Begich Successfully Pushes for Additional $30 Million for Missile Defense in Appropriations Bill
Bill Lays the Groundwork to Repeal Section 811 Red Tape for Alaska Contractors
U.S. Senator Mark Begich today secured a number of priorities for Alaska in the Department of Defense Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2014, including increased missile defense and a necessary step for future repeal of a law that unfairly targets Alaska Native contractors. The bill passed today out of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The bill includes $30 million for missile defense at Fort Greely and language that lays the groundwork to repeal section 811 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010. Begich, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has been adamant that section 811 must be repealed because it unfairly targets Native 8(a) entities.
Both of Alaska’s senators attended today’s Senate Appropriations meeting. Only Alaska, Illinois and Arkansas are represented on the Senate Appropriations Committee by both of their senators.
“I’m glad I was able to persuade the committee to include an amendment to provide analysis of the harmful effects of section 811 on Alaska companies,” said Begich. “And because Fort Greely plays a critical role in U.S. security, I pushed for additional funding for the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system. The funding, $30 million more than was requested by the President, will build on the successful missile test in June and will further improve the system. As a result, Alaska will be even better prepared to defend the nation against an attack.”
The Department of Defense Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 will next move to the full Senate for consideration.
- Total cost: $549.3 billion ($22.7 billion less than the FY14 bill and $1.4 billion less than the President’s FY15 request)
- Section 811: Begich successfully persuaded the committee to include an amendment forcing DOD for the first time to provide information on the chilling effect section 811 has had on 8(a) entities, including Alaska Native Corporations. The amendment also requires the Government Accountability to verify the accuracy of DOD’s information. Begich has been a leading proponent of repealing section 811 because, since its passage, it has been inconsistently implemented by federal agencies. These inconsistencies have led to unfair and unjustified declines in contracts awarded to Native 8(a) entities.
- Missile Defense: Sen. Begich fought for additional funding and was the pleased the Committee provided an additional $30 million for the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system at Fort Greely to build upon the recent successful test and further improve the system.
- F-35 Fighter Jets: Begich strongly supported fully funding the Administration’s request for procurement of 34 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, a key component to Alaska’s military future.
- C-130H Modernization: In support of the Alaska National Guard, Senator Begich co-sponsored an amendment that highlights the importance of modernizing the C-130H fleet to keep it operational and in compliance with new federal mandates set to go into effect in 2020.
- Kodiak Launch Complex: At Begich’ s request, the Committee included language designating $7 million for spaceports, or launch and range complexes, commercially licensed that receive local or State government funding, like Kodiak Launch Complex. This language will further Alaska’s role in supporting our national security and space program.
- Arctic Focus: The bill includes an initiative urging the Department of Defense to examine ways to improve engagement on Arctic issues, including additional funding for improved awareness, technology and polar icebreakers. Earlier this week, Begich welcomed the appointment of former Coast Guard Commandant Robert Papp as U.S. Special Representative to the Arctic and Alaska’s Fran Ulmer as a special advisor to the Secretary of State for Arctic affairs.