Washington D.C. – Tactical Air and Land Forces Markup Subcommittee Ranking Member Silvestre Reyes made the following statement at today’s Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittee markup:

“The Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittee has a long history of working in a bipartisan fashion to complete its portion of the Chairman’s mark for the National Defense Authorization Act.  I am pleased to say that this year Chairman Bartlett has continued this tradition by presenting a thoughtful, balanced package for members to consider.

“This proposal strikes the right balance between meeting today’s critical military needs and setting the stage for the future.   It supports our troops as they continue to fight overseas, invests in new technologies for the future, and protects vital military equipment production capacity here at home.  It makes targeted, good-government reductions in some areas while reinvesting those funds to meet other critical needs.

“I am especially pleased with how it supports current and future US Army needs.  The Army has borne the brunt of the fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, and this proposal puts the Army on a path to strengthen readiness and build new capability.

“For example, the Chairman’s mark fully funds the Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle program at $884 million, provides $2.0 billion for upgrading the Army’s tactical communications networks, increases funding for Abrams tanks by $272 million, increases funding for Bradley Fighting Vehicles by $153 million, provides $633 million for Stryker vehicles and upgrades, provides $6.6 billion for helicopters, UAVs, and other aviation platforms, and provides an increase of $225 million for the National Guard and Reserve Equipment account.

“The increased funding for M1 Abrams tank and M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle production is especially important, in my view, because it will delay a possible shutdown of both production lines.  The Army intends to have both of these vehicles in its inventory for decades to come, so it is absolutely critical that the industrial base of production, parts suppliers, and repair facilities is preserved for future needs.  Keeping the production lines running will also result in a more capable fleet of Army combat vehicles in the future, which ensures our troops will have the very best equipment available.

“The Chairman’s mark also provides robust funding for other service needs.  The Marine Corps base budget procurement request for $1.4 billion is fully funded, including upgrades to light armored vehicles, additional UAVs, and tactical communications equipment.  The Air Force request for tactical fighter aircraft is fully funded, including F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and upgrades to F-15s, F-16s, A-10s, and other aircraft.  Finally, the Navy’s aircraft procurement request for $18.6 billion is fully funded, including 28 new F-18 Super Hornets, 30 V-22 Ospreys, and 42 MH-60 helicopters.

“Overall, Chairman Bartlett has developed an excellent proposal for members to consider.  The bill was developed in an inclusive, bipartisan manner, in keeping with the best traditions of the Armed Services Committee.”

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