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Hirono Applauds Senate Passage of the NDAA

Hirono, Chair of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower, successfully included provisions to support Hawaii’s critical standing in the Indo-Pacific region and protect the island from evolving threats

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono, Chair of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower, (D-HI) applauded Senate passage of the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Senator Hirono fought for the inclusion of critical amendments that would support United States Indo-Pacific Command’s (INDOPACOM) requirements, invest in military construction projects in Hawaii, improve oversight of the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan, and better support military parents and the Department of Defense (DoD) civilian workforce. Following reports that individuals involved in the January 6th attack on the Capitol had military experience, Senators Hirono and Duckworth—co-authors of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Bill—included an amendment requiring the Secretary of Defense to take steps to address violent extremism in the military.

“There is broad recognition at the Department of Defense that we need to modernize our Armed Forces, improve our infrastructure, bolster our alliances and partnerships, and invest in the Indo-Pacific region to face the challenges posed by our near-peer competitors. This legislation demonstrates a commitment to that strategy.” 

“Hawaii plays a central role in advancing our country’s interests in the Indo-Pacific region. As a member of the Armed Services Committee, I worked to restore funding for the Homeland Defense Radar-Hawaii, improve oversight of the plan to modernize Pearl Harbor, and invest in military construction projects on the islands. This legislation not only strengthens our national security, but it will better support our servicemembers and their families. I’m glad the Senate was able to work together to pass this critical legislation before the end of the year.”

Additionally, following a series of recent preventable events that led to the contamination of the Navy’s drinking water system and put the community at risk in Oahu, Senator Hirono added that she is “actively tracking the on-going water contamination crisis involving Red Hill and expects the Navy and the Department of Defense to immediately solve the short term contamination issue and develop a credible long-term plan for the strategic war reserve needs.”

Prior to these events, Senator Hirono supported a provision included in this year’s NDAA that requires the Navy to conduct an independent inspection of Red Hill and submit a report on the life-cycle sustainment plan for the Facility going forward. The provision also requires the Secretary of Defense to conduct an assessment to be provided to Congress within one year of three alternative sites outside of Hawaii for bulk-fuel storage and options to improve the security and maintenance of Red Hill. The NDAA also addresses the ongoing water contamination crisis and notes that if the Red Hill facility is to remain open it must be operated and maintained to the highest standard possible to ensure it presents no material risk to the aquifer and to Honolulu water resources. Senator Hirono added that, “as the Navy works to resolve this crisis, we will continue to take all necessary steps to ensure the health, safety and well-being of our military families and Oahu residents.”

Provisions Senator Hirono added to the NDAA:  

  • Restored funding for the Homeland Defense Radar-Hawaii: The FY2022 NDAA authorizes $75 million for HDR-H, which will allow the Missile Defense Agency to continue it’s critical work including environmental and siting efforts. HDR-H is intended to be a key component of our nation’s ballistic missile defense system against evolving threats from North Korea and elsewhere in the Indo-Pacific.  
  • Strengthening Indo-Pacific Posture: The FY2022 NDAA authorizes $7.1 billion for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative (PDI) to improve the capabilities of U.S. Armed Forces in the Indo-Pacific region and deter China, including nearly $500 million for unfunded requirements identified by the Commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. Senator Hirono included report language directing the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment to provide a briefing on joint-use facilities to assess overall strategy, the challenges and benefits of adding ports, and cost-sharing benefits, specifically in the Freely Associated States (Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and Palau). Additionally, she added report language directing the Army Training Land Retention (ATLR) office to brief Congress on the progress of the Army’s land retention efforts in Hawaii. 
  • Oversight of Navy Shipyards and Ship Readiness: As the chair of the Seapower subcommittee, Senator Hirono worked to strengthen oversight of the Navy’s implementation of the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan (SIOP), by requiring the Navy to deliver an updated plan to Congress by September 30, 2022. The Navy’s four public shipyards—including Pearl Harbor—are critical to maintaining the readiness of the fleet around the world. Senator Hirono’s provision addresses concerns about the Navy’s current cost estimates and recent cost increases.
  • Take steps to address violent extremism: Senator Hirono and Senator Duckworth (D-IL) added a provision requiring the Secretary of Defense to submit a report to Congress with recommendations on the establishment of a separate punitive article in the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) on violent extremism. This follows news reports that indicated that some of the persons involved in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol had military experience.
  • Support military parents: Senator Hirono also included an amendment to address a long-standing policy that requires cadets and midshipmen to choose between surrendering all parental rights or disenrolling from a service academy if they become pregnant or father a child during their time of enrollment. Senator Hirono’s amendment directs the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to provide recommendations on how midshipmen or cadets enrolled at service academies can avoid disenrollment but still retain their parental rights and status as students.
  • Support the DoD civilian workforce: The FY2022 NDAA includes Senator Hirono's amendment to streamline DoD's efforts to recruit and retain qualified DoD civilian employees. Each military department has created separate civilian career programs with separate credentialing efforts which impeded internal promotion and external hiring. Senator Hirono's amendment requires DoD to streamline civilian personnel management across the Department to better support workers.
  • Investing in Military Construction: Senator Hirono worked with her colleagues on the Readiness Subcommittee to include a total of $465.52 million for Hawaii military construction projects in the NDAA. Senator Hirono fought to include authorization to fund several military construction projects in Hawaii that were left out of the President’s budget request including: 
    • $56 million for Wheeler Army Airfield’s Rotary Wing Parking Apron 
    • $84 million for Wheeler Army Airfield’s Aviation Unit 
    • $55 million for Fort Shafter’s Command and Control Facility 
    • $101.2 million for Marine Corps Base Hawaii’s Bachelor Enlisted Quarters  
    • $64.5 million for Marine Corps Base Hawaii’s Electrical Distribution Modernization 
    • $6.22 million for Marine Corps Base Hawaii’s Perimeter Security Fence 
    • $8.8 million for the Air Force Maui Optical and Supercomputing Site’s Secure Integration Support Lab 
    • $9 million for planning and design of the Homeland Defense Radar-Hawaii