December 19, 2013

HIRONO ATTACHES KEY MEASURES FOR HAWAII TO DEFENSE BILL THAT HEADS TO PRESIDENT OBAMA

Bill Includes Hirono Bipartisan Measures To Protect Hawaii National Guard’s Eagle Vision System, Promote Telehealth Programs For Neighbor Island Veterans

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono, a member of the Senate Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs committees, voted today to pass the Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act and send it to President Obama for his signature. The bill provides more than $400 million in military construction projects in Hawaii. Military installations including Fort Shafter, Pearl Harbor and Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe will receive funds. Hirono also worked with Republican colleagues to attach key measures to the bill, successfully working with Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in an effort to protect the Hawaii National Guard’s Eagle Vision System. She also partnered with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) to promote the implementation of telehealth programs in the military which could help make these vital health services available for neighbor island service members and veterans.

“As home to the U.S. Pacific Command, Hawaii is our nation’s gateway and plays a key role in our military’s rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region. The bipartisan bill headed to President Obama provides Hawaii with strategic investments that keep our forces strong and ready while creating jobs in state. I am also proud to work with my Republican colleagues to attach important measures for Hawaii that help protect the Hawaii National Guard’s Eagle Vision System and promote telehealth programs for neighbor island veterans,” said Senator Hirono.

The bill does not authorize a new round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC). It includes a compromise on Guantanamo, which eases the transfer of GTMO detainees overseas, while retaining prohibitions on transfers to the United States. It also includes a number of reforms to address the problem of sexual assault in the military, including a change to Article 32 proceedings that Hirono cosponsored to protect survivors from humiliating, invasive interrogation. The bill ultimately did not include the Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA), legislation that would have removed the chain of command’s sole decision-making power over whether cases move forward to trial. Hirono has been a strong supporter of the MJIA and had worked with a diverse coalition of colleagues to have the measure included as an amendment. Moving forward, Hirono will continue to push for this measure as a stand-alone bill.

Key provisions for Hawaii include:

More Than $400 Million For Military Construction Projects In Hawaii:
Hawaii will receive more than $400 million in military construction projects. Projects include a command and control facility at Fort Shafter, a submarine production support facility at Pearl Harbor, and an aircraft hangar at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay.

  • Army: Hawaii $70,000,000
    • Fort Shafter: Command and Control Facility: $70,000,000
  • Navy: Hawaii $325,080,000
    • Kaneohe Bay 3rd Radio Battalion Maintenance/Operations Complex: $25,336,000
    • Kaneohe Bay Aircraft Maintenance Expansion: $16,968,000
    • Kaneohe Bay Aircraft Maintenance Hangar Upgrades: $31,820,000
    • Kaneohe Bay Armory Addition and Renovation: $12,952,000
    • Kaneohe Bay Aviation Simulator Modernization/Addition: $17,724,000
    • Kaneohe Bay Mv–22 Hangar: $57,517,000
    • Kaneohe Bay Mv–22 Parking Apron and Infrastructure: $74,665,000
    • Pearl City Water Transmission Line: $30,100,000
    • Pearl Harbor Drydock Waterfront Facility: $22,721,000
    • Pearl Harbor Submarine Production Support Facility: $35,277,000
  • Air Force: Hawaii $4,800,000
    • Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam C-17 Modernize Hangar 35, Docks 1&2: $4,800,000
  • Def-Wide Hawaii: $5,415,000
    • Ford Island DISA Pacific Facility Upgrades: $2,615,000
    • Joint Base Pearl Harbor Alter Warehouse Space: $2,800,000


Telehealth Implementation in the Military Health System:
Telehealth is an innovative approach to helping those suffering from conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and is especially important for veterans living in rural areas where access to mental health treatment is limited. The Department of Defense is required to study how to integrate telehealth into the military health care system, as well as issue a report on the current status of initiatives and the privacy concerns and challenges of implementing telehealth.

Eagle Vision System is Protected:
The Hawaii National Guard is one of five units around the country which operates the Eagle Vision imagery ground station, which helps monitor Hawaii and surrounding waters via satellite. This provision protects the program from funding cuts until the Chief of Staff of the Air Force submits a report on this program to congressional defense committees for careful evaluation.

11 Acres Conveyed To Navy Hale Keiki School:

The Navy is authorized to convey approximately 11 acres of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to the Navy Hale Keiki School, a nonprofit school that serves a significant number of Air Force and Navy children from preschool through fourth grade. This will enable the school to purchase the land at a fair market value.

$150 Million For The Energy Conservation Investment Program:
The Department of Defense’s Energy Conservation Investment Program will receive $150 million. Hawaii was granted $15.8 million for energy conservation projects at Camp Smith, Tripler Army Medical Center and Joint Base Pearl Harbor - Hickam.

Reviews of Appropriate Manpower Performance:
The Secretary of Defense will be required to certify that all contractor positions performing governmental functions will be eliminated. It would extend the mandate from FY 2010 that prohibits civilians from holding positions that by law cannot be done by the private sector. The Department of Defense Inspector General will provide an assessment of the inventory and resolve issues from previous reviews.

Operationally Responsive Space Report:
An amendment to the bill was added that would prohibit the spending of funds until a required report regarding a potential mission that would seek to leverage all the policy objectives of the Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) Program was presented to the congressional defense committees. An ORS mission with the University of Hawaii is expected to launch out of the Pacific Missile Range Facility in 2014.

TRICARE Prime Eligibility:
A provision was included to regulate the authorization of beneficiaries who opt-in to the TRICARE Prime program. Beneficiaries will be required to remain in the same ZIP code that they resided in at the time they signed up for the opt-in. The amendment also clarifies that the Secretary may determine whether to maintain a TRICARE network of providers in an area that is between 40 and 100 miles of a military medical treatment facility.