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House Appropriations Committee Passes $695 Billion Fiscal Year 2021 Defense Bill

The Bill Includes Funding to Continue Home Defense Radar - Hawai'i, Research to Ensure the Interim Safety of Red Hill and Other Priorities Sought by Appropriations Committee Member Case

(Honolulu, HI) – Congressman Ed Case (HI-01) announced today House Appropriations Committee passage of $695 billion for the nation’s core defense programs, including $133 million to continue development of Home Defense Radar - Hawai'i and $5 million directed at research to ensure the safety of the Red Hill underground fuel storage tanks while a permanent solution for the facility is determined.

“When we look at our national defense strategy over the next generation and focus our priorities in this and other measures dealing with the military, we cannot help but look to Hawaii’s corner of the world, the Indo-Pacific,” said Case.

“Spent correctly, this funding will both improve the security of our nation and support one the key legs of our local economy – federal/defense spending – in continuing to generate good jobs and maintain the best economic foundation possible during the pandemic.”

Provisions of direct interest to Hawai‘i secured by Case include:

  • $133 million to continue development of Home Defense Radar – Hawai‘i, (HDR-H) rejecting the Administration’s decision to zero-out funding for the project. The HDR-H is a critical state-of-the-art radar system designed to protect our country and state from ballistic missile threats from countries like North Korea and was strongly supported by our Indo-Pacific military leaders.
  • $5 million to assure the full research needed to ensure the safety of military underground fuel storage tanks while the Navy, Environmental Protection Agency and State of Hawai‘i work to determine a permanent solution for the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility. This funding will allow the Navy to improve the facility by developing new techniques for measuring and controlling corrosion; improving testing, inspection, repair and maintenance processes; creating cost-effective secondary containment technology; and improving groundwater monitoring and modeling.
  • $77.3 million for the Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s Regional Centers, $3.9 million above the President’s budget. This additional funding will help expand the work of the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (DKI-APCSS), a premier defense-supported research and education center in Honolulu that fosters shared understanding and networked relationships among civilian and military leaders throughout the Indo-Pacific.

    Coupled with Case’s securing of an 18% funding increase for the East-West Center, this support strengthens Hawaii’s position as the center of international cooperation and coordination in the Indo-Pacific.
  • $289 million for the Formerly Used Defense Sites / Military Munitions Response program, $72 million more than requested, to help accelerate efforts to remove unexploded ordnance and discarded military munitions in Hawai‘i and throughout the nation. As of September 30, 2018, approximately 5,400 locations nationwide have been identified for investigation and cleanup, including hundreds in Hawai‘i.
  • $14 million for the Asia Pacific Regional Initiative (APRI). This program enables the military to execute Theater Security Cooperation activities, such as humanitarian assistance and paying incremental personnel costs of training and exercising with foreign security forces. The initiative is a critical tool for the U.S. military to strengthen relationship throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
  • The Appropriations Committee again blocked efforts to change the command and control structure of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. There have been efforts within the department to streamline control of forces under one command structure, which would limit the ability of Navy forces in Hawai‘i to respond quickly to changing threats in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • $281 million for the Department of Defense Civil-Military Account, a $31 million increase from the Administration’s proposal. This account supports two critical initiatives – the National Guard Youth Challenge Program and the Innovative Readiness Training Program.
    • The National Guard Youth Challenge Program is a voluntary five-month program directed at 16 to 18-year-old at-risk youth and comes at no cost to them or their families. It is led by members of the National Guard who help enhance the cadet’s life, physical development and education skills, along with assisting them in obtaining their high school diploma or GED. In Hawai‘i, 78% of Youth Challenge graduates receive their high school equivalency diploma.
    • The Innovative Readiness Training Program is a military training initiative frequently run in Hawai‘i that also provides much-needed community infrastructure through civil-military partnerships.
  • Continued funding for the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan (SIOP) program office. Case requested funds to ensure support for the SIOP program office, which is undertaking a $21 billion effort to improve the Navy’s public shipyards, including Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, Hawaii’s largest industrial employer.
  • Retention of the military contracting preference language for Native American tribes and Native Hawaiian Organizations.

“While Congress works to ensure that our men and women in uniform have the resources necessary to maintain combat readiness in an evolving threat landscape, this funding measure also supports a wide range of programs that help improve our environment and local community,” said Case. 

Overall, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense’s FY 2021 bill provides $694.6 billion in new discretionary spending for the Department of Defense for functions under the Defense Subcommittee’s jurisdiction, an increase of $1.3 billion above the FY 2020 enacted level but $3.7 billion below the President’s budget request. The bill also includes:

  • $22.3 billion to procure nine Navy ships, including two SSN-774 Virginia Class attack submarines. The U.S. Pacific Fleet’s submarine force includes multiple Virginia Class attack submarines homeported at Naval Station Pearl Harbor tasked with ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific.

    $1.5 billion for environmental restoration activities, $413 million above the Administration’s request. This added funding will help the military identify, investigate and clean up hazardous substances, pollutants, and contaminants at installations nationwide.

    It will also support the Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative, which helps remove or avoid land-use conflicts near installations.
  • $196 million for the National Guard Counterdrug Program, an increase of $101 million over the Administration’s request. This program supports military, law enforcement and community-based counterdrug operations at all levels of government so they can anticipate, deter and defeat the threats created by illegal drugs.
  • $179 million for the Office of Economic Adjustment, which supports the Defense Community Investment Program and the Public Schools on Military Installations Program. The Defense Community Infrastructure Program is a new grant program designed to help state and local governments improve and expand local infrastructure to accommodate growing defense installations. The Public Schools on Military Installations Program helps military installations that have schools with serious capacity or facility deficiencies.
  • $50 million for military Impact Aid programs, with $10 million specifically set aside for children with severe disabilities. This program reimburses local educational agencies for money previously spent on military dependent children.
  • $150 million to the Defense Health Program to respond to COVID–19.
  • Prohibitions against the use of military funds for a border wall at our troops’ expense.