Sen Hirono Secures Hawai‘i Priorities in National Defense Authorization Act
Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai‘i) fought successfully to include critical priorities for the state in the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), according to a May 24, 2019, press release from her office.
The bill, which sets policy and funding levels for the Department of Defense and the national security programs of the Department of Energy, passed the Senate Armed Services Committee on a 25-2 vote. The full Senate will consider the legislation later this year.
“This year’s NDAA invests in Hawai‘i’s economy, enhances our military’s resiliency in the face of climate change, and supports a strong U.S. in the Indo-Pacific theater,” Sen. Hirono said. “In addition to beginning a 20-year investment in modernizing Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, this bill sets out a strong commitment to ensure Hawai‘i’s service members have access to safe, high quality, and well maintained housing. I will continue advocating for these critical priorities as this legislation is considered by the full Senate.”
Among the many provisions she secured in this year’s NDAA, Sen. Hirono obtained and supported provisions to improve the infrastructure and capabilities of U.S. Armed Forces in the Indo-Pacific region. These include support for an Army Multi-Domain Task Force, increased funding for Navy ship maintenance, and assessments of Navy posture and prepositioned assets in the Indo-Pacific region.
Sen. Hirono advocated for enhancements to the Department of Defense’s energy resilience, and supported provisions to require each military service to maintain an Assistant Secretary for Energy, Installations, and Environment and develop military installation resilience plans.
Sen. Hirono continued her work to improve military housing conditions for service members and their families and secured provisions to improve the Department of Defense’s oversight of military housing and reforms to provide better housing conditions for service members.
Sen. Hirono worked with her colleagues on the Readiness Subcommittee to include $224 million in authorizations for Hawaii military construction projects in the NDAA. Hawaii military construction projects include:
· $60.0 million for Fort Shafter’s Command and Control Facility
· $39.0 million for Kaneohe Bay’s Bachelor Enlisted Quarters
· $53.790 million for Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam’s Magazine Consolidation
· $4.0 million for Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam to Install a 500KW Covered Parking PV System and Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
· $67.7 million for Navy Operational Facility at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam
Hawai‘i priorities Sen. Hirono fought to add to the NDAA include:
Strengthening U.S. Force Posture in the Indo-Pacific: The NDAA includes Senator Hirono’s provisions to expand the Indo-Pacific Maritime Security Initiative to include countries collectively referred to as Oceania, and strengthen our security commitments to the governments of Japan and the Republic of Korea and encourage continued trilateral cooperation.
Strengthening Energy Resilience: Sen. Hirono fought to include an amendment that improves the Annual Energy Management and Resilience Report, establishes targets for water and energy use efficiency, and requires a five year plan to fund the Department’s energy program offices to meet the Department’s energy resilience goals and objectives.
The senator also secured an amendment directing the Department of Defense to provide a plan to implement a life cycle cost analysis tool that would help the services identify their energy vulnerabilities and successfully implement energy resilience projects across the defense enterprise.
The Committee also passed Sen. Hirono’s provision to award prizes as part of competitions for advanced technology achievements relevant to defense missions.
Continuing Support of Servicemembers and Military Families: Sen. Hirono included a provision that significantly reduces the length of the hiring process for child care providers on military installations by expanding the direct hire authority of military housing office personnel. This would also enable the military to optimize capacity for childcare and enhance readiness.
Sen. Hirono secured an amendment modifying Evan’s Law to require that windows in privatized military housing 42 inches or lower off the floor be equipped with a window fall prevention device. Evan’s Law was added to the Fiscal Year 2018 NDAA following the death of a child who fell from a window in military housing in Hawaii. Sen. Hirono’s amendment supports efforts to ensure the safety of children in military housing.
Sen. Hirono also worked to authorize $40.0 million in Impact Aid for schools with military dependent students and $10.0 million in Impact Aid for children with severe disabilities.
Improving Business Opportunities for Native Hawaiian Organizations: Sen. Hirono worked with Sen.Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) to include a provision which raises the threshold applicable to certain Department of Defense contracts from $20 million to $100 million.
Readiness and Environmental Protection: Sen. Hirono worked to authorize $25.0 million for the Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative (REPI), a program that creates partnerships between the Department of Defense, state and local governments, and conservation NGOs to address factors that inhibit military training or operations.