Heinrich Secures Key Amendments In Defense Spending Bill

Senate gives final approval to Heinrich amendments to help strengthen national security and New Mexico’s economy

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) successfully included a series of amendments to the fiscal year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which passed the Senate tonight and now heads to the president's desk to be signed into law. The NDAA sets the Department of Defense spending levels and policies for the upcoming fiscal year. 

The bill includes measures introduced by Senator Heinrich to expand buffer zones around White Sands Missile Range; fund the production of the Iron Dome short-range rocket defense system in the United States; and maintain Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) missions at Kirtland Air Force Base to design, build, and launch low-cost satellites for our nation's military.

"New Mexico is home to four military installations and tens of thousands of men and women who carry out their critical missions. I am proud of the pivotal role our state plays in our national security and defense, and that New Mexico remains at the forefront of cutting-edge research and development that contribute to our country's safety. My amendments will help ensure that these smart investments continue, while growing the economy and strengthening defense installations across the state," said Sen. Heinrich.

The FY14 NDAA includes a total of $148.25 million in military construction projects for New Mexico, which is an increase of $21 million from fiscal year 2013.

Sen. Heinrich's amendments included in the FY14 NDAA:

Expand buffer zones around White Sands Missile Range: this amendment transfers 5,100 acres of land from the Bureau of Land Management to the Army in order to provide a critical safety and security buffer to NASA's White Sands Test Facility and the Department of Defense's Aerospace Data Facility - Southwest, which are both key tenants of White Sands Missile Range.

Iron Dome short-range rocket defense system: this amendment supports American jobs by authorizing $15 million for the production of the Iron Dome short-range rocket defense system in the United States.  Iron Dome provides a critical missile defense shield for Israel and has achieved a success rate of more than 85 percent.  To date, the United States has provided a total of $486 million to Israel for Iron Dome batteries, interceptors, and general maintenance; an additional $220 million is authorized in the FY14 National Defense Authorization Act for procurement of additional Iron Dome batteries and missiles. Despite these significant investments, the United States does not share in production of this missile defense system.

Maintain Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) missions: this amendment reaffirms that it is the policy of the United States to demonstrate, acquire, and deploy an effective capability for operationally responsive space to support military users and operations from space.  The amendment also requires a report on an additional mission for ORS, which would leverage all policy objectives of the ORS program in a single mission. The ORS office and mission are headquartered at Kirtland Air Force Base. In October 2013, Senator Heinrich received confirmation that Air Force leadership would continue the ORS program in fiscal year 2014