WASHINGTON, DC – Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-MD) today announced the fiscal year 2009 Military Construction/Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense spending bills include $1.4 billion for defense and military-related spending in Maryland, including $307.5 million in the Baltimore area. Both bills passed the Senate today as part of the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act. That legislation now heads to the President to be signed into law.
The Military Construction/Veterans Affairs spending bill provides just over $1.4 billion for projects at Maryland’s military facilities, including $865 million in Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) projects. The bill also includes $87.9 billion funding for critical Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) programs, including $41 billion in discretionary funding to improve the quality of facilities and care offered by the Veteran’s Health Administration, which is $3.5 billion more than the President’s budget request. This includes $375 million that will allow the VA to enroll thousands of Priority 8 veterans previously not eligible for benefits. The bill also provides $94 million above the President’s budget request to hire at least 1100 additional claims processors to address the backlog of compensation, pension, and disability claims. It also rejects the President’s proposal to cut assistance for homeless veterans.
“I am proud that this bill contains the resources necessary to provide Maryland’s installations and communities with the resources needed to implement the BRAC recommendations, care for our veterans, and improve the quality of life for military families,” said
Senator Cardin. “This legislation is critical to our country’s current and future military mission.”
“I told Maryland’s military leaders I would fight for this funding. My promises made are promises kept,” said
Senator Mikulski. “A stronger America begins at home. That’s why I fight every year to make sure our military has the tools it needs to keep us safe. I will keep up my work to make sure Maryland communities have the resources in the federal checkbook to implement BRAC recommendations and sustain our military installations.”
The Military Construction/Veterans Affairs spending bill provides $11.6 million for the Maryland Army Reserve in Baltimore for upgrades to support training for Reservists, $7.9 million to construct a new fire station at the Martin State Airport and $579,000 for the Army National Guard facility in Dundalk for additions and alterations to its Readiness Center.
The bill also includes $256 million for Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County for the following projects:
• $130 million in BRAC funding to construct a Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), which will consolidate six leased buildings around the National Capitol Region into one building.
• $51 million in BRAC funding for a Military Department Adjudication Facility which will relocate facilities in Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Ohio and Virginia to the installation.
• $44 million in BRAC funding for a Defense Media Activity building to consolidate all Department of Defense media organizations.
• $31 million for a South Campus Utility Plant at the National Security Agency (NSA).
The Department of Defense (DOD) spending bill provides equipment and funding for the operations of the United States military. This includes tens of thousands of uniformed and civilian employees in Maryland involved in many different activities such as weapons research and development, intelligence gathering and analysis, and military medical care.
“We have no greater obligation as elected officials than our duty to take care of our troops and their families who have sacrificed on our behalf,” said
Senator Cardin. “I am pleased that this bill sets the right priorities for providing critical equipment and training, strengthening military health care for our troops and their families, and giving our military families the support services and living conditions they deserve.”
“We need to do everything we can to support our troops with the equipment they need on the battlefield, the benefits and services they deserve when they return home, and support for their families on the home front. We know how critical these funds are for our troops to fulfill their mission and return home safely,” said
Senator Mikulski. “I will keep fighting to put money in the federal checkbook for our troops.”
The $31.4 million for Baltimore area defense projects includes:
• $4 million for Shadow Tactical Unmanned Aerial System (TUAS) Flight in the National Airspace. The funding will support efforts to design, develop and demonstrate a more capable Detect, Sense and Avoid (DSA) system for safe flight and navigation in domestic U.S. airspace. This work will be performed at the AAI Corporation in Hunt Valley.
• $4 million for Combat Desert Jacket procurement. Funding will provide lightweight, durable and comfortable combat wear for deployed Marines.
• $3.2 million for Repair of Massive Tissue Loss and Amputation through Composite Tissue Allotransplantation. This initiative at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, is developing new techniques capable of repairing massive tissue losses and amputations in military and civilian patients.
• $3 million for an Extensible Launching System for the Navy. This launching system will better protect Navy ships from threats from advanced anti-ship cruise missile ships.
• $2.4 million for the Laser Marksmanship Training System for cheaper, safer and more realistic weapons training for troops, allowing better simulation of battlefield tactics.
• $2.4 million to develop a rotary, multi-fuel auxiliary power unit for the M1A1 Abrams Tank . The power unit will reduce the Army Abrams Tank fuel demand by 50 percent, cutting Abrams daily fuel use in Iraq from $30 to $15 million a day, saving taxpayers money and reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil. This work will be performed by Patrick Power Products in Elkridge, Maryland
• $2 million for Advanced Restoration Therapies in Spinal Cord Injuries. The funding will go to new therapies and techniques to aid service members afflicted with spinal cord injuries. This work will be performed at the Kennedy Kreiger Institute in Baltimore, a cutting edge medical research, education and treatment facility.
• $2 million for the VetBiz Initiative for National Sustainment with Defense Logistics Agency. The initiative will promote business ownership and expansion for veterans and service-disabled veterans by matching these business opportunities with opportunities at the Department of Defense and helping them navigate the Dept of Defense procurement process.
• $2 million for Bio-Agent Early Warning Detector to allow the continued development of new technology to rapidly identify biological threats on the battlefield.
• $1.6 million to develop a SeaCatcher Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Launch and Recovery System. This research will help pave the way for Unmanned Aerial Systems to play a greater part in future U.S. Navy missions.
• $1.6 million for Mobile Diabetes Management. This funding will support the enrollment of 1,000 military family members and their dependents in an innovative trial utilizing cell phones to manage and avoid acute episodes of diabetes.
• $1.6 million for Recombinant BChE Formulation Program. Funding will support the development of a medical countermeasure to protect military personnel and civilians against nerve agent exposure.
• $800,000 to develop and build a Scalable Topside Array Radar (STAR) Demonstrator. A STAR Demonstrator could reduce the cost and risk of next generation surface ship radar systems.
• $800,000 for Submarine Fatline Vector Sensor Towed Array for cutting edge research and development to maintain the Navy’s edge in advanced submarine technologies as countries like China invest huge sums in submarine systems.