WASHINGTON — Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, announced the authorization of funding for programs with the potential to tap into Michigan’s manufacturing and research strengths in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014, which gained final passage late Thursday.
“This year’s bill again shows that Michigan’s manufacturing, engineering, research and technology strengths make our nation safer and provide economic opportunity for Michigan families,” Levin said. “From Detroit to Menominee, and from robotics and advanced materials to trucks and ships, these projects demonstrate the breadth and importance of Michigan’s contributions to our national security.”
The Michigan projects are included in the annual defense authorization legislation, which passed the Senate late Thursday. The bill now goes to President Obama for his signature.
The bill includes $161.6 million for Army research on combat vehicle and automotive technologies through the Army Tank and Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) in Warren. TARDEC is the Department of Defense’s leading laboratory for research and development of advanced military vehicle technologies, including technology partnerships with the automotive industry; efforts to protect Army vehicles against rocket propelled grenades, improvised explosive devices and explosively formed projectiles; advanced materials for tactical vehicle armor; more efficient engines; fuel cell and hybrid electric vehicles; unmanned ground vehicles; and computer simulations for vehicle design and training of Army personnel.
The bill also includes funding for the programs of the Army’s TACOM Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC) in Warren. TACOM LCMC is the Army’s lead organization for the development and acquisition of ground vehicle combat, automotive and armaments technologies and systems. TACOM LCMC-managed systems include the Abrams main battle tank, Bradley Fighting Vehicle, Stryker Armored Vehicle, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, and all Army tactical vehicles, such as the HMMWV and Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles.
Other programs funded in the bill that impact Michigan are as follows:
$17 million for a new barracks facility at Camp Grayling. Camp Grayling hosts more than 10,000 military personnel annually for a variety of training events. Current facilities were constructed in the 1950s and this military construction project is required to provide adequate facilities for the Michigan National Guard and other military personnel who use Camp Grayling each year.
Department of Defense Rapid Innovation Program
The Department of Defense Rapid Innovation Program (RIP) was established by the Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 as a competitive, merit-based program designed to fund innovative technologies, reduce acquisition or life cycle costs, address technical risks, improve the timeliness of test and evaluation outcomes, and rapidly insert technologies needed to meet critical national security needs.
The bill includes a total of $200 million for the RIP. Funding authorized for the RIP could provide significant opportunities for Michigan companies, universities, and other organizations to further research and develop1ment efforts with the DoD, particularly in the following research areas:
· Delivering nearer-term emerging technologies to current military operations to enhance capabilities in areas such as: electronic warfare; cybersecurity tools; robotics and autonomous systems; spectrum management; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities; reducing soldier load; improving fixed, mobile, and dismounted force protection; and detecting and defeating all forms of improvised explosive devices;
· Contributing to breakthrough technologies for future military capabilities in areas such as: countering weapons of mass destruction; space systems; hypersonics; highly autonomous systems; large-scale data management and manipulation for command and control; and enhancing human performance; and
· Improving the affordability of defense operations in areas such as: advanced manufacturing; reducing the cost and footprint of energy and other logistical items; interoperability across platforms and systems; and innovative prototyping approaches for new platforms and systems.
Manufacturing Research and Development
$25 million to continue the Industrial Base Innovation Fund. Manufacturing technology plays a critical role in addressing development, acquisition, and sustainment problems associated with advanced weapons programs. This funding helps support DoD’s ability to address specific shortfalls in the defense industrial base to meet short-term surge manufacturing requirements. This program was initiated in fiscal year 2008.
· $394.6 million for the Army’s Stryker armored vehicle. General Dynamics Land Systems of Sterling Heights is the prime contractor for the Stryker armored vehicle. Many Michigan companies serve as suppliers in support of this program.
· $323.2 million for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle modifications. Spartan Chassis of Charlotte, Meritor of Troy, Demmer Corporation of Lansing and many other Michigan companies are involved in this program.
· $268.1 million for the Abrams Main Battle Tank program. General Dynamics Land Systems of Sterling Heights is the prime contractor for the Abrams program and more than 200 Michigan companies serve as suppliers.
· $223.9 million for the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV). Meritor of Troy, AAR Mobility of Cadillac, and a number of other Michigan companies are involved in the production of FMTVs.
· $186 million for the Improved Recovery Vehicle. L-3 of Muskegon is a major contractor for the Improved Recovery Vehicle program.
· $158 million for Bradley Fighting Vehicle modifications. L-3 of Muskegon is a major contractor for the Bradley program.
· $14.7 million for the Family of Heavy Tactical Vehicles. Detroit Diesel manufactures and supplies the engine for this program.
· $3.6 million for the Lightweight 155mm Howitzer. Howmet Castings of Whitehall is a major contractor for the Lightweight 155mm Howitzer program.
· $1.8 billion for Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) construction. Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wis., just across the state line from Menominee, Mich., is one of two shipyards building LCS, employs several hundred Michigan residents and relies on many Michigan suppliers.
Other Research and Development Initiatives
More than $2 billion for merit-based basic research to support the military at American universities and government laboratories. Many Michigan universities perform high quality basic research for the Department of Defense in all fields of science and technology.
$21.7 million for the DoD STARBASE program. STARBASE is a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education program run by the Department of Defense for elementary school students. The STARBASE program is designed to excite students about STEM topics through exposure to the technological foundations of national security. STARBASE currently operates 76 locations in 40 states. Michigan has three DoD STARBASE programs located at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Macomb County’s Harrison Township, where the program originated in 1991; Kellogg Air National Guard Base in Battle Creek; and Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center in Alpena.