Sep 26 2006

CONFERENCE COMMITTEE APPROVAL OF DEFENSE FUNDING FOR NORTH ALABAMA

U.S. Senator Richard C. Shelby (R-AL), a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, today announced conference committee approval of the Department of Defense Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2007.  The legislation includes a number of projects for North Alabama.  The bill will soon be voted on in the House. The Senate will consider the bill following House approval, after which it will be sent to the President’s desk for his signature.

“The funding approved by the conference committee will support important defense-related programs in order to strengthen our national security,” said Senator Shelby.  “These programs are critical to the stability of our nation’s military infrastructure and readiness, and today’s approval demonstrates our commitment to ensuring the safety of our citizens and the strength of our military.  In total, this bill provides $436.6 billion for defense-related needs, including $70 billion for contingency operations related to the Global War on Terror (GWOT).”

MISSILE DEFENSE AGENCY (MDA) -- $9.371 billion

“The recent missile tests in North Korea were an all too loud reminder that missile defense is one of the most important operations our military provides,” said Senator Shelby.  “Although North Korea’s test was unsuccessful, it underscores the necessity for a robust missile defense program.”

The following projects are part of the $9.371 billion included for the MDA:

GROUND-BASED MIDCOURSE DEFENSE (GMD) -- $3.055 billion

“Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) is the first line of defense deployed to defend our homeland against ballistic missile attacks by rogue nations or terrorist organizations,” said Senator Shelby.  “There are many other countries out there who wish to do us harm and GMD is an effective way to stop them.” 

The bill provides an additional $200 million for test infrastructure, operations support, and additional interceptors for GMD.

KINETIC ENERGY INTERCEPTOR (KEI) -- $357.508 million

“The Kinetic Energy Interceptor is a vital component of the Ballistic Missile Defense System, which must be strong during this time of war,” said Senator Shelby.  “While the program was reduced by $48 million, I am confident KEI will continue development on schedule with a boost flight test still planned for 2008.”

MULTIPLE KILL VEHICLE (MKV) -- $144.975 million

“The MKV enhances the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system by providing as many opportunities as possible to destroy an incoming missile through the use of several kill vehicles launched from one booster,” said Senator Shelby.  “While we have not needed it yet, our strong missile defense system is one of our military’s most important functions in keeping the homeland secure.” 

JOINT COMMON MISSILE (JCM) -- $30 million

Designed as a next-generation, multipurpose replacement for the Hellfire, Longbow, and Maverick air-to-ground missiles currently used by the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps, the Joint Common Missile (JCM) was slated for termination by the Department of Defense in Presidential Budget Decision 753, issued in December 2004.  Senator Shelby was a leader in working to restore funding for the JCM in fiscal years 2006 and 2007 to ensure that the program remains viable.

“The Joint Common Missile is a critical program for keeping technological superiority in our missile arsenal,” said Senator Shelby.  “The JCM’s termination was ill conceived because it ignored the opinions of our top military leaders and would deprive our servicemembers of a new capability that cannot currently be replicated.  Restoring funding for this vital program is essential because it will bolster our warfighting potential and provide our servicemen and women with a new capability to ward off the unconventional threats of the 21st century.”

There are over 150 jobs associated with the program including manufacturing, government program management, and subcontractors throughout Alabama, and overtime will bring approximately $280,000,000 to the Troy area in the way of salary, wages, and other costs.

PATRIOT PAC-3 -- $489.067 million

“The PAC-3 procurement program was fully funded, allowing the military to procure 108 Patriot Advance Capability (PAC-3) missiles,” said Senator Shelby.  “This system will provide a critical force protection element on the battlefield.”

EVOLVED EXPENDABLE LAUNCH VEHICLE (EELV) -- $856.49 million

“The Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle is built at Boeing’s facility in Decatur and serves as the Air Force’s space lift modernization program,” said Senator Shelby.  “EELV improves our nation’s access to space by making space launch vehicles more affordable and reliable, and keeps many of Alabama’s workers on the job.” 

LIGHT UTILITY HELICOPTER (LUH) -- $167.177 million

“The primary mission for the Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) is to provide aerial transport for logistical and administrative support,” said Senator Shelby.  “The LUH is intended to replace Vietnam era UH-1H Huey and OH-58D Kiowa Warrior.  Our bill includes $167.177 million for the procurement of LUH, which is managed at Redstone Arsenal.” 

ARMED RECONNAISSANCE HELICOPTER (ARH) -- $101.818 million

“The Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH), which is managed at Redstone Arsenal, provides the military with a highly deployable, reconnaissance and security capability to replace the aging OH-58D Kiowa Warrior fleet,” said Senator Shelby. 

The bill includes funding for the procurement of 12 helicopters.

FUTURE COMBAT SYSTEM (FCS) -- $3.4 billion

“Future Combat Systems (FCS), the core building block of the U.S. Army’s Future Force, is a joint networked combat and combat-support system that provides our soldiers with greater situational awareness so they can see first, understand first, and act first,” said Senator Shelby.  “FCS is integral to equipping the warfighter with the most technologically advanced weapons system.”

In addition, this bill includes $324.23 million for the Non-Line-of-Sight Launch System (NLOS-LS) and $112.237 million for the Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon (NLOS-C) which are vital components to the Future Combat System.

UNMANNED SYSTEMS INITIATIVE -- $1.65 million

“The Unmanned Systems Initiative at the Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) will conduct research and development of unmanned systems to advance, evaluate, and rapidly mature technologies to meet urgent warfighter needs as well as the optimal tactics, techniques, and procedures to employ unmanned systems capabilities,” said Senator Shelby.  “Unmanned systems have immense potential to reduce engagement timelines while improving survivability in difficult urban terrain.  Acceleration of the transition and fielding of these robotic technologies and capabilities is a critical wartime effort.”

UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLES (UAVs)

“The DoD Appropriations bill included, for a second year, language that prohibits the transfer of research & development, acquisition, or program authority relating to tactical UAVs from the Army,” said Senator Shelby.  “The language ensures that the Army will retain responsibility for and operational control of the Extended Range Multi-Purpose (ERMP) UAV.  UAVs provide support for tactical ground combat operations for the Army, and it is important that the Army maintain control of tactical UAVs because they are vital for ground combatants.”  

UAV research and development is conducted at Redstone Arsenal, and the Army UAV Center of Excellence is located at Ft. Rucker.