses with technical assistance to market their products and services to the federal government.
The bill now awaits consideration by the full Senate. Once it is approved by the Senate, differences between the Senate and House of Representatives bills will have to be resolved by a conference committee.