Shaheen Announces Key NH Priorities in Defense Bill Heading to President’s Desk

December 15, 2021

**Shaheen supports authorization of $475 million for multi-mission dry dock project at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard** 

**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 FY2018 defense bill**   

**Bill extends paid parental leave for service members for up to 12 weeks following birth, adoption or placement in foster care** 

**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 final compromise text of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year (FY) 2022 that passed the Senate. The annual legislation authorizes national defense priorities for the fiscal year.   

Some of the New Hampshire and national defense priorities supported by Shaheen include:    

  • Authorization of $475 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, and $20 million to invest in submarine workforce development efforts. 
  • 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.  
  • Authorization of $517 million above the President’s budget request for the cleanup of military communities impacted by PFAS. 
  • Provisions from Shaheen’s bill requiring the Department of Defense (DOD) to establish a PFAS task force. The Department is also required to complete testing at Department of Defense and National Guard installations within two years and develop a proposed schedule for PFAS remediation. The Department of Defense is also required to report on the status of cleanup at 50 PFAS sites nationwide, including Pease.  Requirement for a temporary moratorium on the incineration of PFAS substances, increased transparency surrounding incineration practices and closure of a loophole that may have allowed the Department of Defense to improperly dispose of PFAS-laden substances by blending it with other fuels.   
  • Requirements for a report on Department of Defense procurement of certain items containing PFAS, additional public disclosures of results of drinking and ground water testing, as well as improved guidance for spill prevention and mitigation of aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF). 
  • 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 sexual assault and other serious crimes by moving them outside of the chain of command and to the discretion of highly trained civilian prosecutors. 
  • A 2.7-percent pay raise for service members.

“The NDAA presents a critical opportunity each year to address our most pressing national security needs and deliver for families in New Hampshire and across the nation. As a senior member of the committee, a top priority of mine during negotiations was combating PFAS chemicals that have contaminated water sources for Granite State families. No family should ever worry about the safety of drinking water for their kids, which is why through this package, I worked to bolster our response to PFAS exposure at military installations and support critical research through the Pease health impact study I established. I also secured investments to continue Navy excellence at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard through the Multi-Mission Dry Dock and the purchase of world-class military equipment,” said Shaheen, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which writes the legislation. “Beyond that, this package responds to global security concerns by delivering essential military assistance to Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression, as well as establishing an Afghanistan war commission. I’m pleased the package also contains my bill to improve our government’s interagency response to directed energy attacks that target U.S. government personnel. This important legislation enhances our military readiness as we confront challenges at home and abroad, and I look forward to President Biden signing this package into law.” 

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 $475 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.

Senator Shaheen worked with Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) to secure a provision that would enhance oversight of the Department of Defense’s implementation of the 20-year Shipyard Infrastructure and Optimization (SIOP) effort to modernize the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and the Navy’s three other public shipyards. The provision would ensure that the Navy is adhering to the most cost management standards to ensure that the SIOP remains on schedule and avoids further cost overruns. 

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 joined Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) on a measure that requires a report on material readiness of the Virginia-class submarines, to ensure a predictable maintenance schedule and insight on availability of the parts needed for repairs.  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. She also secured $20 million in funding to support continued investments in submarine workforce development to ensure that the nation is cultivating highly-trained maintainers to service the submarine fleet. 

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 FY2018 NDAA. Shaheen successfully added her comprehensive PFAS amendment based on her legislation, the PFAS Exposure Assessment and Documentation Act, which would codify a PFAS Task Force to address these toxic chemicals. The amendment would also require DOD to complete PFAS testing of installations within two years, direct DOD to develop a remediation schedule for contaminated sites and report on the status of cleanup at certain sites – including Pease. The final text also included efforts Shaheen championed in the Senate to temporarily halt the incineration of PFAS substances until the Department of Defense ensures it is adhering to existing laws and to close a loophole through which DOD may have been skirting incineration rules. In addition, the text includes requirements for a report on DOD procurement of certain items containing PFAS and additional public disclosures of results of drinking and ground water testing, as well as improved guidance for spill prevention and mitigation of aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF).

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 $300 million to be used to provide security assistance to Ukraine;  
  • Provisions based on Shaheen’s Directed Energy Threat Emergency Response Act requiring the Administration 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;  
  • 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 $300 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.   

Improving Interagency Response to Directed Energy Attacks

Building from provisions Senator Shaheen secured in the committee-approved bill, Shaheen successfully fought to add her bipartisan measure with Senator Collins that will require the President to designate a senior national security official to organize a whole-of-government response and direct the heads of agencies involved in the interagency response to designate a senior official to be responsible for their agency’s response to directed energy attacks. Shaheen’s provision is based on her standalone legislation, which she introduced earlier this year. 

In addition, Shaheen supported Senator Cotton (R-AR) 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. In October, Senator Shaheen also led a letter, supported by members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to Secretary Blinken requesting the appointment of empty leadership positions to more effectively respond to reports of anomalous health incidents.  

Underscoring Bipartisan Support for NATO  

Senator Shaheen, co-chair of the Senate NATO Observer Group, supported the inclusion of a Sense of Congress 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.  In addition, 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.   

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 in the SASC-approved text that requires DOD to report to Congress on existing policies at the military academies that restrict parental rights. Building on that effort, the final compromise text included a provision that would require DOD to develop and promulgate policy to preserve the option of parental rights for midshipmen and cadets. 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.  

Establishing a commission to examine the war in Afghanistan

Senator Shaheen helped secure a provision led by Senator Duckworth (D-IL) to establish a nonpartisan, independent commission to examine every aspect of the war in Afghanistan, including the political and strategic decisions that transformed a focused military mission into a vast, nation-building campaign that became the longest war in U.S. history. The amendment is based on standalone legislation, which Shaheen helped to introduce.   

Coverage of eating disorder treatments under TRICARE

The final text includes a provision based off Shaheen’s bipartisan legislation with Senator Tillis (R-NC), the SERVE Act, to expand eating disorder coverage for TRICARE beneficiaries.  

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