Sep 27 2008

Shelby Announces Defense Funding for South Alabama

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, today announced Senate passage of important defense funding for south Alabama included in the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009.  Following today’s action by the Senate, this bill will go to the President for his signature.

“The funding approved by the Senate will support important defense-related programs that strengthen our national security,” said Shelby.  “These programs are critical to the stability of our nation’s military infrastructure and readiness and the Senate’s approval demonstrates our commitment to ensuring the safety of our citizens and the strength of our military.”

DDG 1000 Destroyer - $1.508 billion
The DDG 1000 is built by Northrop Grumman Ship Systems’ Ingalls Operations of Pascagoula, Miss., and employs over 1,000 Alabamians.  The conference committee agreed to split the funding level for the third DDG 1000.  Congress intends to allocate the remaining funds for a third ship in fiscal year 2010.

“The DDG 1000 destroyer is a replacement for the Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates and Spruance class destroyers,” said Shelby.  “The DDG 1000 will provide land attack support for ground forces as well as perform anti-air, anti-surface and undersea warfare.  As the Global War on Terror takes our servicemembers to various theaters of war, it is critical that they have the best technology available to protect themselves.”

LHA(R) – Amphibious Assault Ship - $178 million
This funding will be used to procure an amphibious assault ship.  The LHA is built by Northrop Grumman Ship Systems’ Ingalls Operations of Pascagoula, MS, and employs over 1,000 Alabamians.

“The Tarawa-class LHA provides the Marine Corps with a superb means of ship-to-shore movement by featuring expanded aviation capabilities,” said Shelby.  “The largest of all amphibious warfare ships, the LHA Replacement will have the ability to carry between 20 and 25 of the multi-service, multinational Joint Strike Fighters (JSF).”

Littoral Combat Ship - $1.02 billion
This $1.09 billion, which is $170 million over the President’s budget request, will be used to procure two Littoral Combat Ships (LCS).  One version of the LCS is produced by Austal Ltd. In Mobile, Alabama.

“The LCS represents an important capability for the Navy and will give our naval forces a new transformational system with the ability to network manned and unmanned air and sea assets from a single ship configuration up to participation in a Carrier Battle Group,” said Shelby.  “Additionally, the LCS provides the Navy the maneuvrability to operate anywhere.”

In addition to funding these important projects for south Alabama, the bill includes language pertaining to the tanker procurement process.  The language directs the Department of Defense (DoD) to consider “any practical option that would enable the replacement of the KC-135s expeditiously to include the possibility of awarding competitive contracts to more than one offeror.” 

“I am pleased to know the committee recognized the urgency of replacing our aging tanker fleet,” said Shelby.  “Additionally, the suggestion that DoD should consider more than one tanker offering strengthens Mobile’s chances of building a portion, if not all, of the next generation of the Air Force’s aerial refueling tanker fleet.”