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United States : King-Backed Victories for Maine Included in Reconciled FY 2019 Defense Policy Bill.

U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, announced that the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which establishes Department of Defense policies and authorizes military spending for Fiscal Year 2019, was reported out of the conference committee with a number of provisions that he supported that will benefit Maine. Senator King served as a conferee for the legislation.

At a time when we are facing a number of serious threats across the globe, the conference committee has produced a bipartisan bill that makes smart investments in our national defense and once again funds a number of priorities important to Maine including shipbuilding and infrastructure improvements at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The continued inclusion of Maine-based projects reflects the importance of our state to the continued defense of the nation, said Senator King. While the legislation includes crucial priorities for national security and Maine jobs, it is not a perfect bill, and I have serious concerns that the final bill did not keep a Senate provision that would have reimposed strict Commerce Department penalties on Chinese telecommunications company ZTE for violating U.S. sanctions against Iran and North Korea but even with these concerns, the reconciled version takes a number of vital steps to ensure our national security, including prohibiting the federal government from doing business with ZTE, Huawei, and other Chinese telecommunications companies of concern. There is no doubt that when it comes to ongoing threats to national security, we have more work to do and at the end of the day, this bill will help our military better defend Americans from those who would seek to harm us.

Senator King secured several major victories that will directly benefit Maine when the legislation is signed by the President, including:

FUNDING FOR SHIPBUILDING PRIORITIES: The legislation authorizes $5.17 billion for the procurement of 3 DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers in fiscal year 2019 that Bath Iron Works can compete to build, and $642 million to fund future year DDG-51 procurements. It also includes $271 million for the continued production of DDG-1000 Zumwalt-class destroyers, all of which are being built in Bath.

INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS AT PORTSMOUTH NAVAL SHIPYARD: The legislation authorizes $122.7 million for infrastructure modernizations at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, which includes the development of a dry dock super flood basin, improvements to the portal crane rail, and the construction of a new consolidated warehouse.

FUNDING FOR ARMY WEAPON PRODUCTION: The bill authorizes $465.4 million for the Bradley Program (MOD), which procures M2 conversions and upgrades to the platform, as well as $22.3 million for continued production of crew served and multi-barrel weapons needed to ensure war readiness. The inclusion of this funding will help support General Dynamics' manufacturing facility in Saco.

CH-53K HELICOPTER: The bill authorizes $1.23 billion to procure eight CH-53K helicopters and fund advance procurement items for future aircraft. Hunting Dearborn in Fryeburg manufactures the rotor shaft for this helicopter.

FUNDING FOR IMPROVED TURBINE ENGINE PROGRAM: This legislation authorizes $192.6 million for the Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP), which accelerates the program and ensures it will receive strong funding in the future. Honeywell in Westbrook and Pratt and Whitney in North Berwick are both in the supply chain for ITEP.

Senator King also secured several additional victories, including:

REPEALING LONG-TERM TEMPORARY DUTY POLICY FOR GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, INCLUDING SHIPYARD WORKERS: Senator King supported a provision that repeals the Department of Defenses policy limiting per diem reimbursements for government employees conducting long-term temporary duty travel. This policy, which was implemented in 2014, threatens the ability of public naval shipyards, like Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, to effectively and efficiently conduct Navy ship maintenance, modernization and repair.

CLOSING JURISDICTIONAL GAP TO PROTECT JUVENILE VICTIMS OF ASSAULT ON MILITARY BASES: Senator King secured directive report language based on a bill he cosponsored with Senator John Cornyn (R-Tex.) that seeks to close jurisdictional loopholes that prevent juvenile perpetrators of criminal offenses against other children from facing prosecution. Historically, only one in seven juvenile sexual assault cases presented from military investigators are pursued by federal prosecutors, often due to lack of resources.

PROVIDING A PAY INCREASE FOR SERVICEMEMBERS: The legislation includes a 2.6 percent pay increase, supported by Senator King, for members of the military.

REFORMING SECURITY CLEARANCE PROCESSES: The legislation includes a number of provisions offered by Senator King aimed at reforming the process for granting security clearances and reducing the existing backlog. Senator King has pushed this issue in a number of committee hearings.

STRENGTHENING CYBER DETERRENCE: The legislation includes language that outlines a cyber deterrence policy, to include providing offensive cyber response options to address the full range of potential cyber-attacks carried out by our adversaries against the United States. Senator King has strongly advocated for a national cyber deterrence policy at Senate Armed Service Committee hearings.

DEVELOPING AN ARCTIC STRATEGY: Senator King supported a provision that requires the Secretary of Defense to submit an updated Arctic strategy to improve and enhance joint military operations in that increasingly important strategic region.

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Publication:Mena Report
Geographic Code:1U1ME
Date:Jul 25, 2018
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