Shaheen Fights to Secure Numerous NH Priorities in Committee-Approved Defense Bill

June 16, 2022

**Shaheen supports authorization of $503 million for multi-mission dry dock project at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard**  

**Shaheen procures additional 15 KC-46 Pegasus refueling tankers, the same aircraft operating out of Pease Air National Guard Base**  

**Shaheen successfully authorizes record-level $20M for Pease health impact study she established in the 2018 NDAA**   

**Bill would provide a 4.6-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) 2023. The annual legislation authorizes national defense objectives for the fiscal year.   

The FY23 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 $503 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 billion in advance procurement;  
  • Authorization of an additional $20 million – record-level funding – to continue the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) health impact study Senator Shaheen established in the 2018 NDAA;  
  • Prohibition on the procurement of PFAS-laden firefighting gear after October 1, 2026 to protect military firefighters who are occupationally more likely to be exposed to PFAS; 
  • Enhanced PFAS testing disclosure efforts to ensure transparent data is shared with communities impacted by PFAS   
  • $75 million to sustain procurement of the Enhanced-Night Vision Goggle Binoculars, which support U.S. service members on the battlefield and is bolstered by New Hampshire manufacturers; 
  • A 4.6-percent pay raise for service members;  
  • An adjustment of the maximum income eligibility requirements for military families that expands qualification for the Basic Needs Allowance. 

"New Hampshire plays a significant role in support of our national defense, from maintaining submarines at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to our private manufacturers that produce material our service members will use on the frontlines. And that is precisely what I made clear as we wrote the fiscal year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act this week, which once again, shows the footprint our State has in U.S. national security priorities,” said Shaheen. “I was also glad to work across the aisle to advance meaningful provisions that support our democratic partners in Ukraine amid Vladimir Putin’s barbaric and unprovoked invasion and campaign of violence, as well as continued investments in the PFAS health impact study I established years ago to deliver overdue answers to Granite State families exposed to these dangerous chemicals. The NDAA provides crucial opportunities to address a wide scope of policies affecting our military, as well as our communities. I’m glad to see the committee once again work together to clear this bill and look forward to building on that bipartisan progress when it comes to the Senate floor for a vote.” 

NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIORITIES SECURED OR SUPPORTED BY SHAHEEN IN THE FY 2023 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT INCLUDE:   

Military Readiness Priorities for Portsmouth Naval Shipyard 

Senator Shaheen supported the authorization of $503 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 billion in advance procurement. Additionally, she supported authorization for a $360 million increase to ship maintenance and spares. 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 more than $500 million in submarine workforce and 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.  

Increasing Investments in U.S. military equipment 

Senator Shaheen successfully included $75 million in funding for the procurement of enhanced night vision devices, which are crucial for U.S. service members on the battlefield. New Hampshire is also home to manufacturers of enhanced night vision goggle binoculars and plays an important role in the industrial base and in support of the United States’ national defense. 

Investments at Pease Air National Guard Base 

Senator Shaheen fought to procure 15 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 PFAS Contamination & Prioritize Safety of Military Personnel’s Occupational Exposure 

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 $20 million to continue the PFAS health impact study that she created in the 2018 NDAA. This is record-level authorization for the health study that Shaheen has championed.  

In addition, Senator Shaheen added an amendment requesting the Department of Defense to prohibit DOD from purchasing PFAS-laden firefighting turnout gear after October 1, 2026. This follows Shaheen-led efforts to expand blood testing and treatment for firefighters exposed to PFAS and a similar amendment she secured to ban the use of PFAS-laden firefighting foam in the FY 2020 NDAA. Senator Shaheen also included an amendment to clarify in statute that the National Guard can access Defense Environmental Restoration Program (DERP) funds for PFAS cleanup at state-owned Guard facilities, which will save the Guard millions in funds they have previously been forced to divert from training and operations. Finally, Senator Shaheen successfully led on enhanced transparency by ensuring the Department of the Air Force is sharing PFAS test results with impacted communities. 

ADDITIONAL SHAHEEN DEFENSE PRIORITIES INCLUDED IN FY 2023 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT:    

  • Authorization of the Ukraine Security Initiative through December 31, 2024 and authorization of up to $800 million to be used to provide security assistance to Ukraine;  
  • Language reaffirming Senate support for continued assistance for Ukraine to defend its homeland and freedom against Russian aggression, for Ukraine’s pursuit of greater Euro-Atlantic integration and to underscore NATO’s critical role in response to Putin’s belligerence; 
  • Language outlining U.S. support for a comprehensive strategy to address security threats and resist Russian aggression in the Black Sea region;  
  • Language that underscores the Senate’s support of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the alliance’s contributions to international security; 
  • Provisions to provide timely access to military medical facilities for impacted U.S. government employees and their families who’ve suffered from anomalous health incidents (AHI’s);  
  • Expansion of reforms to address sexual assault in the military, including by expanding the types of sexual misconduct offenses and addressing the role of military commanders’ convening authority power; 
  • $978.5 million for four Compass Call electronic attack aircraft, whose development is based in Hudson and Nashua; 
  • $858 million for seven additional F-35 joint strike fighters; 
  • $2.4 billion to fund 100 percent of the military’s facilities, sustainment, restoration and modernization efforts; 
  • Empowers the Department of Defense to use all available authorities for energy conservation measures; 
  • Authorization of a Department of Defense pilot program to implement sustainable aviation fuels to reduce emissions while maintaining readiness. 

Increased Military Assistance for Ukraine Amid Putin’s Unprovoked Invasion  

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 $800 million in FY 2023 to provide security assistance to Ukraine.  

Senator Shaheen leads action in the U.S. Senate in support of Ukraine in response to Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked aggression, which also threatens the stability and security of Eastern Europe and NATO allies. Shaheen recently led a bipartisan congressional delegation with Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) to the Balkans to convey continued U.S. support for its allies amid Russian aggression against Ukraine and the implications for European security in the region. In addition, legislation co-led by Shaheen to speed up military assistance to Ukraine and Eastern European nations was recently signed into law. In February, Shaheen led a successful bipartisan effort with Portman to pass a resolution that conveys a renewed and overwhelmingly bipartisan message from the U.S. Senate in fierce support of Ukraine. Earlier this year, Shaheen and Portman led a bipartisan delegation to Ukraine, where they met with President Zelenskyy and members of his administration. Before the Shaheen-Portman congressional delegation visit to Ukraine in January, Shaheen led a bipartisan group of lawmakers to Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, last June.   

In addition to increased military assistance, Senator Shaheen worked to include language that expresses the Sense of the Senate in support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and its pursuit of greater Euro-Atlantic integration. Shaheen also added language reaffirming the important contributions of the Baltic States in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and emphasizing the need for the Department of Defense to give special consideration to their security cooperation needs and the backfill of equipment to Ukraine. Senator Shaheen similarly inserted report language directing the Secretary of Defense to provide congressional defense committees with a briefing on DOD posture, security cooperation and military-to-military engagement in the Black Sea region, which is a critical geopolitical area and target of Russian aggression. To continue bolstering our NATO allies and overcome supply chain issues, Senator Shaheen led efforts in the FY23 NDAA to direct the Air Force to create a Sensor Open architecture engagement office to allow for increased sensor open system architecture alignment with the transatlantic alliance.   

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. Shaheen and Tillis will lead a bipartisan delegation to the NATO summit in Madrid at the end of June. 

Support for Americans Affected by Directed Energy Attacks  

Senator Shaheen built on her progress to ensure that all U.S. personnel and their loved ones suffering from anomalous health incidents (AHIs) – also known as Havana Syndrome or directed-energy attacks – get the medical attention they deserve. Shaheen successfully secured $10 million in funding to support the work of the Anomalous Health Incidents Cross Functional Team, which was established in the FY2022 NDAA, to investigate and mitigate AHIs and to provide care for those impacted. In addition, Shaheen included a $20 million increase to address the threat characterization and treatment of certain uniformed members, federal civilian employees and their family members affected by AHIs, who’ve faced stigmatization and adverse experiences following their ailments. Finally, the annual defense legislation includes a provision that directs a report on the history of AHIs recorded by the Department of Defense, a description of U.S. and adversary technologies that could cause AHIs and recommendations for adapting the military to the threat of AHIs. Shaheen also included language to direct the Director of the Defense Health Agency to brief Congress on efforts to improve victim care. Finally, Senator Shaheen directed the Government Accountability Office to undertake a comprehensive review of the use of the Department of Defense’s Joint Trauma System to fully catalogue personnel and dependents’ exposure to ensure children, in particular, are being cared for, as well as a review of other processes related to victims’ ability to access care. 

Shaheen’s leadership on this issue follows her successful effort in the FY2022 national defense law, which included a Shaheen provision based on her standalone legislation to require the President to designate a senior national security official – now filled by Maher Bitar – to organize a whole-of-government response and direct the heads of relevant agencies to designate senior officials to lead their agency’s response to AHIs. The FY2022 law also included a measure Shaheen supported to ensure wounded officers and their families have immediate access to specialized facilities at Walter Reed. 

In FY2022 government funding legislation signed into law, Shaheen added language to allow the Department of Commerce and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to address the medical needs of their employees or dependents who are likely victims of these attacks. Absent this language, neither the Department of Commerce nor the FBI would be permitted to provide funding to assist their employees who are AHI victims. Senator Shaheen has been a leader in supporting American public servants who have incurred brain injuries likely from directed energy attacks. In October, the President signed legislation Shaheen helped lead, the Helping American Victims Afflicted by Neurological Attacks (HAVANA Act), into law. 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. 

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