WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman John Hostettler (IN-08) voted this week in support H.R. 5122, The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 396 to 31. H.R. 5122 authorizes Department of Defense activities and programs for fiscal year 2007. Included in this legislation are several key provisions added by John Hostettler, a member of the House Armed Services Committee.
"The number one obligation of our federal government is to defend the nation. And at a time when we find ourselves engaged in military conflicts around the globe, we need to ensure that our warfighters have the very best that we can provide them as they make daily sacrifices for our country," said Hostettler.
This legislation authorizes $512.9 billion for the Armed Forces. It includes a 2.7 percent across-the-board pay raise for members of the military, $50 billion in emergency funding for our warfighters, an increase of $390 million for continued production of enhanced body armor and body armor components, and additional funding for force-protection needs, including up-armored Humvees, improvised ex-plosive device (IED) jammers, and Humvee IED protection kits and gunner protection kits.
It provides for increases of 30,000 Army and 5,000 Marine Corps active duty personnel and also adds $735 million to the Defense Health Program. Additionally, it provides an extra $100 million for Army recruiting and retention bonuses.
The bill also blocks the Department of Defense's proposed TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Standard fee increases and zeroes out co-pays for generic and formulary mail order prescriptions for military beneficiaries.
H.R. 5122 includes two important provisions authored by Hostettler. The first Hostettler provision establishes a fellowship program that seeks to establish and fund research projects in areas of interest to our Special Operations Forces.
"Special Operations Forces have become dramatically important, especially at a time when U.S. forces find themselves engaged in conflicts against insurgents and terrorists who don't represent an army or nation," commented Hostettler, "and we need to encourage our nation's best and brightest military scholars to focus on critical research needs. My new fellowship program will nurture and cultivate the kind of scholarship that will help the U.S. Special Operations Command."
The second Hostettler provision would make it the policy of the United States to prevent destabilizing arms transfers to the People's Republic of China by denying Defense Department procurement contracts to foreign companies that sell China banned munitions.
Finally, H.R. 5122 also includes funding requested by Hostettler for new and ongoing projects at the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center and the Crane Army Ammunition Activity:
- $6 million for ammunition peculiar outloading modules for Crane Army Ammunition Activity.
- $6.2 million for supercritical water oxidation demilitarization system for Crane Army Ammunition Activity.
- $10 million for the Emerging Critical Interconnection Technology (ECIT) Program.
- $2.5 million for High Energy Lithium Battery technology for defense applications.
- $6.7 million for Special Weapons Assessment Facility. This 7,200-square foot facility will provide an adequate indoor facility to safely fire weapons into Crane's outdoor range.
- $4 million in operations and maintenance funding for the SOF Laser Acquisition Marker program.