U.S. SENATE News:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies opened a hearing Wednesday to review the Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Request for Military Construction and Family Housing.
Testimony and an archived video of the full hearing are available here.
Witnesses appearing in Wednesday’s hearing include:
- Paul Cramer, Performing the Duties of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations & Environment;
- Vice Admiral Ricky Williamson, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Fleet Readiness and Logistics;
- Lieutenant General Edward Banta, Deputy Commandant, Installations & Logistics, United States Marine Corps;
- Lieutenant General Jason Evans, Deputy Chief of Staff, G-9, Installations, United States Army;
- Lieutenant General Warren Berry, Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Engineering, and Force Protection, United States Air Force; and
- Bruce Hollywood, Associate Chief Operations Officer, United States Space Force.
Sen. Heinrich’s remarks:
Good afternoon, everyone.
This hearing of the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee is now called to order.
The purpose of this hearing is to receive testimony from representatives of the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the military services regarding their fiscal year 2023 military construction and family housing budget requests.
This year, with the addition of a witness from the Space Force, our hearing will consist of two panels.
Our first panel includes witnesses from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Navy, and the Marine Corps.
The second panel will consist of witnesses from the Army, the Air Force, and the Space Force.
I’d like to thank our first panel of witnesses for being here today:
- From OSD, Mr. Paul Cramer, Performing the Duties of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations, and Environment.
- From the Navy, Vice Admiral Ricky Williamson, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Fleet Readiness and Logistics,
- and Marine Corps Lieutenant General Edward Banta, Deputy Commandant for Installations and Logistics
This year the Department has sent over a budget request of $12.15 billion for the military construction and family housing accounts, a 23 percent increase over last year’s request.
It is also the highest request level since Fiscal Year 2012.
That said, the Department has relied on and apparently will continue to look towards Congressional increases year over year to get at the true MilCon funding needs.
While it is clear more needs to be done, I am encouraged to see DOD continuing to increase its request.
This year’s request includes a significant investment in several major infrastructure programs.
The Navy is asking for nearly $1.2 billion for three construction projects and $88 million in design funding supporting the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program.
In recent years, this Committee has been supportive of the Navy’s effort to overhaul our four public shipyards and we will continue to keep a close eye on the program.
The Marine Corps has identified $330 million to continue the construction of a new base on Guam.
The Air Force request addresses several new missions and includes over $200 million for projects supporting B-21 beddown and $444 million in funding for Ground Based Strategic Deterrent infrastructure.
We know that each of these programs will require many years of dedicated funding.
I am pleased that the request includes $553 million for the Energy Resilience and Conservation Investment Program [ER-CIP], the highest amount since the creation of the program.
The request underscores this Administration’s commitment to investing in critical energy resilience projects and a clear understanding of their tie to readiness.
I will also note that the Future Years Defense Program shows continued increases to the ER-CIP account year over year.
Given the clear demand for and increased complexity and cost of projects, I expect the Department to hold to that plan.
I have been vocal about the need for the United States to embrace and accelerate electrification, and I am encouraged by the Army’s commitment to install a microgrid on every installation by 2035.
While each service, and indeed installation, is unique in its energy needs, I expect that each of you is looking closely at how to build more resilient, efficient, and clean energy – and water – systems.
I look forward to hearing from you on that subject today.
The request also includes significant investments in our overseas posture.
For design and construction of infrastructure supporting the European Deterrence Initiative, the request provides $430 million.
The Administration also asked for over $1.2 billion for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative.
At the same time, the need for recapitalization of existing facilities continues to grow.
This year, we received unfunded priority lists from the services and defense-wide agencies that total nearly $4 billion.
Many of the projects that were pushed out of the budget support enduring missions and quality of life investments, such as construction of new troop and family housing, child development centers, and critical training and maintenance infrastructure.
We continue to see facilities age, often held together by short-term maintenance fixes, while the complexity of our infrastructure grows, and global market volatility drives up costs.
The vulnerability of this aging infrastructure to climate, cyber, and energy threats also cannot be understated.
As such I must note that the request once again clearly prioritizes new mission infrastructure over current mission and existing facility recapitalization.
I look forward to hearing about the installation investment strategies across the Department.
With that, I will thank our witnesses again for being here today.
I will now turn it over to Ranking Member Boozman for his opening statement.