The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Fiscal Year 2006 Defense Appropriations bill today that contains funding important to Indian Head Naval Surface Warfare Center and Southern Maryland at the request of Congressman Steny Hoyer.
"A few weeks ago, the House of Representatives passed the Military Quality of Life Appropriations bill for FY 06 which included funds to construct the Joint EOD Technical Support Center at Indian Head at Congressman Hoyer's request as this funding was not included in the President's defense funding request. This funding reinforced the decision made by the Pentagon in its BRAC recommendations, that Indian Head is the nation's premier Naval energetics facility.
"Once again, the House has recognized the vital programs at Indian Head, home to some of our nation's finest scientists and engineers. It is a testament to their work that millions of dollars were included in this bill for three important programs at Indian Head. And, it is particularly important to note that these projects will help prepare Indian Head for its long-term success by helping to produce the next generation of energetics experts, ensuring that all personnel on the base are safe by enhancing the firefighting infrastructure, and developing state-of-the-art new energetics technology.
"These programs are not only important to our state's economy, but will further enhance the technical testing capabilities at Indian Head and keep it at the forefront of energetics testing and development. Indian Head continues to play a vital role in our national security and these funds reflect that status."
"I will work to ensure that this funding remains in the final legislation that will be signed in to law later this year," concluded Hoyer.
The funding that will benefit Indian Head included in the Department of Defense Appropriations bill passed today is listed below. The Senate must now pass the Fiscal Year 2006 Department of Defense Appropriations bill and then the differences between the two bills must be worked out in a Conference Committee before the bill may become law.
Center for Energetic Concepts Development (CECD), $4 Million Energetic innovations have provided America's military with new weapons, like the thermobaric 'cave busting' bomb, to meet unforeseen military objectives, such as the assault on the al Qaeda caves in Afghanistan. In order to maintain future dominance in military energetics, it is imperative for the U.S. Navy to develop its next-generation energetics workforce to offset the loss of the critical mass of its current energetics workforce, one-third of which are nearing retirement age. To prevent this impending energetics workforce crisis, in 1998 the Navy and the University of Maryland established the Center for Energetic Concepts Development (CECD), the nation's only advanced full spectrum education program to address research and development in energetics. Working in collaboration with the Naval Academy, the Naval Post Graduate School (Monterey, CA), and other institutions, this successful energetics workforce revitalization program is developing a new energetics workforce to meet the Navy's future tactical requirements and provide both the DOD and related private industry with the intellectual capital required to maintain America's energetics dominance and an ability to counter new ordnance developed by adversaries. This education program is a tremendous advantage to ensuring Indian Head has a wealth of expertise and the future intellectual capital necessary to maintain the advanced capabilities making this installation a critical asset to our military.
The Expeditionary Fire Support System (EFSS), $13 Million The EFSS is a land-based fire-support system for the U.S. Marine Corps that will provide flexible and responsive support for maritime maneuver warfare and will be capable of operating effectively in any environment against a wide range of potential adversaries. It is capable of accurately striking targets over 60 kilometers away. The EFSS is a lighter, more mobile and lethal organic fire support system that can be vertically transported, is well suited for missions requiring speed and provides close-in fire support to enhance the commander's tactical agility. This funding, which was increased over the President's request at the request of Congressman Hoyer will support the development of this System at Indian Head.
Naval District Washington Firefighting, $1.5 Million This funding, which was included in the bill at the request of Congressman Hoyer and was not requested by the President, will help address some of the serious funding shortfalls projected for firefighting operations at facilities within the Naval District Washington (NDW), including Patuxent River, Indian Head, US Naval Academy, Chesapeake Beach, Carderock, St. Inigoes and Dahlgren. Significant shortfalls exist for personnel, operations and equipment needs at all of the facilities throughout the NDW, and the ability of these federal firefighters to adequately protect the military personnel and equipment at these facilities is being dangerously diminished by these funding gaps. This funding will begin addressing these urgent needs and ensure the safety at our region's Naval facilities. Last year, Congressman Hoyer secured $1.1 million to purchase three fire vehicles for the NDW, one at Dahlgren, one at Bolling and one at Indian Head.