Bishop Secures Millions for Utah Defense Projects
House Approves Annual DOD Bill, Authorizations for Military Installations in Utah
May 17, 2007 -
Congressman Rob Bishop, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, announced that he has secured tens of millions of dollars in funding authorizations for military spending in Utah as part of HR 1585, the National Defense Authorization Act, which was passed today by the US House of Representatives.
The legislation, which authorizes $508 billion in budget authority for the Department of Defense (DOD), sets policies, programs and funding levels for the nation's military and also includes a list of priority projects in the Beehive State set to receive funding.
“This bill is for our troops, to give them the support and infrastructure they need to do their job of defending America,” Congressman Bishop said. The northern Utah lawmaker, whose district includes practically all of Utah’s military installations, continued, “I’m proud of our soldiers, and they deserve the best equipment, the highest level of support, and the most financial resources we can put together. I’m also proud to secure so much funding for defense projects in Utah. These programs demonstrate Utah is on the front lines and the cutting edge when it comes to our national defense and security. Our installations and personnel are second to none, and the money authorized for our state will be good, not just for our economy, but for our future security and preparedness.”
Below are details on some of the projects from the bill which Congressman Bishop requested and pushed, which will positively impact Utah’s military installations and defense sector:
- $5 million in Army Military Construction dollars for Phase One of Family Housing Replacement project at Dugway Proving Grounds. This is the first-phase of a $25 million project. Phase One will fund 32 housing units, and represents the start of a significant re-investment into the quality of life and infrastructure for Dugway. (pg. 505, line 764 of report).
- $10 million for Supersonic Cruise Missile engine qualification and testing. (pg. 195, line 41, of report).
- $ 2 Million for Science, Engineering, and Laboratory Data (SELDI) program. Will directly help Ogden ALC with data collection and information technology which will help reduce repair costs and duplications in the depot system. (pg. 125 of report).
- Tooele Army Depot; $3.4 million for the Resource Recovery and Recycle program. Will allow for construction of a recycling facility at Tooele to recycle conventional munitions and energetics; converting them to commercially-viable fertilizer products. Also will provide additional workload for Tooele employees. (pg. 151, line 41 of report).
- Commercial Technologies for Maintenance Activities (CTMA): This is an ongoing program in DoD which allows the maintenance depots (like Ogden ALC) to tap into these funds to purchase state-of-the art equipment, industrial processes, and training, for integration into their operations. This money has been a catalyst in the past for bringing Ogden ALC up to speed in cutting-edge areas. Not targeted specifically to any particular depot, but Ogden will certainly benefit. Total authorized was $16 million. (pg. 295 of report).
- C-17 Globemaster Aircraft: Committee authorized $2.4 billion in funding for an additional 10 aircraft in FY’08. (pg. 110 of report).
- Metals Affordability Initiative (MAI) $14 million was secured for this on-going government-industry partnership aimed at lowering cost for specialty metals (like beryllium) in defense systems. (pg. 215 of report).
- Public-Private Partnership Report – Congressman Bishop’s amendment was accepted which will require the DoD to compile a report on how to eliminate disparate criteria among different military bases with potential private sector partners at government depots. The goal is that the report will spur changes to standardize criteria and thereby facilitate such public-private partnering in the future. (Section 357 of H.R. 1585, see report at pg. 313).
- Working Capital Fund Changes - Mr. Bishop’s amendment was accepted which will revise DoD financial management regulations to allow depots to borrow higher amounts from the depot working capital fund, for “product improvements” when undertaking depot maintenance, allowing for incorporation of the latest technology; improving performance and lowering costs. (Section 322, see report at pg. 306).
- Surviving Spouses and Dependents of 100% Disabled Veterans: The chairman’s mark included language from Congressman Bishop which requires the DoD to ensure access to the defense commissary and exchange system, to the surviving spouses and dependents of a 100% disabled veteran, even if that disabled rating was issued by the VA posthumously. (Section 651 of H.R. 1585, see page 343 of report).
- Continuation of Orders for Utah National Guard Linguists: The chairman’s mark included language aimed at addressing the problem at the Utah National Guard with its linguist/intelligence personnel, who are running up against a 3-year time limit for being on active-duty order. Concern is that the limit will cause these personnel to separate from the guard, and that we’ll lose their specialized language experience. Section 416 requires the DoD to study the issue and to report back to Congress. (See pg. 320 of report).
Other items in the overall bill which will benefit Utah installations and personnel:
HILL AFB PROJECTS
-$8.4 million for Aircraft Power Systems Repair Facility
-$8.4 million for Hydraulic Flight Control Facility
-$3.2 million for Reserve Wing support facility
UTAH ARMY NATIONAL GUARD
-$12.1 million for new armory (“readiness reserve center”) in North Salt Lake
- F-22 and F-35 programs were fully funded per the President’s budget.
- Additional funding for Senior Scout (Utah Air National Guard) equipment.
- Provisions leveling the playing field for benefit of government depot workers in public-private “A-76” competitions.
- Sensible revisions to the proposed National Personnel System (NSPS) at the DoD, which help ensure appeal rights to government workers.
- Funds pay raises and bonus pay for active duty and reserve forces.
Items not taken care of:
- The Democrats cut ballistic missile defense programs by $800 million, even amid ongoing threats from North Korea and Iran.
- Aircraft replacement is too low. Defense procurement budgets must be more robust to allow for accelerated production of F-22 and F-35, and new tanker, in order to replace aging aircraft.