Mississippi Senator Votes with Committee to Send National Security Bill to Senate for Passage

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today voted for committee passage of the FY2020 Defense Appropriations Bill with a $20 billion funding increase to protect U.S. national security interests and Mississippi’s role in that mission. 

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved a measure that provides $694.9 billion to support U.S. Defense Department priorities, including military readiness, innovation, and military personnel.  The bill represents a $20 billion increase over the FY2019 funding level for national defense programs.

“The significant demands placed on our military continue to grow in complexity.  This bill continues our goal to rebuild our military to meet existing and future threats.  It will allow the Department of Defense to ensure the men and women who protect us are the best trained and equipped fighters in the world,” Hyde-Smith said.  

“Mississippi makes substantial contributions to our national security.  Funding in the Senate bill reflects that fact, whether it’s shipbuilding, aircraft manufacturing, unmanned technologies, or high performance computing,” she said.  “I’m committed to seeing that this important legislation becomes law without unnecessary delays.”

Hyde-Smith requested and secured additional funding for high-priority U.S. Navy shipbuilding requirements.  Aircraft manufacturing interests in Mississippi will participate in various military aircraft procurement and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) programs.  

The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg will utilize funding in the Senate bill for the Army’s high performance computing modernization program and other research initiatives.  Research universities in Mississippi will also benefit from the Senate bill’s focus on basic and advanced research carried out at U.S. universities to develop “transformational technologies.”

Overall, the committee-passed bill supports a 3.1 percent military pay increase, the largest in a decade.  The measure makes significant investments in basic research and future technologies such as hypersonics, 5G, artificial intelligence, missile defense, and cybersecurity.

It also provides $1.7 billion for emergency designated funding supporting disaster recovery expenses related to Hurricanes Michael and Florence, flooding, and earthquakes occurring in FY2019.
The FY2020 Defense Appropriations Bill now advances to the full Senate for consideration.  

The following are FY2020 Defense Appropriations Bill funding highlights of projects involving Mississippi:

Shipbuilding – $24.4 billion, a $600 million increase, to fund high priority shipbuilding and industrial base programs for the U.S. Navy.

  • LPD amphibious warship – $747.1 million to fund the advance procurement of the LPD amphibious warship.
  • LHA-9 amphibious assault ship – $650 million for construction of the LHA-9 amphibious assault ship.
  • DDG-51 – $390 million increase for long lead time material for FY2021 to fund the Arleigh Burke Class DDG-51 Flight III ships.
  • Advanced Components for Shipbuilding Programs – $15 million increase to develop materials for submarine propulsor applications in support the Navy’s Future Submarine Force requirements and $15 million for advanced materials and manufacturing for naval hovercraft.

Aircraft Procurement and Development

  • UH-72 Lakota Light Utility Helicopter – $45.6 million overall increase to support procurement of additional three aircraft, which are built in Columbus.  Additionally, $17.6 million provided for life cycle sustainment and produce improvement of UH-72 Lakota Light Utility Helicopter program.
  • Ultra-long Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicles – $15 million to enable the Air Force to continue development of long endurance platforms to meet urgent operational demands from Combatant Commanders.  This work will also involve work done in Columbus.

High Performance Computing Modernization Program – $224.7 million, $40.0 million increase, for the Army’s high performance computing modernization program. These funds are critical for the viability of ERDC and directly affect the Mississippi State University (MSU) high performance computing program.
Army Research Activities – 12.1 percent overall increase above the FY2019 enacted level, to support Army research at ERDC, which involves multiple projects and partners.  Projects include polymer development, Sensing Technologies for Rapid Hazard Detection, Micrometeorological-Soil Synthetic Test Environment, and UAS Mounted Hostile Threat Detection.

National Guard Counter-Drug Schools – $25 million for the National Guard Counterdrug Schools.  This is an important initiative for the Regional Counterdrug Training Academy at Naval Air Station Meridian.