(Washington, DC) — U.S. Reps. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Santa Clarita) and Bill Thomas (R-Bakersfield) hailed the passage of H.R. 1815, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006, legislation which included authorization for projects they requested for Edwards Air Force Base, the Naval Air Warfare Center -Weapons Division at China Lake, and at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin.
The $441.6 billion authorization bill sets the policies, programs and funding levels for the nation’s military and national defense needs. The legislation was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives with an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 390-39.
“As our nation enters its fifth year in the global war on terrorism, Edwards, China Lake, and Fort Irwin continue to ensure that our military receives the best training and weapons systems available in the world,” said McKeon. “These installations have contributed to a number of critical victories in Iraq and Afghanistan, and this additional funding will go a long way toward meeting future military needs. I am grateful that my colleagues recognized the necessity for this funding, and granted our requests for continued support.”
“The Pentagon’s BRAC recommendation confirmed what Buck and I have always known about the value of China Lake and Edwards,” said Thomas. “The bill passed by the House Wednesday brings additional much-needed funds to these two installations so the outstanding, innovative work being done there can continue.”
Summary of Local Projects included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006:
Edwards Air Force Base/Air Force Research Lab
Research and Development projects:
$2.3 million for Cluster Computing Initiative – This funding will provide PC-based computer clusters to replace larger high power computers at Edwards.
$6.5 million for Engineering Tool Improvement Program – This funding will help to upgrade and advance simulation and engineering tools (computer systems) at the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL).
$6 million for Upper Stage Engine Technology – continues important work on liquid oxygen/hydrogen simulation for upper stage engines; the U.S. has not developed a new liquid upper stage engine in 30 years.
$2 million for Solid Boost Propulsion Technology – restores a budget cut in solid boost funding.
$4 million for Advanced Vehicle Propulsion Technology – continues work to develop propulsion and power technologies for simulation tools.
Military construction projects:
$37 million for Phase I of the main base runway replacement
$59 million for replacing family housing
Research and development:
$9 million for Spike Missile Development and Production – This funding will allow continued development of a low-cost, light-weight guided missile system.
$5 million for Low-cost Terminal Imaging Seeker – This funding provides a guidance system for small rockets used on helicopters.
$6 million for Laser Radar- This project continues work on a program to add capabilities to the Tactical Tomahawk being developed at China Lake.
$3 million for Reduced Risk Ordnance – This funding helps to create safer munitions through a timing mechanism that will detonate should a bomb not detonate on contact with the ground (reduced unexploded ordnance).
$19.1 million for the Advanced Sensors Laboratory
$710,000 for planning and design of a new Air Traffic Control Tower
$4.25 million for Dining Facility Expansion – This funding will increase dining facility seating capacity and increase the size of the kitchen.
Other projects of local interest
$350 million for the Joint Unmanned Combat Air System (J-UCAS) – J-UCAS provides Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR), Suppression and Destruction of Enemy Air Defenses, and Strike and Electronic Attack capabilities. These air vehicles will have higher levels of stealth than existing aircraft.
$20 million for B-2 Modernization – This funding will be used to replace inadequate system processors required to execute the B-2 Satellite Communication program and to enable other future upgrades.
The National Defense Authorization Act includes multiple provisions to improve the quality of life for men and women in the nation’s active, guard and reserve forces. The legislation includes:
· 3.1 percent increase in basic pay for members of the Armed Forces. This builds on the commitment to reduce the pay gap between military and private sector pay and would reduce the current gap from 5.1 percent to 4.6 percent.
· Increases in the maximum bonuses for first time enlistments and reenlistments, including a $10,000 increase for active duty enlistments, a $5,000 increase for reserve enlistments and a $30,000 increase for active duty re-enlistments.
· Making permanent several wartime-related pay and benefits that were temporarily established last year, including an increase in the death gratuity to $100,000.
· An increase, from $300 to $750 per month, in the amount of hardship pay.
· $474 million, an increase of $250 million, for up-armored Humvee programs to maintain optimal production rates and address emerging force protection threats.
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 also addresses the additional operating costs associated with the global war on terrorism by authorizing an additional $49.1 billion in supplemental funding.
The Senate is expected to pass legislation similar to H.R. 1815. At which point the House and Senate will meet in conference to reconcile the differences between the two bills.