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House passes Defense authorization

WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives has completed its consideration of HR 2647, the FY 2010 National Defense Authorization Act. The Defense Authorization Act authorizes $550.4 billion for the Department of Defense and each of the military services and a $130-billion contingency fund for ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The House approved the measure by a vote of 389-22.

Congressman Gene Taylor (D-Mss.), chairman of the Seapower and Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee, worked with his subcommittee colleagues to develop a funding plan to address the current and future needs of the Navy and Marine Corps’ shipbuilding and aviation programs.

Taylor said, “Passage of this legislation represents an important step in ensuring that the Navy is able to achieve its required fleet size of 313 ships. The Seapower portion of the National Defense Authorization Act authorizes full funding for eight ships, the final increment of funds needed to complete three ships currently under construction, and advanced procurement funds for seven additional ships for which the remaining balance will be provided next year.

“The Defense Authorization provides multi-year procurement authority for the F/A 18 aircraft and the DDG 51 Aegis Destroyer program. Additionally, this legislation contains a ‘take it or leave it provision’ for the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). It states that no more than $460 million will be spent on procurement costs per LCS. If the Secretary of the Navy is unable to enter into contracts at $460 million per ship, this act directs him to seek bids for construction of these ships from other shipyards.”

The authorization also contains several items of importance to South Mississippi including:

• $2.3 billion for DDG-51 Aegis Destroyer — This ship will be built by Northrop Grumman at its Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula

• $1.1 billion for LPD 26 Amphibious Lift Ship — This LPD-17 San Antonio-class ship will be built by Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding at its Ingalls and Avondale shipyards

• $60 million for LPD-27 Amphibious Lift Ship — The bill authorizes $60 million for procurement of long-lead items for this LPD-17 San Antonio-class ship. This vessel will be built by Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding at its Ingalls and Avondale shipyards

• $8 million for Advanced, Long Endurance Unattended Ground Sensor — This project will provide funding to conduct research and development of advanced, low power unattended ground sensor (UGS) technologies at Mississippi State University that will provide the special operations warfighter with total, reliable and up-to-the minute situational awareness

• $2.6 million for Countermine Lidar UAV-based System (CLUBS) — This research and development will be done by Optech in Kiln

• $3.6 million for Eagle Eyes-Stand-off  Radiation Detection — This effort will support the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s (DTRA’s) requirements to provide advanced tools and systems for stand-off radiation detection. This research will be done at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg

• $2.5 million for Navy Special Warfare Performance and Injury Prevention Program for SBT 22 at Stennis Space Center — Stennis will work in conjunction with the University of Pittsburgh to establish the Special Boat Team Human Performance and Injury Prevention Laboratory at Stennis

• $6.5 million for Force Protection Measures-Relocate  Base Entrance — The Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center (CRTC) main base entrance would be relocated to the current fuel storage compound  entrance. A new secure gate house with bullet-proof glass and other force protection measures will be built

• $2.5 million for Integrated Rugged Checkpoint Container — Rapiscan Systems Inc in Ocean Springs will receive funds to integrate a suite of modular ruggedized inspection systems into one mobile container to provide a turnkey entry control checkpoint in any forward deployed terrain. The ruggedized container would serve as a modular checkpoint that will house the latest proven technologies in screening equipment for personnel, baggage, vehicles and footwear

• $2 million for Mold-In-Place Coating Development for the U.S. Submarine Fleet — Seemann Composites Inc in Gulfport, working with the US Navy, will receive additionally funding to develop a non-autoclave, Mold-In-Place [MIP] boot manufacturing process is in order to complete this effort

• $10.8 million for Riverine & Combat Craft Operations Facility — This funding will construct six SOC-R  craft for Special Operations Command at United States Marine Inc. in Gulfport

• $5.1 million for Nitrile Rubber Collapsible Storage Units — These tactical fuel storage systems are manufactured by Avon Industries of Picayune

• Language directing the Department of Defense Office of the Inspector General to conduct an investigation of the acquisition and subsequent disposal in 2003 of beachfront property adjacent to the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Gulfport

• A provision eliminating the special authority of requiring that future disposals of excess property by the Armed Forces Retirement Home be done in accordance with existing laws pertaining to the disposal of federal property

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