WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on Defense, today announced full committee passage of the Fiscal Year 2019 Department of Defense Appropriations Act. The $675 billion funding measure allows for essential investments in our military and supports programs to protect national security interests. The committee approved the legislation by a vote of 30-1.
“This bill sustains U.S. force structure and improves military readiness. It also recommends investments in future technologies needed to defend our nation in an increasingly complex and competitive national security environment,” said Senator Shelby. “Our military must maintain its technological superiority and this bill does that through important investments in basic research, hypersonics, directed energy, missile defense, cybersecurity, and our test and evaluation infrastructure.”
Specifically, this measure contains funding for programs important to North Alabama, supporting the area’s continued growth, development, and ability to compete on a national stage.
“North Alabama remains the epicenter for aerospace and defense research and development,” continued Senator Shelby. “This measure further highlights the area’s strong national defense capabilities by providing essential funding for programs in and around Huntsville. I am proud that our state continues to lead in serving our armed forces, and I look forward to the full Senate’s consideration of this bipartisan measure.”
The legislation includes the following provisions impacting North Alabama:
- Army Research – $10.8 billion for investments in transformational technologies to address modern and future Army warfighting needs.
- Missile Defense – $10.5 billion for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), including $1.2 billion to support urgent MDA unfunded priorities and emergent threats. The measure included $191 million for Standard Missile Improvements, which are built in Decatur, and supports work done by MDA at Redstone Arsenal and many local companies.
- Directed Energy – $317 million in additional funding to further develop directed energy technology and transition these activities to both offensive and defensive capabilities.
- Hypersonics – $929 million in additional funding to support and accelerate offensive and defensive hypersonics research and prototyping efforts.
- Cyber – $356 million in additional funding to expand and accelerate cyber research across the Department of Defense, including $117 million for Army cybersecurity research efforts and $116 million in Missile Defense Agency cybersecurity enhancements. The bill encourages the enhanced use of cyber red teams to address cyber intrusions that threaten our weapons systems, an area of particular excellence for Huntsville.
- Space – $200 million for Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) development efforts to ensure assured access to space. United Launch Alliance (ULA), which builds rockets in Decatur, continues to be seen as the most reliable and capable space launch provider.
- Advanced Shipbuilding Capabilities – $15 million to establish North Alabama as a center for classified, high power large-scale electron beam welding. This technology is critical to new Navy Columbia-class submarines and many high-performance aerospace systems such as hypersonic reentry vehicles, scramjet missiles, and rocket and jet engine turbomachinery.
- Small Glide Munitions – An additional $15 million to integrate Small Glide Munitions onto on Unmanned Aerial Systems. This highly successful weapon is used by Special Operations Command and built in Huntsville.
Additional details on the legislation are provided here.