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ICYMI: Shaheen Helps Advance Annual Defense Bill with Important Wins for New Hampshire

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, helped advance the fiscal year (FY) 2025 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), including key priorities that respond directly to issues facing Granite Staters. The bill received bipartisan support and was approved by the Committee in a bipartisan vote. It now heads to the full Senate floor for consideration.  

“New Hampshire plays an important role in support of our national defense and I’m proud to have secured provisions in this year’s annual defense bill that will help the Granite State address PFAS contamination, bolster support for our Shipyard and National Guard and prioritize job creation and workforce development,” said Senator Shaheen. “New Hampshire’s manufacturing sector plays an outsized role in supporting our national security, and this bill will promote continued investments that help Granite Staters and our economy thrive.” 

Summary of New Hampshire Priorities in FY25 Committee-Passed NDAA

Investing in Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and New England’s Shipbuilding Workforce: 
Senator Shaheen built on her long legacy of support for New England’s shipbuilding industry and workforce, including through authorizing funding and workforce development for Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The Committee-approved FY25 NDAA includes full authorization for the Shipbuilding Infrastructure Optimization Program (SIOP) projects at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, which will expand the Shipyard’s capacity to maintain America’s fast-attack submarine fleet. As a member of the Senate Appropriations and Armed Services Committees, Senator Shaheen helped secure this funding beginning in the fiscal year 2019 funding legislation, which she has continued in ensuing years.

In addition, the bill includes $1.13 billion in incremental funding for the Virginia-class submarines, which are repaired at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Senator Shaheen is a steadfast supporter of the Virginia-class program and is a fierce advocate for Shipyard priorities. Shaheen also helped secure $3.3 billion for Columbia-class submarine procurement and $6.2 billion in advanced procurement for the program.

Shaheen also secured a five-year exemption to the Integrated Lodging Program for employees of public shipyards. The Integrated Lodging Program places significant burdens on shipyards’ ability to recruit and retain employees, and this exemption will provide certainty for employees that the Department of the Navy will provide the quality of lodging necessary for the shipbuilding workforce to perform essential work in support of national security requirements. 
Finally, the bill includes Shaheen’s legislation to extend direct hire authority to the Navy Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair (SUPSHIP), which will give Navy the ability to fill these positions quickly and address workforce delays. Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and members of the New Hampshire submarine industrial base will directly benefit from this provision through more effective and efficient engagement with SUPSHIP.
Expanding Shaheen’s Historic PFAS Health Impact Study & Confronting Full Scope of Challenges Posed by ‘Forever Chemicals’:
Senator Shaheen included $5 million to continue and expand the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) PFAS health impact study that she established five years ago. Senator Shaheen leads efforts in Congress to uncover the potential health effects related to PFAS contamination. Because of her efforts, Pease is serving as a model site for the nationwide study.

The bill also includes Senator Shaheen’s provisions requiring the Department of Defense to evaluate sites to identify early action to slow or stop the migration of PFAS, provide alternative water supplies where drinking water is contaminated and share the interim assessment with local government and impacted communities. 

These provisions build on a decade of Shaheen’s historic work to hold the Department of Defense responsible for remediation of PFAS contamination at military bases and ensure transparency for affected communities. Additionally, as a lead negotiator of water provisions in the 2022 bipartisan infrastructure law, Shaheen secured record-level funding to upgrade drinking water and wastewater infrastructure and address PFAS contamination.
Supporting Jobs and the New Hampshire Defense Industry:
Senator Shaheen successfully included a requirement for the Army to prioritize U.S.-based manufacturers for critical components of its Night Vision Device-Next devices, a binocular night vision goggle system that helps our warfighters remain the best fighting force in the world. Shaheen’s provision will promote continued investment in New Hampshire’s night vision manufacturing industrial base and ensure our soldiers have the technology they need to maintain a decisive advantage on the battlefield. 
Shaheen also worked to include additional funding for the procurement of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. Shaheen is a steadfast supporter of the F-35 program, which enhances U.S. national security and invests in New Hampshire’s economy and role in supporting our national defense. New Hampshire has 58 first-tier suppliers for the program. Shaheen also helped secure additional funding to procure F-15EX fighter aircraft. 
Supporting the National Guard and Addressing Sexual Assault in the National Guard:
Shaheen built on her lonstanding efforts to ensure the New Hampshire National Guard retains its ability to carry out its mission. The FY25 Committee-passed NDAA includes Shaheen’s request to increase Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) end strength for the Air National Guard. The bill also includes an amendment authored by Shaheen that would prevent the National Guard Bureau from carrying out its harmful re-leveling initiative until reporting to Congress on the operational impacts. In May, the National Guard Bureau heeded Shaheen’s calls and granted New Hampshire an exemption to the re-leveling for one year. This new provision would codify that decision and require a report to Congress before implementation.

In addition, Shaheen secured $2.8 billion for the procurement of 15 KC-46A Pegasus refueling tankers, which are flown at Pease Air National Guard Base in New Hampshire. Earlier this year, Shaheen traveled to the Indo-Pacific region, where she highlighted the recent acquisition of the KC-46 refueling tanker by Japan’s Self-Defense Forces. Japan is the first international recipient of the KC-46 program, and the New Hampshire National Guard is leading the development of a training syllabus for Japan and other KC-46 foreign military sales partners.

As co-chair of the bipartisan U.S. Senate National Guard Caucus, Senator Shaheen has long advocated on behalf of National Guard members and highlighted the invaluable service they provide to New Hampshire and the nation. This year, Shaheen successfully fought for a number of provisions to secure increased accountability and transparency for investigations into sexual assault cases in the National Guard. The NDAA includes Shaheen’s provision to require the Defense Advisory Committee on Investigation, Prosecution and Defense of Sexual Assault in the Armed Forces (DAC-IPAD) to conduct a study on how the Committee’s historic 2021 reforms made to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) regarding sexual assault in the military can apply to the National Guard. The bill also includes Shaheen’s language to strengthen the Office of Complex Investigations (OCI), the National Guard Bureau’s administrative arm responsible for conducting reviews of allegations of sexual assault and misconduct. The FY25 Committee-passed NDAA also includes provisions to address sexual assault in the active duty Armed Forces, including a provision to extend the Defense Advisory Committee on Investigation, Prosecution and Defense of Sexual Assault in the Armed Forces for an additional five years and a provision to remove marriage as a defense to rape and sexual assault. 

Supporting Jobs and Small Businesses in New Hampshire:
Senator Shaheen added a provision expressing support for a five-year employee stock ownership (ESOP) pilot program in the FY22 NDAA. ESOP programs allow employees to own shares in the company and empower them within their roles and at the company. New Hampshire is a hub for manufacturing, and Granite State firms play a critical role in support of our national defense, where they have historically secured contracts through the Department of Defense.
Shaheen also helped secure a pilot program that would provide advance funding for the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs within DOD. SBIR and STTR offer competitive opportunities for small businesses to engage with the federal government and receive awards to develop innovative technologies. The Shaheen-supported provision would allow the SBIR program to dispense awards earlier in the fiscal year than is currently happening, providing more robust and long-term support for participating small businesses. 
Protecting Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Programs in New Hampshire:

The Committee-passed bill includes Senator Shaheen’s bipartisan legislation with Senator Capito, the Preserving JROTC Programs Act. This would reduce the statutory enrollment requirement for JROTC programs from 100 to 50 students to prevent programs from shuttering. In New Hampshire, there are five Air Force JROTC programs. Two of them are currently on probation and another two are at risk of being put on probation due to current enrollment requirements. Nationally, there are more than 270 Air Force JROTC programs that do not meet the enrollment requirement.