Hawaii’s U.S. senators were quick to point out the benefits to the islands of a 2016 National Defense Authorization Act approved by the Senate on a 91-3 vote Tuesday.
“The defense authorization bill includes many provisions that strengthen our national defense, reinforce the need to rebalance to the Asia Pacific — through which Hawaii is central — and provide our service members with the equipment and training they need to protect America,” said Sen. Brian Schatz in a statement. “Congress worked in a bipartisan manner to find a way to authorize funding for the military’s core operations and ensure that we can continue to provide for our service members and their families.”
Schatz noted these provisions of the act:
• Prohibits the Department of Defense from conducting another Base Realignment and Closure.
• Authorizes more than $12.8 million for Maui research and development.
• Authorizes more than $203 million to sustain the military’s environmental restoration activities. “The bill authorizes funding to continue efforts to identify and remove unexploded ordnance at former military sites across the neighbor islands, ensuring that military training and activities remain in balance with Hawaii’s cultural and environmental needs,” Schatz said.
• Authorizes more than $20 million in energy conservation projects in Hawaii.
Sen. Mazie Hirono’s office also praised the act, saying in a statement that it “includes important provisions for Hawaii including funding for $444 million in Hawaii military construction projects, an increase in funding for veterans’ health care, and a provision authored by Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) and Senator Hirono to protect benefits for Filipino World War II veterans.
“Hawaii’s key role in the Asia-Pacific continues to be reflected in the NDAA and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act,” said Hirono in the release.
Hirono’s office listed the military construction projects in Hawaii funded by the bill:
• Barking Sands/Pacific Missile Range Facility Power Grid Consolidation: $30 million
• Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam UEM Interconnect Station C: $6.3 million
• Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Welding School Shop: $8.5 million
• Kaneohe Bay Airfield Lighting Modernization: $26 million
• Kaneohe Bay Bachelor Enlisted Quarters: $68 million
• Kaneohe Bay P-8A Detachment Support Facilities: $12.4 million
• Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam F-22 Fighter Alert Facility: $46 million
• Kaneohe Bay Medical/Dental Clinic Replacement: $122 million
• Schofield Barracks Behavioral Health/Dental Clinic Addition: $124 million
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