Shaheen Announces Key NH Priorities in Committee-Approved Defense BillJuly 22, 2021
**Shaheen supports authorization of $350 million for multi-mission dry dock project at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard**
**Shaheen procures additional KC-46 Pegasus refueling tankers, the same aircraft operating out of Pease Air National Guard Base**
**Shaheen-Blumenthal-Gillibrand amendment would codify DOD PFAS Task Force, establish PFAS testing deadline at all DOD installations & direct DOD to submit a status report on PFAS remediation efforts at U.S. military installations with some of the highest detections across the country, including Pease**
**Shaheen successfully authorizes additional $15M for Pease health impact study she established in the 2018 defense bill**
**Bill extends paid parental leave for service members for up to 12 weeks following birth, adoption or placement in foster care**
**Shaheen-backed bill led by Senator Gillibrand would reform the U.S. military’s criminal justice system to address sexual assault in the military**
**Bill would provide a 2.7-percent pay raise for service members**
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement after securing and supporting numerous New Hampshire and national security priorities in the committee-approved National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year (FY) 2022. The annual legislation authorizes national defense objectives for the fiscal year.
The FY22 NDAA was passed by the Senate Armed Services Committee. It will next be considered by the full Senate.
Some of the New Hampshire and national defense priorities supported by Shaheen include:
- Authorization of 14 KC-46 Pegasus refueling tankers - aircraft that are replacing the Air Force’s aerial refueling fleet of KC-135s at the New Hampshire Air National Guard base at Pease, which is a main operating base;
- Authorization of $350 million for the Multi-Mission Dry Dock project at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard;
- Language supporting the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program, while also improving congressional oversight due to recent cost overruns by the Navy;
- Procurement of two Virginia-class submarines – which are maintained and repaired at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard — and authorization for $2.1 billion in advance procurement;
- Authorization of $130 million to increase submarine procurement, which will help expand the submarine industrial base in support of the Virginia and Columbia-class programs;
- Authorization of $4 million to continue funding the Department of Defense’s effort to develop an interstate licensing compact to support military spouses, which Senator Shaheen previously established in the FY20 NDAA;
- Authorization of an additional $15 million to continue the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) health impact study Senator Shaheen established in the 2018 NDAA;
- Paid parental leave for service members for up to 12 weeks following birth, adoption or placement in foster care;
- Major reforms to the Uniformed Code of Military Justice to professionalize prosecution of serious crimes, including sexual assault, and implement greater sexual assault prevention measures; and
- A 2.7-percent pay raise for service members.
“The annual defense bill always presents a crucial opportunity to make progress on key New Hampshire priorities and this year was no exception,” said Shaheen, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which writes the legislation. “I’m glad to share that the bipartisan bill cleared by the committee addresses a number of key concerns that respond directly to our needs in New Hampshire and across the nation, from addressing PFAS contamination to securing historic paid family leave for service members and their families and confronting sexual assault in the military. The legislation approved by the committee makes groundbreaking progress on some of the most pressing issues facing our country. I’m also pleased that it continues investments to bolster our state’s role in strengthening our national defense, including projects at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and in support of the KC-46 fleet, of which Pease is a main operating base. The fiscal year 2022 NDAA also addresses significant national security concerns, including my provisions to assist those impacted by direct energy attacks. I’ll continue to work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to advance this bill and bring it to the Senate floor as swiftly as possible.”
NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIORITIES SECURED OR SUPPORTED BY SHAHEEN IN THE FY 2022 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT INCLUDE:
Military Readiness Priorities for Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
Senator Shaheen supported the authorization of $350 million to continue the Multi-Mission Dry Dock project at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The Multi-Mission Dry Dock project will construct a superflood basin and extend portal crane rails for Dry Dock #1 at the Shipyard. The superflood basin, similar to a navigational lock, will enable Los Angeles-class and Virginia-class submarines to dock without the use of buoyancy assist tanks. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Shaheen helped secure this funding in the fiscal year 2019 funding legislation.
In this year’s NDAA, Shaheen worked to authorize the procurement of two new Virginia-class submarines—which are repaired and maintained at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard—as well as the authorization of $2.1 billion in advance procurement. Senator Shaheen has long been a steadfast supporter of the Virginia-class, and a fierce advocate for Shipyard priorities. Also, due in part to Senator Shaheen’s successful opposition, the defense bill does not include a new round of Base Realignment and Closing (BRAC), which could endanger national security and potentially damage New Hampshire’s economy by threatening jobs at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Strengthening the Submarine Industrial Base & Workforce Training
Senator Shaheen, co-chair of the Senate Navy Caucus, worked to include a $130 million increase in submarine supplier development which will help expand the submarine industrial base in support of the Virginia and Columbia-class programs – the former of which are maintained and repaired at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Investments at Pease Air National Guard Base
Senator Shaheen fought to procure 14 KC-46 Pegasus refueling tankers. Thanks to strong advocacy by Senator Shaheen and the New Hampshire National Guard, Pease was selected as the Air Force’s first Air National Guard KC-46 main operating base, an economic benefit to Pease and the surrounding community. The KC-46 replaces the Air Force’s 1950’s-era aerial refueling fleet of KC-135s and will serve as the backbone of American air operations for decades to come. Pease received its full complement of KC-46 tankers earlier this year.
Continued Investments to Combat and Address Exposure to PFAS
Senator Shaheen has spearheaded efforts in Congress to uncover the potential health effects related to PFAS contamination, respond to the chemical exposure and remediate polluted sites. Senator Shaheen was successful in including PFAS provisions in this year’s NDAA. She successfully fought for the authorization of an additional $15 million to continue the PFAS health impact study that she created in the 2018 NDAA. Shaheen successfully added her comprehensive PFAS amendment, with support from Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), which would codify a PFAS Task Force to address these toxic chemicals. The amendment would also require DOD to complete PFAS testing of PFAS contaminated sites within two years and direct DOD to develop a remediation schedule for contaminated sites – including Pease.
Support for Military Spouse Occupational Licensing
Senator Shaheen worked to authorize an additional $4 million in funding to support her bipartisan legislation with Senator Cotton (R-AR) that became law to improve the transferability of occupational licenses from state to state for military spouses, and also help alleviate the burden spouses endure if they’re small business owners having to constantly re-register their businesses.
Establishing Pilot Program to Incentivize Employee Ownership in Defense Contracting
Senator Shaheen successfully added a provision that would authorize a five-year pilot program incentivizing employee ownership in defense contracting. Employee stock ownership (ESOP) programs allow employees to own shares in the company and empower them within their role 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.
ADDITIONAL SHAHEEN DEFENSE PRIORITIES INCLUDED IN FY 2022 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT:
- Authorization of the Ukraine Security Initiative through December, 31, 2024 and authorization of up to $250 million to be used to provide security assistance to Ukraine;
- Provisions to investigate and respond to directed energy attacks and provide timely access to military medical facilities to impacted U.S. government employees and their families;
- Language that underscores the Senate’s support of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the alliance’s contribution to international security;
- Language to require U.S. Cybercommand to boost cooperation between the federal government and the private sector to coordinate action against malicious foreign cyber actors;
- Requirements for a pilot program on Shaheen's Women, Peace and Security Act implementation with partner countries;
- Language requiring DOD to submit a report to Congress on instances of maternal morality at military treatment facilities (MTFs);
- Creation of a Joint Aviation Safety Council to address aviation safety concerns; and
- Provision to establish a review of parental rights policies at military academies
Extension of Ukraine Security Initiative to Preserve Ukraine Sovereignty, Counter Russian Aggression
Senator Shaheen, also a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Ukraine Caucus, supported a provision in the NDAA that extends the Ukraine Security Initiative through December 31, 2024, and authorizes the use of up to $250 million in FY 2022 to provide security assistance to Ukraine. Senator Shaheen has been a tireless advocate for Ukraine sovereignty and its defense against an adversarial Russia.
Support for Americans Affected by Directed Energy Attacks
Shaheen included language in the defense legislation that would mandate greater congressional oversight on directed energy attack-related items by requiring quarterly reports to Congress on the ongoing investigation into causation, mitigation efforts and treatment of personnel. Shaheen’s provision also extensively speaks about the threat posed by these incidents, the importance of providing equitable and accessible care to victims, the need to develop and promulgate workforce guidance to protect Department of Defense personnel and their families, and urges the President to designate a senior official to lead the interagency response.
Additionally, Shaheen supported Senator Cotton (R-AK) and Senator Gillibrand’s (D-NY) successful effort to include bipartisan legislation, which Shaheen cosponsors, to ensure wounded officers and their families have immediate access to specialized facilities at Walter Reed.
Senator Shaheen has stood by government employees and their families who have suffered from these mysterious injuries, and leads efforts in Congress to provide them critical health benefits. In the FY2021 NDAA that became law, Shaheen successfully included language to expand a provision in law that she previously wrote to provide long-term, emergency care benefits to all U.S. Government employees and their dependents who were mysteriously injured while working in China and Cuba. Shaheen’s measure to amend the law followed her letter with Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) last May, calling on the administration to interpret the law as intended by Congress.
Underscoring Bipartisan Support for NATO
Senator Shaheen, co-chair of the Senate NATO Observer Group, supported the inclusion of a sense of the Senate resolution that affirms the chamber’s position in support of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the alliance’s contribution to international security. Shaheen re-established the bipartisan Senate NATO Observer Group with Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) in 2018 and currently serves as co-chair.
Strengthening Efforts to Combat Foreign Cyberattacks against the Federal Government and Private Sector
In response to numerous major attempts to compromise federal and private networks from adversarial nations like Russia and China, the Committee included language to require U.S. Cyber Command to boost cooperation between the federal government and the private sector to coordinate action against foreign malicious cyber actors. Additionally, Senator Shaheen helped to secure language requiring the Principle Cyber Advisor and the Director of Cost Assessment and Performance Evaluation to initiate a comparative analysis on cybersecurity measures available by DOD enterprise software.
Implementation of Shaheen Legislation to Bolster Women’s Leadership in Peace Negotiations & Conflict Resolution
In 2017, Senator Shaheen’s bipartisan legislation with Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), the Women, Peace and Security Act, was signed into law, requiring the U.S. Government to strengthen the meaningful participation of women in conflict prevention and peace negotiations—for the first time. In this year's NDAA, Shaheen added language that directs a pilot program for WPS implementation with partner nations. This builds on Shaheen’s work in last year’s NDAA, where she successfully added a provision to better incorporate women, peace and security initiatives at the Department of Defense, including by hiring full-time gender advisors, who amongst other duties, work with partner forces to better integrate women throughout their force structures.
Establishment of Maternal Morality Review at Military Facilities
Shaheen added language to the defense bill that directs a status update to follow up on a 2019 DOD report that she authorized on maternal mortality at military treatment facilities. That 2019 report contained recommended actions that the Department could take to further improve maternal mortality and morbidity at military treatment facilities, while also providing data and statistical trends on the issue. The language Shaheen added to the FY2022 NDAA calls on DOD to update those data findings and provide information on the status of their 2019 recommendations. Media reports and research have raised the alarm on pregnancy-associated deaths at military hospitals and caused worry as to whether facilities need to pursue additional measures to improve the safety of women during childbirth at military treatment facilities.
Creation of Joint Aviation Safety Council
Shaheen joined with Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) to establish the Joint Aviation Safety Council within the Department of Defense. Based on the recommendations of the National Commission on Military Aviation Safety, which was created by the FY19 NDAA to address aviation safety concerns, the Council will be responsible for issuing, publishing and updating regulations pertaining to aviation safety and collecting mishap data. The Council will also establish aviation safety management systems for the military departments and work to identify risk mitigation efforts reduce aviation safety hazards.
Review of Parental Rights Policies at Military Academies
Shaheen joined with Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) to secure a provision that requires DOD to report to Congress on existing policies at the military academies that restrict parental rights. According to current academy policies, cadets and midshipmen may be forced to choose between surrendering all parental rights and continuing their enrollment at their academy. The report to Congress requires DOD to develop alternative policies and additional resources that would avoid forcing cadets and midshipmen into such outdated decisions.
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