House Passes 2012 National Defense Act; $303.5 Million for Guam Military Projects

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Washington D.C. –  Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo has announced that the U.S. House of Representatives has passed H.R. 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 by a vote of 322 yeas to 96 noes.

The Senate Armed Services Committee is expected to begin debate on their version of the Defense Authorization Bill in mid-June.  Eventually the House and Senate bills will be reconciled in Conference Committee.

H.R. 1540 authorized spending and sets policy for the Department of Defense for fiscal year 2012.  The bill provides $367 million to DoD for military construction projects on Guam and allocates $33 million in federal assistance to Guam for infrastructure improvements as requested in the President’s budget.  Servicemembers will receive a 1.6% pay increase, and DoD would be required to assess the structural integrity and infrastructure improvements needed for strategic seaports to meet national security and readiness requirements.  Congresswoman Bordallo also sponsored several amendments to the NDAA.  These amendments include providing an additional $10 million for operational facilities within the Army National Guard; $983,000 for the Navy Sea Cadet Corps; and $2 million for a study on renewable and alternative energy applications for military installations and operations.  Congresswoman Bordallo also sponsored an amendment that requires the Department of Defense to update a report on strategic seaports to determine the true costs of improving infrastructure at seaports and what future legislative changes may be necessary to fund such improvements.

The NDAA fully authorizes all military construction on Guam totaling $367 million; however the fuel systems maintenance hangar project at Andersen Air Force Base will be incrementally funded over two years.  Thus, the actual appropriated funds for military construction are reduced to $303 million in fiscal year 2012.  The Committee will generally incrementally fund military construction projects that are large and will take several years to complete.

The FY12 NDAA eliminates a 33% voting share of the Department of the Navy on the Consolidated Commission on Utilities as part of authority to transfer the Navy’s water and wastewater assets to the Government of Guam.  This amendment was offered by Congresswoman Bordallo during last week’s mark-up of the Readiness Subcommittee, where she serves as the Ranking Member of the subcommittee.  The bill leaves intact a provision included in the FY11 NDAA that authorizes the use of unreimbursed Compact-impact to off-set the fair market value for the transfer of these assets.  In discussions with the Governor and the Legislature, local leaders reached a consensus that keeping this Compact-impact offset provision could be of value to Guam and helps to make the case for a federal obligation.

“The House today passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012,” said Congresswoman Bordallo. “The bill contains important provisions to ensure that the military build-up on Guam benefits our community.  The House passed bill authorizes $33 million for civilian infrastructure improvements and $367 million for military construction projects on Guam.  The bill removes the 33% voting share of the Department of the Navy on the CCU as part of an agreement to transfer the Navy’s water and wastewater systems to GovGuam.  DoD would also be required to assess essential improvements to strategic seaports, which will certify infrastructure needs at Apra Harbor to support the build-up.  We now wait for the Senate to take action on their legislation and eventually begin the Conference Committee.”

A table of the President’s budget request and a summary of Congresswoman Bordallo’s requested and supported provisions included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 are listed below:

* Eliminates language enacted in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 that provided for the Department of the Navy to hold 33% voting representation on the Consolidated Commission on Utilities as a condition of transferring the Navy’s water and wastewater assets on Guam to the Government of Guam;

*  Provides the Department of Defense with authority to transfer operations and maintenance funding to state and local governments, including the Government of Guam, or federal agencies to fund and support infrastructure improvements through 2018;

* Requires the Navy to establish a Lead Systems Integrator for work force health care for Guam military construction projects.  The LSI would provide a coordinated and comprehensive solution to the health care needs of H2-B workers;

* Require the Secretary of Defense to certify the national security interests for training ranges on Guam.  The certification would establish why it is critical for training facilities to be constructed on Guam to support the Marine relocation to the island;

* Reauthorizes travel reimbursement authority for the National Guard for one year and separate language provides the services with authority to establish pilot programs to test alternative methods for performing and reimbursing travel, for limiting the need for travel, and for reducing the environmental impact of travel;

* Enhances the Department of Defense’s Legacy Resource Management Program for natural and cultural heritage preservation.  The Program, guided under the principles of stewardship, leadership, and partnership, assists DoD in safeguarding, protecting, and enhancing resources for future generations while supporting military readiness;

* Enhances foreign ship repair report requirements to require the Department of the Navy to justify utilizing foreign ship repair facilities when conducting maintenance and repair work on U.S. Navy vessels;

* Urges the Department of Defense to enter into cooperative agreements with institutions of higher education for research and studies in support of the Defense Review Posture Initiative;

* Supports the President’s budget request for 9 C-27J “Joint Cargo Aircraft.”  The language would prohibit the retirement of the C-23 “Sherpa” aircraft until the Department of Defense develops a plan to address homeland security, homeland defense, and humanitarian missions in the pacific;

* Provides servicemembers with a 1.6% increase in pay;

* Prohibits the Department of Defense from increasing the enrollment fee for TRICARE prime through fiscal year 2012;

* Establishes the position of Vice Chief of the National Guard Bureau.  The Vice Chief will be a general officer with a grade of lieutenant general;

* Amends the Sikes Act to include state owned National Guard Facilities and add provisions for funding integrated national resource management plans.  The Sikes Act authorizes the Secretary of Defense to develop cooperative plans for conservation and rehabilitation programs on military reservations and to establish outdoor recreation facilities as well as extending coverage of Sikes Act to the CNMI and American Samoa;

* Provides an additional $983,000 to the Navy O&M accounts to fully fund the requirements of the Navy Sea Cadet Corps program.  The Navy Sea Cadet Corps is a critical program that assists the Navy in meeting recruiting goals;

* Provides an additional $2 million to the Office of Naval Research for a study of renewable and alternative energy applications for military installations and operations in the Pacific region;

* Provides an additional $10 million for operational facilities within the Army National Guard for military constructions projects.

* Requires the Economic Adjustment Committee to report on ways that Defense Access Roads funding and authorities can be expanded to meet defense growth community’s needs;

* Requires the Department of Defense to assess and report on the structural integrity of DoD designated strategic seaports and required infrastructure improvements necessary to meet national security and readiness requirements.

Fiscal Year 2012 Military Construction Authorizations for Appropriation

Service                     Project                                                  Cost

Marine Corps           North Ramp Utilities                              $    77,260,000

Marine Corps           Finegayan Water Utilities                       $    78,654,000

Air Force                  Air Freight Terminal Complex               $    35,000,000

Air Force                  Clear Water Rinse Facility                     $      7,500,000

Air Force                  Munitions Maintenance Facility             $    11,700,000

Air Force                  Fuel Systems Maintenance Hangar          $    64,000,000

Air Force                  Communication Support Facility            $      9,800,000

Air Force                  Cantonment Ops Facility                       $    14,000,000

Air Force                  Comm Transmission System                  $      5,600,000

TOTAL                                                                                  $  303,514,000