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Section 303

House Conference Report 111-124


    (a) In General- Section 2501(a) of title 10, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

      `(6) Maintaining critical design skills to ensure that the armed forces are provided with systems capable of ensuring technological superiority over potential adversaries.'.

    (b) Assessment of Effect of Termination of Major Defense Acquisition Programs on Technology and Industrial Capabilities- Section 2505(b) of such title is amended--

      (1) in paragraph (2), by striking `and' at the end;

      (2) in paragraph (3), by striking the period at the end and inserting `; and'; and

      (3) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

      `(4) consider the effects of the termination of major defense acquisition programs (as the term is defined in section 2430 of this title) in the previous fiscal year on the sectors and capabilities in the assessment.'.

Expansion of national security objectives of the national technology and industrial base (sec. 303)

The Senate bill contained a provision (sec. 208) that would amend section 2501 of title 10, United States Code, to address critical design skills in the national technology and industrial base and require reports on the termination of major defense acquisition programs.

The House amendment contained no similar provision.

The House recedes with an amendment requiring that defense capability assessments performed pursuant to section 2505 of title 10, United States Code, consider the effects of the termination of major defense acquisition programs. The outcome of this assessment would be incorporated into the annual reports required by section 2504 of title 10, United States Code.


Senator Murray's statement on her Amendment 1052 that became Section 208, S. 454

Congressional Record, Senate, May 6, 2009, Consideration of S. 454, the Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009, P. S5226, 5244; May 7, 2009, P. 5256

Mr. President, that should be only the first step because the truth is that, while todayís debate has been delayed for far too long, there is another hard conversation surrounding procurement that we have not yet even started, and that is the conversation about the future of the men and women who produce our tanks, our planes, and our boats. The skilled workforce our military depends on is a workforce that is disappearing today before our eyes.

Our Government depends on our highly skilled industries, our manufacturers, our engineers, our researchers, and our development and science base to keep the U.S. military stocked with the best and most advanced equipment and tools available. Whether it is scientists who are designing the next generation of military satellites or engineers who are improving our radar system or machinists who are assembling warplanes, these industries and their workers are one of our greatest strategic assets today. What if those werenít available? What if we made budgetary and policy decisions without talking about the future needs of our domestic workforce? It is not impossible. It is not even unthinkable. It is actually what is happening.

We need to have a real dialog about the ramifications of these decisions before we lose the capability to provide our military with the tools and equipment they need because once our plants shut down, once our skilled workforce and workers move to other fields, and once that infrastructure is gone, it is not going to be rebuilt overnight if we need it.

As a Senator from the State of Washington, representing five major military bases and many military contractors, I am very aware of the important relationship between our military and the producers that keep them protected with the latest technological advances. I have also seen the ramifications of the Pentagonís decisions on communities, workers, and families. As many here know, I have been sounding the alarm about a declining domestic aerospace industry for years.

This isnít just about one company or one State or one industry. This is about our Nationís economic stability. It is about our skill base. It is about our future military capability. We have watched as the domestic base has shrunk. We have watched as competition has disappeared and as our military has looked overseas for the products that we have the capability to produce right here at home.

Many in the Senate have spent a lot of time talking about how many American jobs are being shipped overseas in search of cheaper labor. But we havenít focused nearly enough attention on the high-wage, high-skilled careers being lost to the realities of our procurement system. That is why, today, I am going to be introducing an amendment that will require the Pentagon to explain to us in Congress and to the American people how their decisions affect good paying jobs and the long-term strength of our industrial base.

My amendment will help to ensure that our industrial base is capable of meeting our national security objectives. It took us a very long time to build our industrial base. We have machinists who have past experience and know-how down the ranks for more than 50 years. We have engineers who know our mission, know the needs of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. We have a reputation for delivering for our military. But once those plants shut down, those industries are gone. We not only lose the jobs, but we lose the skills and the potential ability to provide our military with the equipment to defend our Nation and project our might worldwide. Preserving a healthy domestic base also breeds competition. That is good for innovation and, ultimately, for our taxpayers.

So today, as we begin this very serious and necessary conversation on procurement reform, we cannot afford to forget the needs of our industrial base. We have to consider how we achieve reform while continuing to support the development of our industrial base here at home.

It calls for thoughtful planning and projection about who our future enemies might possibly be and how they might possibly try to defeat us in this Nation. It is critical that our country and our military maintain a nimble and dynamic base. Once a new threat is identified, a solution has to be close at hand.

The discussion we are having on procurement reform in the Senate is happening as our country faces two difficult but not unrelated challenges: winning an international war on terror and rebuilding a faltering economy. It would be irresponsible not to include the needs of our industrial base as we move forward because unless we begin to address this issue now, we are not only going to continue to lose some of our best paying American jobs, we are going to lose the backbone of our military might.

I will be offering this amendment, and I would love to have the support of our colleagues to make sure we have a strong nation in the future.


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