Press Releases

Congressman Adam Smith’s legislation to create jobs for Veterans has been reported out of committee as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2011 and is expected to be voted on the House Floor next week. The bill, Veterans to Work Pilot Program Act, will expand job opportunities by creating a 5-year pilot program to enroll military veterans in apprenticeship programs and employ them on military construction projects.

“We should be doing everything possible to ensure that our military personnel come home to good, family-wage, quality job opportunities,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “By calling upon the Department of Defense to explore the utilization of veteran apprentices in military construction projects, we are working to find innovative ways to help our veterans secure employment and ease the transition into civilian life.”

The legislation would specifically require the Secretary of Defense to designate at least twenty military construction projects per year where, to the maximum extent feasible, the utilization of veteran apprenticeship labor would be required. At the end of each year, and at the conclusion of the pilot program, the Secretary would be required to submit a report to Congress that, among other things, evaluates the benefits of employing apprentices who are veterans on Military Construction projects.

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Today, Air and Land Forces subcommittee Chairman and local Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) offered an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 that will help shine a spotlight on the impact of illegal foreign subsidies on American defense industry workers and companies. The move pushes the Department of Defense to report on the impacts of illegal subsidies related to the KC-X tanker competition and whether such subsidies provided an unfair competitive advantage.  

"We cannot allow illegally subsidized foreign companies to take jobs and contracts away from American workers and companies through an unfair advantage,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “For example, if it turns out that Airbus is able to offer a lower bid than Boeing on the KC-X Tanker contract because they were illegally subsidized, then we should push the Department of Defense to take those subsidies into account. My amendment offered today will do just that."

The FY2009 National Defense Authorization Act required the Department of Defense (DOD) to review the impacts of subsidies related to the KC-X tanker contract after the World Trade Organization (WTO) releases its ruling and submit a report to Congress. Currently, DOD must initiate a review 10 days after WTO’s ruling is made public, which is expected this June. However, DOD is not required to complete its review until 90 days after the appeals process is final, and will not report to Congress until 30 days after completing the review. This means that any report on the impact of subsidies will not be made until after the KC-X tanker contract is awarded this fall.

To ensure that DOD considers the impact of subsidies this year, the amendment would require an interim report be submitted 60 days after DOD initiates the review required by current law. The interim report from the Secretary of Defense is directed to contain detailed findings on the impacts of illegal subsidies related to KC-X and whether such subsidies provided an unfair competitive advantage. The report must be submitted 60 days after the WTO’s ruling is released in June.

The amendment was adopted by a voice vote. Amendment language attached
here.
Air and Land Forces Subcommittee Chairman Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement regarding his vote in support of the fiscal year 2011 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA):  

“This is a critically important bill, which ensures our brave men and women in harms way have the resources they need.  This year’s bill builds on the Committee’s efforts to support our military personnel, provide our forces with the equipment they need to perform today’s missions, and also ensuring that our military is properly resourced and postured to meet the future threats of the 21st century.

“The bill provides for a 1.9 percent pay raise for our military personnel, which is 0.5 percent higher than the President’s budget request. I am also pleased to see that the bill includes an authorization of $50 million for the Department of Defense Impact Aid program, which assists school districts serving the children of families stationed at Joint Base Leiws-McChord.  

“Additionally, in order to fund our reserves and National Guard at the appropriate level, this legislation provides an additional $700 million for National Guard and Reserve equipment.

“As the Chairman of the Air and Land Forces Subcommittee, I am pleased to see this legislation fully fund the President’s budget request related to the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicle and the Stryker Vehicles, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and other Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Systems, as well as other vital equipment and systems used by the Army and Air Force.

“This bill is vitally important to our national security and I am proud of the support it provides to our troops and their efforts to keep us safe. I believe it strikes the right balance between fighting the conflicts of today, while preparing our forces for the conflicts of the future.”

The bill must be approved by the Full House of Representatives and the Senate before the President can sign it into law.

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On Friday, April 30, 2010 Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) visited Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista, Arizona where he was briefed on how we train our Army’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and intelligence operators. Smith was also briefed on the work being done at the fort to provide soldiers with cultural and language training. This training helps to ensure soldiers are aware of the cultures in which they will be deployed.

Smith, chairman of the Subcommittee on Air and Land Forces and member of the Intelligence committee, said the trip provided valuable insight into what is done on the Arizona post and the important roll it plays in our national security.

“The work being done at Fort Huachuca is extremely important to our national security,” said Congressman Smith. “Our UAV and intelligence operators play an important roll in protecting our national security and they are receiving some of the best training in the world at Fort Huachuca. Additionally, the training being done at the fort provides our soldiers with the knowledge and understanding of other cultures that can often times be the different between a community supporting U.S. efforts abroad or the mission of our adversaries.”

The nearly daylong tour of the post included visits to a new training village built on the post that will provide more realistic experience for soldiers who will go to Iraq or Afghanistan. The day also included touring unmanned aerial systems and a stop at the Training and Doctrine Command’s Culture Center, which helps soldiers understand the importance of cultural differences.

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Today, Air and Land Forces Subcommittee Chairman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement after House approval of H.R. 5013, the IMPROVE Acquisition Act of 2010, bipartisan legislation to overhaul the defense acquisition process:

“The existing acquisition process of the Department of Defense takes far too long and often times breeds excessive cost overruns. The process is susceptible to waste, fraud, and abuse. This must change. The current defense acquisition process must be reformed. When the system fails, it fails our troops and it fails the American tax payer.

“The legislation passed by the House today will help ensure that our brave men and women in uniform get the equipment they need to do their job in a more efficient and timely fashion. The legislation will overhaul the defense acquisition process by enacting four common sense reforms: establishing a better accountability system, improving the management of the acquisition workforce, creating an auditable financial management system at DOD, and expanding and strengthening the industrial base.

“These reforms, while not a panacea, are expected to save the taxpayer $135 billion over the next five years. That is a substantial amount of money, and these are substantial reforms. I applaud Congressman Rob Andrews and Congressman Mike Conaway as well as all the member of HASC who worked so hard on this issue over the last year.”

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