Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Paul S. Sarbanes today announced that the full Senate has approved the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs $81 billion spending bill, which includes important victories for several of Maryland's military bases. The legislation, which passed with a vote of 98-0, contains provisions providing Maryland military installations with federal dollars totaling nearly $173 million to cover new construction costs.
"We need to do everything we can to support our troops - not just with words but with deeds. Every year, I fight to make sure our military has the tools they need to keep us safe," said Senator Mikulski. "Now, more than ever, we need to take their needs to heart. I will keep fighting to make sure there is funding in the federal checkbook for our military bases."
"We've worked hard to ensure that Maryland's military installations continue to fare well in the annual appropriations process, both enhancing these state-of-the-art facilities and in making quality of life improvements at these bases," said Senator Sarbanes. "These facilities are not only important to our overall national defense, but also our State's economy, resulting in significant spillover opportunities in our hi-tech defense related sectors."
The spending bill includes funding for the following Maryland bases not included in President Bush's budget:
MARYLAND ARMY NATIONAL GUARD: Dundalk Organizational Maintenance Shop ($4.912 million)
A facility of 13,095 square feet is currently required to permit maintenance at organizational level to be performed on a fleet of 270 vehicles at the Maryland Army National Guard Facility in Dundalk, a marked increase over the 2,365 square feet at the current facility. This funding will allow major construction upgrades to the Dundalk Organizational Maintenance Shop (OMS). Without these upgrades, units would require additional maintenance which cannot be supported -negatively impacting both efficiency and mobilization readiness.
ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE: Library/Education Center ($1.188 million)
This funding will support the planning and design of an adequately sized and properly configured facility that combines both the library and educational center. This will improve the quality of services provided to the base population, which are currently inadequate to support its population. The new facility will enable the base to offer Professional Military Education, Airman Leadership School and voluntary education programs in proper classrooms.
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE: 70th Intelligence Wing Headquarters ($1.59 million)
These funds will support the planning and design of a headquarters facility for the Air Force's 70th Intelligence Wing (70 IW) at Fort Meade. The 70 IW commands more than 4,500 personnel around the world in support of the National Security Agency's worldwide mission. Wing personnel conduct intelligence, security and information. A new Headquarters and operations facility would consolidate the commanders and senior staff of the 70 IW, the 694 IG and six squadrons into one facility. The new facility provides 20,000 square feet of high security Special Compartmented Information Facility workspace and satisfies the command and control requirements for this worldwide wing. In addition, construction of this facility would again make available 60 critically needed dorm rooms for use by single airmen.
Additional Maryland projects include:
* $24.93 million for Phase I of the Wesley Brown Field House at the United States Naval Academy
* $5.8 million for the Multi-Mission Maritime Aircraft Test Facility at Patuxent River Naval Air Station
* $40.7 million for Phase II of the Presidential Helicopter Programs Support Facility at Patuxent River Naval Air Station
* $10.35 million for an Academic Program Center/GSN at USUHS Graduate School of Nursing
* $34 million for the Joint Medical Logistics Center at Fort Detrick
* $21.2 million for the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) Sterilization Plant at Fort Detrick
* $12.03 million for Classified Material Conversion facility at the National Security Agency at Fort Meade
* $12.009 million for the FANX Generator Plant at the National Security Agency at Fort Meade
* $4.010 million for the South Campus Mail Facility at the National Security Agency at Fort Meade
In the next step of the appropriations process, the House and Senate will meet in Conference Committee to work out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. Both Houses of Congress will vote on the conference bill. Once passed by the House and Senate, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs bill will go to the President for his signature.
Senator Mikulski is a member of the Appropriations Committee and the senior Democrat on the Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee. Senator Sarbanes is the senior Democrat on the Banking Committee.