HAWAI‘I HOUSE DELEGATION STATEMENT ON DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION BILL

HAWAI‘I HOUSE DELEGATION STATEMENT ON DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION BILL

Includes $460 Million for Military Construction and Key Infrastructure Investment

WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 27, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Today, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and Congressman Mark Takai released the following statement about the Fiscal Year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) draft, which both members worked to include provisions critical to Hawai‘i.

“We have worked as a delegation to ensure that the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act will provide Hawaii with the necessary resources we need to upgrade our aging infrastructure, protect Hawaii’s environment, and bolster our economy,” said Congressman Mark Takai. “This year’s bill provides over $460 million in construction spending, a plan to make improvements to the Red Hill Fuel Facility, and provides improvements for public schools located on military installations.  There has been a lot of talk about the important role that Hawaii will play in the upcoming rebalance to the Pacific, but the NDAA shows that we are already beginning to shift the focus to the Asia-Pacific region and that Hawaii needs to start preparing now.  I will continue to work with members on the House Armed Services Committee to ensure that Hawaii receives this vital federal support.”

“This year’s National Defense Authorization bill contains nearly $500 million total investment for our military infrastructure in Hawai‘i, along with key provisions that directly support both the readiness of our troops based in our state, and Hawaii’s strategic role in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “As we take this bill up in the Armed Services Committee later this week, and eventually on the House floor, I will continue to work toward ensuring that Hawai’i is secure and protected from threats within the region, and that our national strategic military assets are maintained and supported.”

Gabbard and Takai are both Members of the House Armed Services Committee.

The full Committee is scheduled to mark up the NDAA on April 29, where Members will have the opportunity to further amend the bill before it comes before the full House.

Detailed provisions directly benefitting Hawai‘i are listed below:

Hawai‘i Military Construction – $469,750,000 — Military construction (MILCON) funding is used for continued upgrades to critical infrastructure and training assets in the state.  This will ensure that Hawai‘i is viewed as a pivotal location during our nation’s rebalance to the Asia-Pacific.

The FY16 NDAA authorizes funds for the following Hawai‘i projects:

  • $30,623,000 for power grid upgrades at Pacific Missile Range Facility
  • $228,689,000 for projects at Marine Corps Base Hawai‘i (MCBH), including airfield lighting modernization, housing, and support facilities.
  • $60,881,000 for projects at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam (JBPHH) including the F-22 Fighter Alert Facility, welding school shop consolidation, and others.
  • $107,563,000 for various projects at Schofield Barracks to construct a behavioral health and dental clinic facility (supports efficient medical and dental services)
  • $19,520,000 for energy conservation upgrades at Marine Corps Base Hawaii and Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam.
  • $22,384,000 for waterfront improvements at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam for the Navy’s Seal Delivery Vehicle Team 1.

Red Hill Underground Fuel Facility Infrastructure Plan — This provision would require an infrastructure plan to make improvements to the Red Hill Underground Fuel Facility moving forward.   The Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) is currently conducting an engineering assessment to determine the best available practicable technological (BAPT) solutions for the recapitalization of the storage tanks to ensure long-term integrity and environmental compliance.  This provision requires the Defense Logistics Agency to present a plan to proceed with efforts to recapitalize the Red Hill Underground Fuel Storage Facility as quickly as possible.

Barking Sands Technical Underwater Range Replacement — The bill provides an additional $15 million to begin designing a critical upgrade to the Barking Sands Tactical Underwater Range, the largest underwater instrumented range in the world. The current underwater range system is beyond its twenty year design life, this funding would help ensure the Pacific Missile Range Facility will continue to provide unparalleled training, readiness, and test and evaluation support for the United States military, in addition to providing marine mammal monitoring and research capabilities.

Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle Eradication — The coconut rhinoceros beetle is an invasive species that can cause millions of dollars of damage to property. The beetle was likely introduced to Guam via military shipments from Indonesia and the beetle has been introduced to Hawai‘i through military shipments from Guam.  This provision would require Secretary of Defense to report on a program to eradicate the coconut rhinoceros beetle.

Major Training Range Infrastructure Investment Study — A number of critical military training ranges exist in the PACOM AOR.  The Armed Forces have launched a number of efforts aimed at preserving military training ranges, while also minimizing environmental effects of training activities.  This section would direct Congress to study investments in infrastructure needed at major testing and range facilities, and present a plan moving to modernize ranges throughout the nation, including those in Hawai‘i.

Increased Investment in Small Shipyards —This provision would require the Secretary of Defense to prioritize investment in small shipyards, specifically those run by small businesses that are ancillary to public shipyards.

Public Schools on Military Installations —The Department of Defense, acting through the Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA), has provided grants to local educational agencies to construct, renovate, repair, or expand elementary and secondary public schools on military installations.  Many of these schools are in Hawai‘i, and are in need of dire investment to bring them up to standard.  This provision would ensure that schools that have already been allocated funding in the past are upgraded using existing funds, while reevaluating the schools in the lower tiers to gauge necessary reprioritization.

Strategy for the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region — The bill requires the President to provide an overall strategy for U.S. interests in the region, coordinate implementation of the strategy across the federal government, and provide a separate section in the President’s budget request that identifies the resources put to the Indo-Asia-Pacific strategy.