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U.S. House Passes Annual Defense Authorization Measure Including $1.0 Billion to Address the Red Hill Fuel Crisis

The Measure Also Strengthens Our National Defense in the Indo-Pacific by Supporting an Expanded U.S. Presence and Stronger International Relationships

(Washington, DC) – Congressman Ed Case (HI-01) announced that the full U.S. House has approved its version of the $839.3 billion Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that addresses his priorities related to the closure of Red Hill, strengthening America’s national defense in the Indo-Pacific and improving the Department of Defense’s (DoD) relationship with the local community.

The bill includes nine floor amendments introduced by Case and considered and approved by the full House. 

“With the FY 2023 NDAA, the Hawai‘i Congressional delegation is continuing our efforts to ensure the military fulfils its promise to close Red Hill and address critical issues, such as expanding transparency, restoring our aquifer and tracking the long-term health of those affected by the crisis,” said Case. “I remain committed to ensuring we defuel and close Red Hill as safely and quickly as possible.”

The bill’s Red Hill provisions:

  • Require the Navy to issue a publicly available report on the status of the $1 billion effort to close the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility.
  • Direct the DoD to determine the need, number and optimal locations of additional sentinel or monitoring wells to detect and track the movement of fuel that has leaked into the ground, in coordination with the United States Geological Survey.
  • Require the DoD to conduct a hydrology study around Red Hill and assess how best to address the water needs on O‘ahu and mitigate water shortages, to include water treatment plants or the placement of a new drinking water shaft.
  • Direct the DoD to track the long-term health implications of fuel leaks from Red Hill for members of the armed forces and their dependents.

The bill also supports Case’s continued efforts to strengthen the military’s community engagement efforts as it works to rebuild trust with the people of Hawai‘i following the Red Hill fuel leak.

“The military and the local community in our Hawai‘i have a long relationship that has been severely strained  by the recent Red Hill crisis,” said Case. “It is critical that the military win back the trust of our community through its actual actions.”

Case introduced and secured passage of provisions that require the DoD to develop and implement a Hawai‘i-specific community engagement strategy that strengthens the ties between the military and the local community and develop a centralized office with better coordination for various community engagement initiatives. Additionally, the NDAA requires the DoD to increase cultural support to military units in the state, which includes training on Hawaiian culture and improved consultation with the Native Hawaiian community. Finally, the bill requires the military to enhance defense cooperation with allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region.

The bill also authorizes crucial investments in America’s global network of alliances and partnerships, including more than $7 billion in funding for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative.

“Hawai‘i is a critical component of the U.S. presence in the Indo-Pacific, and the FY 2023 NDAA reaffirms our Hawaii’s place in and our country’s commitment to this region,” said Case. “These provisions, especially the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, will keep America competitive against China and reassure our friends and allies that the U.S. will be there for them as we defend our shared values.” 

To strengthen America’s presences in the Indo-Pacific, the NDAA also requires the military to submit a report on the advisability of enhancing defense cooperation with partners in the region and includes expanding the role of the National Guard in support of these initiatives, especially in Oceania.

Additionally, it directs the DOD and the U.S. Agency for International Development to provide an independent assessment of the resources they need to fulfill the Indo-Pacific Strategy. Finally, the bill directs the military to increase its support for the Compact negotiations with the Freely Associated States - the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau – that are essential to our country’s national security.  

In addition to the provisions described above, the bill includes the following additional amendments secured by Case:

  • Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program (SIOP) Facilities Review: Directs the Navy to study ways to improve the SIOP’s efforts to optimize facilities and replace outdated equipment, such as those at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility.
  • Improving Oversight of Large Construction Projects: Requires the DoD to review the Navy’s ability to manage, supervise and inspect projects that cost more than $500 million, to include SIOP projects in Hawai‘i.
  • Underground Facilities in Hawai‘i: Requires the military to survey underground tunnels and facilities like the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility located in Hawai‘i.
  • Assessing Future Investments on Guam: Requires the military to brief Congress on required infrastructure investment in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands based on emerging threats in the region and the ongoing relocations of U.S. service members from Japan. 
  • Joint Base Military Construction Assessment: Requires the DoD to review prioritization of military construction, maintenance and upgrades of joint base infrastructure and facilities, with a particular focus on facilities belonging to subordinate services relative to the lead service on joint bases, such as Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
  • Community Engagement Overseas: Directs the military to report on community engagement activities at military installations overseas.

The bill includes various other programs, provisions and funding affecting Hawai‘i and the Indo-Pacific. The NDAA: 

  • Authorizes $856 million in military construction projects in Hawai‘i, including:
    • Pearl Harbor Dry Dock: $621 million
    • Pearl Harbor Primary Electrical Distribution Upgrade: $25 million
    • Maui Secure Integration Support Lab: $89 million
    • Marine Corps Base Kāne‘ohe Bay Bachelor Enlisted Quarters: $88 million
    • Kapolei National Guard Readiness Center: $29 million
    • Tripler Army Medical Center Water System Upgrades: $2 million
    • Fort Shafter Water System Upgrades: $2 million
  • Directs the Army to brief the Committee on Armed Services on measures taken to consult with Native Hawaiian organizations on the timing, planning, methodology and implementation for removing unexploded ordnance and other contaminants at Pōhakuloa Training Area.
  • Authorizes the transfer of the former Barber’s Point utility system to the State of Hawai‘i.
  • Authorizes the construction of two new Virginia-Class Submarines that will be maintained at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility.
  • Expresses Congressional support for the U.S. defense relationship with Taiwan, a key effort for the Hawai‘i National Guard.
  • Requires U.S. Indo-Pacific Command to provide a report to Congress describing the support and sustainment for critical capabilities necessary to meet operational requirements in a conflict.
  • Requires an independent study on fuel distribution logistics in the Indo-Pacific area of responsibility and quarterly reporting on the progress made in establishing permanent fuel logistics points.
  • Requires the DoD to analyze Chinese influence in the Pacific Islands region in its annual Report on Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China.
  • Expresses congressional support for South Korea as a critical ally of the United States and requires a briefing on how the DoD will seek to implement the U.S. extended deterrence commitment to Korea. 

This year’s bill also supports a 4.6% pay raise for service members and civilians, in addition to supporting inflation bonuses for service members and civilians earning less than $45,000 per year. It also codifies a $15 minimum wage for workers on federal service and construction contracts.

Overall, the FY 2023 NDAA authorizes $839.3 billion in discretionary spending for national defense across the DoD, parts of the Department of Energy and other agencies.

It seeks restore U.S. alliances and partnerships and strengthen our country’s global competitiveness. This year’s NDAA will fulfill Congress’s constitutional obligation to “provide for the common defense.” 

A summary of the bill is available here.