Cole, House Vote for 2004 Defense Spending Bill
Washington DC- Yesterday Congressman Tom Cole voted to provide a total of $368.2 billion in funding to the Department of Defense through the FY 2004 Defense Appropriations Conference Agreement (H.R. 2658). This amount is $3.8 billion more than what was appropriated for FY 2003.
"I believe this conference agreement focuses on our defense priorities by increasing funding for ballistic missile defense, special operation forces, ground force modernization and chemical and biological defense initiatives," Congressman Tom Cole said.
"An important component of the conference agreement for Oklahoma is the full funding of the Army's Future Combat Systems. I am especially pleased that the non-line-of-sight cannon was segmented into a separate program unit and designated a special interest item, which helps guarantee full funding for the project," Congressman Tom Cole said.
For FY 2004, the conferees directed that $353,242,000 of the funds requested for the Future Combat Systems be made available only for non-line-of-sight cannon (NLOS-C).
The Defense Appropriations Conference Agreement funds an average 4.1 percent military personnel pay raise and a targeted pay raise for mid-career officers and senior non-commissioned officers. It provides $128 million for the continuation of increased rates for Imminent Danger Pay and Family Separation Allowances.
"We have a great responsibility to the men and women who every day make sacrifices on behalf of our country, " Congressman Cole said. "It was very important to make sure that our men and women currently serving overseas continued receiving danger pay and family separation pay."
This bill also provides almost $17 million dollars for defense related projects in Oklahoma's Fourth Congressional District. Congressman Cole worked to include these projects specifically for Oklahoma in H.R. 2658.
The following have been included in the FY 2004 Defense Appropriations Conference Agreement:
$2.5 Million for Operations and Maintenance for the Air Force's L-SMART (Logistics-System Management and Retrieval Technology) Information System. This system is needed to reduce the time personnel spend accessing databases for functions such as time keeping, material ordering, parts inventory and control of non-conforming material.
$1.5 Million in RDTE (Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation) for the Air Force's Tele-operated Semiautonomous Robot/Aging Aircraft Maintenance Program. Because current procedures are costly and extremely hazardous, this technology would work inside fuel tanks of B-52H's to remove the older fuel tank coatings and apply a new coating.
$1.2 Million in RDTE for Defense Wide for the Diminishing Manufacturing Source Program.
$3.5 Million for the procurement of E-8 Joint STARS Engines, which will provide funds to purchase new engines for the aircraft.
$1.5 Million in RDTE, Defense-Wide for Improved Suborbital Operations. This funds a program in the Norman area to do suborbital reconnaissance.
$1.2 Million in RDTE for a project under the Air Force for the Center for Aircraft and System/Support Infrastructure. These funds will be used to create supportive infrastructure requirements for aircraft.
$4.5 Million for LEAn Depot Engine Repair at Tinker Air Force Base. The re-engineering of jet engine maintenance focuses on seamless data flow, improvements in parts tracking, workload scheduling, and development of lean product-line models and modification of the facility layout.
§ $1 Million for the Center for the Study of Human Operator Performance (C-SHOP) at the University of Oklahoma. The C-SHOP will develop, distribute and support technology to assess warfighter functional capability.
"These projects will be a great boost for Oklahoma, and will also help create a stronger, more effective and efficient military. By providing funding for these projects we are equipping our men and women in uniform with the resources they need to defend our country. I am pleased that these funds were included in the final conference agreement," Congressman Cole said