WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Senate today passed the final National Defense Authorization Act, which included key investments secured by U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) for Dayton and the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
Brown helped secure these funds in the House-Senate NDAA conference report, which now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law. The funds still need to be appropriated, and Brown said he will continue fighting to secure these funds in the final Defense Appropriations bill.
The bill includes:
“This bill will make sure Wright-Patt’s highly-skilled workers can continue to do their jobs and help meet our national security needs,” Brown said.
Brown continued, “PFAS materials have been associated with a variety of adverse human health effects, including birth defects and immune system dysfunction. This bill is just a start, but given the significant public health concerns related to these chemicals, I’m glad to see action taken to reduce exposure to PFAS and address any potential negative health effects contamination from these materials may have on our communities.”
DPA Increased Funding
The Manufacturing Technology Division of Wright-Patterson’s Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) helps run a key defense manufacturing program, which is housed at Wright-Patt, that allows the federal government to support defense-related manufacturing when domestic capabilities aren’t able to meet national security needs. The program was created under the Defense Production Act (DPA), and supports Ohio jobs and brings investments to the region through contracts awarded to the program. The DPA is overseen by the Senate Banking Committee, on which Brown sits as Ranking Member.
Anticipating a major increase in the need for leading edge industrial base technology projects in the next several years, identified by Pentagon planners, Brown led the effort with Sen. Crapo (R-ID), Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, to increase authorized funding under the DPA from $133 million annually to $250 million annually for the next five years. This authorization will provide an additional $117 million annually over the next five years and will help the DOD address risks to the manufacturing and defense industrial base. This funding will be used for projects across the country and will help support jobs at Wright-Patt.
Two years ago, the Department of Defense (DOD) announced plans to transfer management and program responsibilities for the DPA’s Title III program away from AFRL at Wright-Patt and house them at the Pentagon. The move could have put local jobs, investments, and active projects at risk. Following this news, Brown wrote to DOD immediately, urging it to keep DPA program managers housed at Wright-Patt.
Brown then secured language in the Senate’s NDAA bill last year that bars DOD from moving program management of DPA without Congressional approval and keeps the jobs in Ohio.
The bill would authorize more than $1.359 billion for research and development programs run out of the Air Force Research Lab’s (AFRL) Materials, Human Effectiveness, Propulsion, Aerospace Systems, Sensors and Manufacturing Directorates at Wright-Patt. This funding is critical to addressing emerging threats and strategic challenges that our men and women in uniform face.
NASIC Military Construction Funding
This bill would also authorize $120.9 million to support military construction efforts for Wright-Patt’s National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC).
Last year, Brown was able to help secure more funding for NASIC construction than ever before, when the NDAA authorized $182 million for phase one and two of NASIC’s expansion. The project received an appropriation authorization of $61 million for Fiscal Year 2019 to begin construction.
Historic Brick Quarters Housing District at Wright-Patt
The bill also authorizes more than $35.7 million to support improvements efforts for 29 of Wright-Patt’s historic Brick Quarters Housing District units. This housing on the Wright-Patt campus is in need of rehabilitation to meet current safety standards and this funding will ensure the buildings are updated to best support those living in the historic homes on the base. The Brick Officer housing was built in 1930s and was designed in the Tudor Revival style.
Ohioans in the Miami Valley are living with the presence of toxic chemicals known as PFAS contaminating their drinking water. PFAS chemicals are contaminating water supplies all over the country, and Brown has been fighting for tougher standards to crack down on this contamination and require the DOD to be more transparent with communities affected by the contamination.
The provisions in this bill will: