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National Defense Bill Passes With Schatz Language To Improve The Red Hill Facility, Provide Hawai‘i More Flexibility For Military Construction, And Measure China’s Influence In The Pacific

Defense Bill Includes More Than $300 Million for Military Construction in Hawai‘i

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report, comprehensive legislation that authorizes defense funding for Fiscal Year 2018. U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) helped secure Hawai‘i priorities and worked to include provisions he authored that will improve the Red Hill facility, give Hawai‘i and states across the country more flexibility in funding for military construction, and fund a study to assess China’s influence in the Freely Associated States and the Pacific.

“This bill, and my provisions in it, reflect our state’s importance to the greater U.S. rebalance to the Asia Pacific by addressing key military needs in Hawai‘i while also funding initiatives that will improve our communities and support our local economy,” said Senator Schatz.

The Schatz provisions are focused on:

Strengthening Oversight of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility
The NDAA conference report includes language which directs the Department of Defense (DoD) to ensure the annual budget justification materials submitted to Congress includes a description of how the DoD will request and use funds to support any deliverables that the parties of the September 2015 Administrative Order on Consent/Statement of Work that the Navy and DLA entered with the EPA and State of Hawai‘i’s Department of Health agree are necessary to ensure the continued safe operation of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility and prevent future fuel leaks into the environment, as written in Senator Schatz’s “Red Hill Oversight and Environmental Protection Act of 2017.”

Authorizing greater flexibility for military construction in Hawai‘i
Senator Schatz secured a bipartisan provision in the NDAA that authorizes the secretaries of the military services to adjust the unspecified minor military construction threshold for projects based on the area cost factor of the state—allowing states such as Hawai‘i that are constrained by high area costs to exceed the current limits allowed under current law. This practical change gives the military in Hawai‘i greater flexibility to improve facilities and develop minor projects that, because of the high cost of construction in Hawai‘i, would otherwise be forced through the formal, multi-year DoD military construction planning process.

Assessing China’s influence in the Western Pacific
Senator Schatz secured a provision in the NDAA directing the DoD to contract with an independent organization to study U.S. security and foreign policy interests in the Freely Associated States of Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia, and to assess China’s influence in these states and how that influence is affecting America’s defense and foreign policy interests.

Authorized funding for Hawai‘i includes:

  • $10.4 million for Maui space surveillance system;
  • $90 million for Fort Shafter’s Command and Control Facility; 
  • $73.2 million for the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam’s sewer lift station;
  • $65.9 million for the Navy’s communications facility in Wahiawa;
  • $19 million for the Navy’s MV-22 landing pad;
  • $5.5 million for Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam’s consolidated training facility;
  • $5 million for Wahiawa’s Kunia Tunnel Entrance;
  • $26.5 million for Marine Corps Base Hawai‘i’s Mokapu Gate; and
  • $25 million for the Army’s Pohakuloa Training Area.