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 to advance a defense funding bill that represents a $20 billion increase in funding for the U.S Department of Defense to meet current, emerging, and future threats to American national security.

The Senate Appropriations Committee, on which Hyde-Smith serves, approved the FY2019 Defense Appropriations Bill, which includes $675 billion—$20 billion more than the FY2018 funding level—for national defense activities.  The bill passed 30-1.

“This is a strong bill that delivers essential funding to rebuild and modernize our military.  It focuses on traditional security needs like ship and aircraft procurement, while also emphasizing forward-looking technologies and research to maintain our military edge,” Hyde-Smith said.  “This bill is very good for Mississippi universities and other operations that have important roles in helping achieve our national defense goals.

“I commend Chairman Shelby and Vice Chairman Leahy for writing a responsible bill that will get us closer to the President’s goal of rebuilding our American military.  We must remain focused on providing the necessary resources year-over-year so our Armed Forces can plan and invest in a way that maximizes taxpayers’ dollars,” she said. 

The FY2019 Defense Appropriations Bill is now available for consideration by the full Senate.  Approval of this measure, as well as the FY2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill, completes the committee’s aggressive schedule to pass all 12 funding bills before July 4.

The committee-passed defense bill increases funding for military readiness, missile defense, and procurement, while also providing new resources for hypersonics, microelectronics, artificial intelligence, and other initiatives needed to protect long-term U.S. interests.

The bill also funds a 2.6 percent military pay raise, the largest increase for servicemembers in nearly 10 years.

Mississippi will benefit from additional funding provided for high-priority U.S. Navy shipbuilding requirements.  Likewise military aircraft procurement funding for all the services will affect the state’s aircraft manufacturing industry.

The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg will utilize funding in the Senate bill for 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 research carried out at U.S. universities to develop “transformational technologies.”

The following are highlights of some of the FY2019 defense funding involving work in Mississippi:

Shipbuilding – $2.3 billion in additional funding for high priority shipbuilding and industrial base programs for the U.S. Navy.

•    LPD amphibious warship – $500 million to fund the advance procurement of the LPD.

•    LHA-9 amphibious assault ship – $350 million for construction of the LHA-9.

•    Arleigh Burke Class DDG-51 Destroyer – $5.81 billion to support DDG-51 Destroyer construction, including $250 million in advance procurement to purchase an additional DDG-51 in 2020.

•    Advanced Components for Shipbuilding Programs – $15 million to develop the Navy’s Advanced Materials Propeller program in support of requirements of the Future Submarine Force.

Aircraft Procurement – $42.2 billion overall for the procurement of military aircraft, including high priority programs across the services. 

•    UH-72 Lakota Light Utility Helicopter – $20 million above the budget request to upgrade the UH-72 Lakota Light Utility Helicopter, which is built in Columbus.  

•    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.

Research – $2.8 billion overall for basic, nonmedical research for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Department of Defense.

•    High Performance Computing Modernization Program – $218 million, a $35 million increase, for the Army’s high performance computing modernization program. These funds are critical for the viability of ERDC and also directly affects the Mississippi State University (MSU) high performance computing program.

•    Army Research Activities – $69 million to support Army research at ERDC involving multiple projects such as polymer development (University of Southern Mississippi), advanced 3D printing technology, and next generation unmanned systems research (MSU).

•    Combat Vehicle Weight Reduction Initiative – $10 million to support improved design materials and configuration of the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) to achieve weight reduction.  This initiative involves MSU.

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