Congresswoman Hanabusa Protects Hawaiʻi’s Military Interests in the House FY18 National Defense
Washington, DC -- Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01) releases the following statement after the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) passed, by a vote of 60 to 1, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill protects and strengthens our civilian and merchant marine workforce, provides critical funding for military construction, including infrastructure and training assets in Hawaiʻi, and provides policy guidance to the Department of Defense (DOD).
“Hawaiʻi faired very well in the FY18 NDAA,” said Representative Hanabusa. “Not only did Hawaiʻi protect our civilian workforce and secure funds for critical military construction projects, we managed to get Congress to recognize why Admiral Harris of the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) considers Kauai’s Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) a national treasure, an opinion shared by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA).
Key NDAA Provisions and Direct Benefits to Hawaiʻi are Listed Below:
Naval Shipyards – Representative Hanabusa has always had as her priority, protecting the local jobs at Pearl Harbor. The NDAA recognizes the importance of maintaining our four public shipyards. Pearl Harbor plays a vital role in the readiness of the Navy’s surface and submarine fleet. The NDAA admits that the Navy’s infrastructure has not been “properly sustained, modernized or configured to effectively and efficiently address the Navy’s workload.” To make sure we can meet the Navy’s goals for the future, the NDAA directs the Secretary of the Navy to provide a report to HASC by March 2018 addressing personnel issues, such as the number of apprentices and engineers needed, infrastructure to meet the 30-year force structure, a workload metric, a management plan and assessment of funding requirements.
“Pearl Harbor is instrumental to our nation’s pivot to Asia-Pacific and we must never forget that our public shipyard provides job opportunities for over 5,000 Hawaiʻi families,” said Hanabusa. “I am very pleased with the NDAA’s recognition of the importance of investing in Pearl Harbor, one of only four public shipyards in the entire United States.”
PMRF – Representative Hanabusa opposed efforts to immediately operationalize PMRF with a missile defense system. She did, however, support a sequenced approach which prioritized the protection of PMRF test and training operations and the assessment of the siting and functionality of a discrimination radar for homeland defense before a test is performed to evaluate and demonstrate the military’s capability to defeat an intercontinental ballistic missile threat.
Hawaiʻi Military Construction – The total Military Construction (MILCON) for Hawaiʻi in the FY18 NDAA was $264 million including, but not limited to:
- $90 million to construct 15 megawatts of redundant power generation at the Army’s Fort Shafter
- $22.5 million to build a sewer line at the Navy’s Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam
- $5.5 million to build a consolidated training facility at the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for the Air Force Reserve
Red Hill –
The NDAA recognizes the great strategic value the Red Hill Underground Fuel Storage Facility provides to the U.S. Pacific Command. However, equally critical is the public’s right to be informed as to the progress the Navy has made in preventing future fuel spills by implementing the best available and practicable technology (BAPT). This year’s NDAA acknowledges this tremendous responsibility by requiring the DOD to provide the details of BAPT solutions with each annual budget request to Congress.
Pohakuloa Language –
Representative Hanabusa introduced language allowing the Army to begin the process of ensuring continued long-term access to Pohakuloa Training Area to support joint and combined arms training for military forces in the Pacific region.
Botulinum Toxic Type A Countermeasures –
Representative Hanabusa introduced language directing the Secretary of Defense to brief HASC on the DOD’s research and development plans to counter botulinum toxin type A, the impacts and/or potential drawbacks in using the botulinum type A vaccine and the potential benefits and complications introduced through advances in synthetic biology for the treatment and threat of biological agents. In addition, understanding the medical uses of the botulinum toxin type A is critically important to our military veterans’ as it may contribute to treatments for PTSD-associated migraine and other war time injuries/diseases. This research is being conducted in Hawaiʻi.
Pacific War Memorial –
Representative Hanabusa spoke in support of the creation of a Pacific War Memorial at Pearl Harbor. Hanabusa was disappointed she was unable to have HASC assert jurisdiction, but she intends to bring the issue to the floor and amend the NDAA to include Admiral Lloyd “Joe” Vasey’s concept for a war memorial. A war memorial in the Pacific will provide families of fallen service members a place to reflect on the lives and sacrifices of their loved ones, while honoring the over 150,000 killed in the Pacific.