May 24, 2018

Hirono Secures Hawaii Priorities in National Defense Authorization Act

Legislation Includes Hirono Bill to Stop Domestic Abusers from Buying Guns Authorizes Over $360 Million in Hawaii Military Construction Funding

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono successfully included several provisions that will benefit Hawaii in the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill, which sets policy and funding levels for the Department of Defense and the national security programs of the Department of Energy was approved by Senator Hirono and others members of the Senate Armed Services Committee on a 25-2 vote, making it available for consideration by the full Senate.

“This year’s National Defense Authorization Act continues to highlight Hawaii’s strategic importance in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region,” Senator Hirono said. “The NDAA moves forward critical priorities, such as my amendment to stop service members who are convicted of domestic abuse from buying guns, and improves readiness and resources for our men and women in uniform. I will continue to work to advance these provisions as the bill is considered on the Senate floor. 

The NDAA includes Senator Hirono’s Military Domestic Violence Reporting Enhancement Act, which closes a dangerous loophole in the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) that enables convicted abusers to purchase firearms. The provision creates a charge of Domestic Violence under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and mandates that convictions must be reported to federal databases that would keep abusers from purchasing firearms within three days.

The Committee also passed Senator Hirono’s amendment to prohibit per diem allowance reductions for our military service members and civilian workforce, which limits their ability to be reimbursed for long-duration, mission-related travel.

Senator Hirono ensured that every Hawaii military construction project in the President’s Budget request was included in the NDAA. Senator Hirono and her colleagues were able to add two additional Hawaii projects worth about $53 million, bringing the total military construction authorization for Hawaii to over $360 million. 

Hawaii military construction projects include:

  • $105 million for Fort Shafter’s Command and Control Facility
  • $50 million for the Wheeler Army Airfield Rotary Wing Parking Apron
  • $66.1 million for the Navy’s Kaneohe Bay Corrosion Control Hanger
  • $78.32 million for Navy’s Pearl City Water Transmission Line
  • $45 million for Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam’s Drydock Waterfront Facility
  • $17 million for Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam Construction Addition to F-22 Facility
  • $2.944 million for Bellows Air Force Base Solar PV and Energy Resilience Project for Fire Crash Rescue

Hawaii priorities Senator Hirono fought to add to the NDAA include:

Enhancing Protection of the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region Through a “Whole of Government” Approach: Senator Hirono secured and supported a number of provisions that would enhance the security of Hawaii and the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. These include ensuring Pacific Command has the resources and infrastructure it needs to support the National Defense Strategy, and expanding the capacity of the Asia Maritime Security Initiative to increase partnerships and promote a whole-of-government approach for stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. 

Given the strategic importance the of the Compacts of Free Association (COFA) to the national security interests of the United States, Senator Hirono secured an amendment to support, maintain, and strengthen U.S. commitments with the Governments of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau.

Senator Hirono worked with Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) to emphasize the benefits of military training exercises with allies in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region and require a report on opportunities and detailed description of current exercises with partners in the region.

Strengthening Research Agreements with Universities: Senator Hirono included a provision that would allow installations such as the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai to directly hire STEM graduates of minority-serving institutions, such as the University of Hawaii.

Strengthening Energy Resilience: Military installations across Hawaii have been leading the way in promoting energy resilience and conservation. Drawing on lessons learned from the Army’s multi-fuel power plant at Schofield Barracks, Senator Hirono included several provisions that allow the Department of Defense to increase energy resilience and conservation projects, and encourage the Department of Defense to work with the private sector to finance and accelerate energy resilience project development on military installations.

Senator Hirono secured an amendment directing the Secretary of Defense to work with the Office of Personnel Management to establish a career path for energy management professionals.  

Senator Hirono also advocated for a number of directives to fund energy-related programs across the Defense Department, such as the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program, the Operational Energy Capability Improvement Fund, the Energy Resilience and Conservation Investment Program, and the Department of Defense Siting Clearinghouse.

Funding Anti-Corrosion Efforts: Senator Hirono was instrumental in securing a funding increase for corrosion prevention and control efforts—which are important to Hawaii as its unique environment often leads to significant corrosion of military assets such as helicopters and other aircraft.

Promoting Military Family Stability: In previous years, Senator Hirono successfully fought to include Talia’s Law in the NDAA to combat child abuse. This year, she secured a provision to increase services to prevent child abuse and other domestic violence at military installations. 

Senator Hirono also fought to increase Impact Aid funding for schools with military dependents by $40 million and for children with severe disabilities by $10 million. 

Senator Hirono also fought to increase Impact Aid funding for schools with military dependents by $40 million and for children with severe disabilities by $10 million. 

Increasing Readiness: Senator Hirono worked with the Committee to include provisions that would direct the Comptroller General to review the Navy’s shipyard improvement plan to address infrastructure deficiencies to support its 30-year force structure projections. 

Senator Hirono and Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida) amendment to create a program for the Defense Department to use military construction funds to assist state and local governments to address deficiencies in community infrastructure supportive of a military installation.  She also cosponsored a Senator Sullivan amendment which highlights the value of the Innovative Readiness Training program, encouraging the Defense Department to utilize the program to train active, reserve, and National Guard forces.

Supporting Personnel: The National Defense Strategy identifies eight critical technologies that are critical to national security— advanced computing, “big data” analytics, artificial intelligence, autonomy, robotics, directed energy, hypersonics, and biotechnology. Senator Hirono secured and amendment that requires the Department of Defense to develop a report that identifies the workforce and infrastructure needs for these technologies over the next five years.

She also cosponsored an amendment with Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) creating parity in National Guard benefits. 

Improving Health Care: Senator Hirono secured an amendment directing the Comptroller General to review the Defense Health Agency’s oversight for the transition of TRICARE managed care support contractors.