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Hirono Secures Critical Priorities for Hawaii in NDAA Conference Report

Legislation includes Hirono-authored provisions to improve child safety and care in military communities, over $424 million in Hawaii military construction, and starts a 20-year investment plan to modernize Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower, successfully secured important provisions for Hawaii in the Conference Report for the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Senator Hirono served as a member of the Conference Committee, which reconciled differences between the House and Senate-passed versions of the NDAA – a bill that sets policy and funding levels for the Department of Defense and the national security programs of the Department of Energy.

“For a state where the military is a significant pillar of our economy, the NDAA is one of the most important pieces of legislation Congress passes every year and is particularly impactful for Hawaii,” Senator Hirono said. “As a member of the NDAA Conference Committee, I fought successfully to include important provisions to support service members and their families, improve conditions in military housing, invest in our security in the Indo-Pacific region, jumpstart a 20-year modernization effort at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, and provide over $424 million for critical military construction projects. I look forward to Congress’s swift passage of this legislation.”

Among the many provisions she secured in this year’s NDAA, Senator Hirono obtained and supported provisions to improve the infrastructure and capabilities of U.S. Armed Forces in the Indo-Pacific region. These include expansion of the Indo-Pacific Maritime Security Initiative, increased funding for Navy ship maintenance, and assessments of the Navy’s presence and activities in the Indo-Pacific region. 

Senator Hirono continued her advocacy for enhancements to the Department of Defense’s energy resilience efforts, and supported provisions to require each military service to maintain an Assistant Secretary for Energy, Installations, and Environment and develop military installation resilience plans.

As part of her continued work to improve military housing conditions for service members and their families, Senator Hirono secured a provision that modifies Evan’s Law to require that windows in privatized military housing 42 inches or lower off the floor be equipped with a window fall prevention device. Evan’s Law was added to the Fiscal Year 2018 NDAA following the death of a child who fell from a window in military housing in Hawaii. Inadequate access to safe, quality child care is a major stress for service members that are parents which can impact readiness. To help expand access to quality child care, Senator Hirono authored a provision that significantly reduces the length of the hiring process for qualified child care providers on military installations by expanding the direct hire authority of military housing office personnel. Both of these provisions support efforts to ensure the safety of children in military housing. Senator Hirono and her colleagues also worked to include improvements to the Department of Defense’s oversight of military housing and reforms to provide better housing conditions for service members.

Senator Hirono worked with her colleagues on the Readiness Subcommittee to include $424.578 million for Hawaii military construction projects in the NDAA. Hawaii military construction projects include:

  • $60.0 million for Fort Shafter’s Command and Control Facility
  • $65.490 million for Kaneohe Bay’s Bachelor Enlisted Quarters
  • $53.790 million for Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam’s Magazine Consolidation
  • $4.0 million for Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam to Install a 500KW Covered Parking PV System and Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
  • $67.7 million for Navy Operational Facility at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam
  • $173.598 million for the Homeland Defense Radar in Hawaii

Additional Provisions that Benefit Hawaii:

Strengthening U.S. Force Posture in the Indo-Pacific: The NDAA includes Senator Hirono’s provisions to expand the Indo-Pacific Maritime Security Initiative to include countries collectively referred to as Oceania, and strengthen our security commitments to the governments of Japan and the Republic of Korea and encourage continued trilateral cooperation. 

Continuing Support of Service members, Families, and Federal Workers:  The NDAA provides a 3.1 percent pay raise for our troops, 12 weeks of paid parental leave for all federal civilian employees, and ensures that civilian employees are not taxed for their relocation expenses when transferring to a new state or duty station as part of their federal employment. 

The bill also includes a provision that Senator Hirono supported to phase-out the requirement that a surviving spouse’s Survivor Benefit Program (SBP) benefits be reduced by the amount of Dependency Indemnity Compensation (DIC).

The Senator successfully included a provision to authorize the Secretary of Defense to allow, settle, and pay an administrative claim against the U.S. for personal injury or death as a result of medical malpractice caused by a Department of Defense health care provider.

Senator Hirono also worked to authorize $40.0 million in Impact Aid for schools with military dependent students and $10.0 million in Impact Aid for children with severe disabilities.

Strengthening Energy Resilience: Senator Hirono authored an amendment that improves the Annual Energy Management and Resilience Report, establishes targets for water and energy use efficiency, and requires a five year plan to fund the Department’s energy program offices to meet the Department’s energy resilience goals and objectives.

The Conference Report also includes Senator Hirono’s provision to award prizes as part of competitions for advanced technology achievements relevant to defense missions.

Improving Business Opportunities for Native Hawaiian Organizations: Senator Hirono worked with Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) to include a provision which raises the threshold applicable to certain Department of Defense contracts from $20 million to $100 million. 

Readiness and Environmental Protection: Senator Hirono worked to include$25.0 million for the Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative (REPI), a program that creates partnerships between the Department of Defense, state and local governments, and conservation NGOs to address factors that inhibit military training or operations.

Click here to download a detailed summary of the FY2020 NDAA Conference Report.