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Defense appropriations bill includes proposals backing KC-46A development, increased oversight, and military family support programs

(Washington, DC) – On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced the 2014 Defense Appropriations bill which included multiple provisions supported by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).  Shaheen, a member of both the Senate Appropriations and Armed Services Committees, worked to include funding for a number of New Hampshire defense priorities, including the KC-46A aerial refueling tanker and Virginia-class nuclear attack submarines, as well as programs that provide care and support to servicemembers and their families.

“This bill supports our men and women in uniform with the training and equipment they need to accomplish their missions while also making important investments in the development of future capabilities.”  Shaheen said. “While budget cuts have imposed serious challenges for our military, the bipartisan work on this bill to support our military should serve as a model to tackle some of the larger issues we continue to face. Hopefully we can build off of our bipartisan work moving forward.”

The FY 2014 Defense Appropriations bill provides key funding for several New Hampshire priorities that Senator Shaheen also championed in the National Defense Authorization Act earlier this year, including:

-        KC-46 Tanker: The bill includes Shaheen’s requests for significant investments toward the continued development of the new KC-46A aerial refueling tanker.  The KC-46A tanker will replace the current fleet of 1950s era KC-135s and be based at Pease Air National Guard Base in New Hampshire.  Shaheen worked closely with the New Hampshire delegation over the past year and a half to highlight Pease’s unique advantages and the impressive record of the New Hampshire Air National Guard’s 157th Air Refueling Wing.

-        Virginia Class submarine procurement: The committee fully funded the Virginia-class submarine program, ensuring the construction of two new submarines in FY 2014.  Senator Shaheen has been a strong supporter of the Virginia class program throughout her career in the Senate.  In 2012, she worked with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) to add to the defense bill a second boat at the Navy’s request.

-        Deployment Cycle Support Program (DCSP): Shaheen worked to include funding for the Beyond Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, which provides federal funding for state programs that support National Guard and Reserve, including New Hampshire’s Deployment Cycle Support Program.  DCSP combines federal, state, and local resources to ensure deploying servicemembers and their families receive coordinated support throughout the deployment cycle.  Studies suggest that participants in DCSP are four times more likely to stay married, four times more likely to stay in the military, and five times less likely to be homeless.

-        Increased funding for DOD Inspectors General: The bill includes Shaheen’s request for additional resources for the Department of Defense Inspectors General (IG) to enhance their ability to fight waste, fraud and abuse.  DOD IG reviews resulted in savings of $3.6 billion in FY12, a return on investment of $10.81 for every dollar appropriated. As Chair of the Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, Shaheen included a similar increase in the Defense Authorization bill.  Earlier this week Shaheen co-sponsored bipartisan legislation to cut the delay in filling IG vacancies across the government.