Courtney Lauds Passage of Defense Authorization
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Joe Courtney and the U.S. House of Representatives today passed the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, by a vote of 350 to 69. The bill supports continued two-a-year production of Virginia Class Submarines, ongoing development of the Ohio Replacement Program (ORP) and denies a request for a new base closing round. Among its provisions, the bill fully invests in programs critical to Connecticut’s defense industry.
“This bipartisan bill makes a robust investment in the production and development of one of the most critical elements of our nation’s defense – our undersea capabilities and the industrial base that sustain them,” Courtney said. “Working on a bipartisan basis on the Seapower Subcommittee, I am proud to have worked to produce a bill that fully supports production of the Virginia Class Submarine and development of two programs vital to the future of our submarine force, the Ohio Replacement Program and the Virginia Payload Module. The bill passed today is a strong statement of support for the outstanding work of the men and women at Electric Boat, even at a time of fiscal constraint in Washington – and I look forward to its bipartisan passage in the Senate.”
Congressman Courtney spoke on the floor earlier today to urge bipartisan support for the defense authorization bill. Click here to view his remarks.
Submarine Procurement and Development
· Virginia Class Submarine. The bill supports Congressman Courtney’s continued efforts to secure strong bipartisan support for a two submarine build rate by authorizing $5.8 billion for two Virginia-class subs in 2014 ($3.4 billion) and advance procurement funding for two ships planned in 2015 ($2.4 billion).
· Ohio Class Replacement. Fully authorizes budget request for over $1 billion to continue development of the OHIO class ballistic missile submarine replacement.
· Virginia Payload Module. Fully authorizes budget request of $59 million for the continued development of the Virginia Payload Module, which would integrate strike payload capacity for Tomahawk Land Attack and follow on missiles in Block V submarines (FY19-23).
Aircraft and Helicopter Procurement and Development
- F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.The bill authorizes $8.2 billion for 29 F-35 joint strike fighters, including 19 for the Air Force, six for the Marine Corps and four for the Navy.
- KC-46 Tanker Replacement.The bill authorizes $1.6 billion for continued development of the KC-46A aerial refueling tanker.
Helicopter procurement and development
· $1.1 billion for 65 Sikorsky Black Hawk helicopters, $831 million for 19 MH-60R helicopters and $411 million for 18 MH-60s helicopters
· $334 million for the combat rescue helicopter (CRH). The Air Force plans to award the new Combat Rescue Helicopter in 2014, for which Siksorsky is competing.
· $503 million continued development of the CH-53K, a heavy lift helicopter being developed and tested by Sikorsky for the Marine Corps
· $94million for development of the VXX presidential helicopter. Sikorsky is expected to compete for this program later this year.
C-130 Upgrades. The authorizes additional funds above the budget request for key upgrades to older model C-130H aircraft, which are primarily found in our Air National Guard fleet. Upgrades includes improvements to avionics, cockpit controls, engines and other systems needed to keep these aircraft – the backbone of our tactical airlift capabilities – fully operational. The 103rd Airlift Wing of the Connecticut Air National Guard is transitioning to a C-130H mission later this year.
Shipbuilding. The bill authorizes $14.7 billion for eight new battle force ships, including two Virginia Class submarines, 4 Littoral Combat Ships, a DDG-51 destroyer and a Mobile Landing Platform (MLP), as well as continued construction of the CVN-78 Aircraft Carrier. Congressman Courtney is Vice Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee and co-chairman of the Congressional Shipbuilding Caucus.
Denies BRAC Request. The 2014 NDAA specifically rejects the request for a new BRAC round in 2015, and prohibits the Department of Defense from using funds to prepare for a new round.
TRICARE Fees. Rejects proposals in the budget request to increase certain TRICARE fees.
Military Pay Raise.Authorizes a 1% across the board military pay raise, as proposed in the 2014 budget request.
Addressing Military Sexual Assault. The 2014 NDAA contains over 30 provisions aimed at reducing sexual assault in the military, including reforms that strip commanders of their authority to dismiss a court martial funding, prohibit commanders from reducing sentences, establish minimum sentencing guidelines for sexual assault, and a number of other provisions aimed at supporting victims and holding perpetrators, and the military chain of command, accountable.