Funding will Benefit St. Mary's County and Southern Maryland
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Fiscal Year 2006 Defense Appropriations bill today that contains millions in funding important to Patuxent River Naval Air Station and Southern Maryland at the request of Congressman Hoyer.
"A few weeks ago, the House of Representatives passed the Military Quality of Life Appropriations bill for FY 06 which included funds to complete the construction of the VXX facility, one of the largest single programs at Pax River, and to construct a facility at Pax that will support a key component of the Navy's maritime surveillance. Those funds reinforced the decision made by the Pentagon in its BRAC recommendations, that Pax River is one of the premier Naval aviation research, development, evaluation and testing facilities in the nation.
"Once again, the House has recognized the vital programs at Pax River, and those being developed by the many skilled defense contractors in Southern Maryland in today's bill. Pax River is home to some of our nation's finest technicians and engineers and it is a testament to their work that millions of dollars were included in this bill for the many programs at Pax.
"These programs are not only important to our state's economy, but will further enhance the technical testing capabilities at Pax and keep it at the forefront of defense systems research, testing and development. Pax River 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 Pax River 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.
Advanced Maritime Technology Center, $3 million This funding will upgrade the Maritime Facility at Patuxent River to an Advanced Maritime Technology Center (AMTC) and will take advantage of the world class facilities at Pax River to meet the needs for new and emerging technologies of both military and Federal agencies supporting Homeland Defense. This funding will allow Pax to upgrade this facility so that they can use their technical expertise to improve the performance of small maritime combatant craft by miniaturizing the critical navigational, communications and sensor equipment needed on these boats in the same way they do for aircraft. Last year, Congressman Hoyer secured $1.9 million for this project.
ACETEF Upgraded RDT&E Capability, $3 million The Air Combat Environment Test and Evaluation Facility (ACETEF) is the most advanced installed systems test facility in the world, and it enables Pax River to put aircraft and other systems through many different situations or combat environments before getting to the point of validation - which is the actual flight on an open air range or field testing. To meet increasingly complex threats, the U.S. military is transforming from a strategy based on threats to a strategy based on capabilities. This transformation requires sophisticated modeling, simulation and analysis at research, development testing and evaluation (RDT&E) and Training Range facilities, like ACETEF. This funding will be used to upgrade and support RDT&E at ACETEF which will support missions across all Naval and Joint warfighting communities.
Distributed Common Ground System-Navy, $4 Million The past several years prove the need for persistent Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) for our armed forces. They require real-time information to gain decision superiority and dominate the battle space. This funding will be used to make operational a Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS) node at the Patuxent River Naval Air Warfare Center. DCGS is a globally integrated information technology enterprise that will provide continuous on-demand intelligence so that American and coalition forces can change the course of events in hours, minutes or even seconds. It will provide physical and electronic distribution of ISR data, processes, and systems. The integration of advanced naval communications and related networking technologies, along with associated software applications, is a critical future step towards demonstrating a time-critical and network-centric warfare capability. The planned enhancements will enable the DCGS node to access real-time, multi-intelligence data simultaneously from a broad range of sensors platforms, such as the U-2 and Global Hawk.
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.
SureTrak, $2 Million Developed by the U.S. Navy at the Patuxent River NAWCAD, SureTrak was originally developed at Pax for the Coast Guard to track movements in U.S. ports. The system has now been improved and enhanced to track other activities in larger bodies, such as the Chesapeake Bay. The system employs a sophisticated alarms module and a fully integrated database that can be used to alert operators to developing situations or immediate threats and is an important tool for national security. SureTrak provides full remote control capability for the sensors and distributes sensor data in real-time to commercial-off-the-shelf computer workstations located at remote facilities. The use of Windows style pull-down menus throughout the system provides for a fast and familiar interface. This funding will support further development of the SureTrak program.
Perimeter Security Technology Program, $1.5 Million In the last ten years, the United States has come to a crossroads with terrorism caused by attacks by land (Oklahoma City, Khobar Towers, U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania), sea (USS Cole) and air (World Trade Center, Pentagon). While Department of Defense agencies have a constant interest in Force Protection, The Homeland Security Administration and other government agencies face the challenge of protecting vast U.S. critical infrastructure resources domestically and abroad. Many of these critical resources, such as chemical demilitarization sites, have to be guarded by Reservists whose skills would be better utilized in support of counterterrorism efforts at home and abroad. While many initiatives by the Department of Defense pursue technologies for automatic video surveillance, there are many new products that have yet to be integrated that fulfill the most critical need of creating Perimeter Security Technology for intelligent automated digital video surveillance of critical infrastructures. This program would help address this need.
NAVAIR DECKPLATE, $1 Million In FY02, the Naval Aviation Logistics Data Analysis program began development of a "data warehouse" as part of an effort to provide one, centralized Navy Aviation Logistics Database and Management Information System. Since that time, the Naval Air Systems Command has expanded the Maintenance Data Warehouse program to apply the sophistication of enterprise-wide data mining and decision support to the readiness of Naval assets and commands. Through this process, squadron commanders and other officials will have new insight into the state of readiness of units and material, the ability to identify maintenance trends, the capability to predict weaknesses and potential failures, and the means to prevent costly accidents and downtime. This system is now known as DECKPLATE (DECision Knowledge Programming for Logistics Analysis and Technical Evaluation). Currently, DECKPLATE continues its expansion of the existing data warehouse to support additional types of maintenance data. This funding will continue this Program at the NAVAIR System Command in Patuxent River, MD.
Warfare Analysis Environment, $4 Million This funding will be used by MANTECH in St. Mary's County to develop a Warfare Analysis Environment (WAE). WAE will provide a unique collaborative environment to understand future system requirements, explore new concepts, and evaluate solutions and will directly support many Naval programs. This investment will leverage the existing assets and capabilities of the ACETEF at Pax River, allowing various future threat scenarios to be evaluated prior to the development and acquisition of systems. WAE further expands the labs and facilities of ACETEF at Pax to make the most of existing and conceptual systems for more effective combat use.
Human Systems Design Support Tool, $3 Million This funding will be used for the Human System Design Support Tool development at NAWCAD, Patuxent River, Maryland. Focus will be on development of NAVAIR unique requirements for crew system integration and aviation unit size control. Areas of emphasis will be data collection and analysis, enhancement of existing and development of new systems engineering tools and integrating them with NAVAIRSYSCOM simulation and flight test resources. For platforms and aircrews, the key to success is crew-centered systems engineering. For "rightsizing" aviation units, the key is life cycle cost management under valid and fully informed engineering requirements and design constraints. Application of the new tool resource will result in greatly improved crew-centered design for dominant maritime combat power. The impact on aviation unit size control will assure cost effective readiness today and in the redesigned ships of the future fleet. Success will generate a minimum of 5% crew-size savings with increased assurance that the needed personnel numbers and skills are still available.