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Sen. Hirono Secures Important Hawai‘i Priorities

August 2, 2018, 8:00 AM HST
* Updated August 2, 7:32 AM
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Sen. Mazie Hirono. Courtesy photo

Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee, secured important Hawai‘i priorities in the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act that passed the Senate on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018, by a 87-10 vote. The bill now goes to the president for his signature.

“This year’s National Defense Authorization Act reinforces the central role Hawai‘i plays in advancing and supporting our country’s interests in the Indo-Pacific region,” Sen. Hirono said. “As a member of the NDAA Conference Committee, I successfully fought to include critical Hawai‘i priorities that contribute to our state’s economy, improve military readiness, and expand resources available to our men and women in uniform.”

Sen. Hirono ensured that every Hawai‘i military construction project in the President’s Budget request was included in the NDAA. Sen. Hirono and her colleagues were able to add an additional Hawai‘i project worth about $50 million, bringing the total military construction authorization for Hawai‘i to over $360 million.

Hawai‘i military construction projects include:

  • $105 million for Fort Shafter’s Command and Control Facility
  • $50 million for the Wheeler Army Airfield Rotary Wing Parking Apron
  • $66.1 million for the Navy’s Kaneohe Bay Corrosion Control Hanger
  • $78.32 million for Navy’s Pearl City Water Transmission Line
  • $45 million for Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam’s Drydock Waterfront Facility
  • $17 million for Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam Construction Addition to F-22 Facility

Hawai‘i priorities Sen. Hirono fought to add to the NDAA include:

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Enhancing Protection of the Indo-Pacific Region Through a “Whole of Government” Approach: Sen. Hirono secured and supported a number of provisions that would enhance the security of Hawai‘i and the Indo-Pacific region. These include ensuring Pacific Command has the resources and infrastructure it needs to support the National Defense Strategy, and expanding the capacity of the Asia Maritime Security Initiative to increase partnerships and promote a whole-of-government approach for stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

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Given the strategic importance the of the Compacts of Free Association (COFA) to the national security interests of the United States, Sen. Hirono secured an amendment to support, maintain, and strengthen commitments of the United States with the Governments of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau.

Sen. Hirono worked with Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) to emphasize the benefits of military training exercises with allies in the Indo-Pacific region and require a report on opportunities and detailed description of current exercises with partners in the region.

Strengthening Energy Resilience: Military installations across Hawaii have been leading the way in promoting energy resilience and conservation. Drawing on lessons learned from the Army’s multi-fuel power plant at Schofield Barracks, Sen. Hirono included several provisions that allow the Department of Defense to increase energy resilience and conservation projects, and encourage the Department of Defense to work with the private sector to finance and accelerate energy resilience project development on military installations.

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Sen. Hirono secured an amendment directing the Secretary of Defense to work with the Office of Personnel Management to establish a career path for energy management professionals.

Sen. Hirono also advocated for a number of directives to fund energy-related programs across the Defense Department, such as the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program, the Operational Energy Capability Improvement Fund, the Energy Resilience and Conservation Investment Program, and the Department of Defense Siting Clearinghouse.

Funding Anti-Corrosion Efforts: Senator Hirono was instrumental in securing a funding increase for corrosion prevention and control efforts—which are important to Hawaii as its unique environment often leads to significant corrosion of military assets such as helicopters and other aircraft.

Promoting Military Family Stability: In previous years, Senator Hirono successfully fought to include Talia’s Law in the NDAA to combat child abuse. This year, she and her colleagues secured a provision to increase services to prevent child abuse and other domestic violence at military installations.

Sen. Hirono also fought to increase Impact Aid funding for schools with military dependents by $40 million and for children with severe disabilities by $10 million.

Increasing Readiness: Sen. Hirono worked to include provisions that would direct the Comptroller General to review the Navy’s shipyard improvement plan to address infrastructure deficiencies to support its 30-year force structure projections.

Sen. Hirono and Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida) successfully included an amendment to create a program for the Defense Department to use military construction funds to assist state and local governments to address deficiencies in community infrastructure supportive of a military installation. She also cosponsored a Senator Sullivan amendment which highlights the value of the Innovative Readiness Training program, encouraging the Defense Department to utilize the program to train active, reserve, and National Guard forces.

Supporting Personnel: The National Defense Strategy identifies eight critical technologies that are critical to national security— advanced computing, “big data” analytics, artificial intelligence, autonomy, robotics, directed energy, hypersonics, and biotechnology. Senator Hirono secured an amendment that requires the Department of Defense to develop a report that identifies the workforce and infrastructure needs for these technologies over the next five years.

She also cosponsored an amendment with Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) creating parity in National Guard benefits.

Improving Health Care: Sen. Hirono secured an amendment directing the Comptroller General to review the Defense Health Agency’s oversight for the transition of TRICARE managed care support contractors.

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