Last week, the House and Senate approved for the 51st time the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with overwhelming bipartisan support. 

As a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, and a conferee on the House-Senate Conference Committee, I am proud to have included key provisions, which bolster the progress in Southwest Ohio in terms of being a leader in the development and education of our servicemembers, and the supporting industry.

The final bill also expands cooperation for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) amongst government agencies. This will be key for Ohio, as we are competing for a UAS test range.

Furthermore, this legislation includes funding for the Lima Tank Plant – a facility vitally important to maintaining and upgrading our military’s main battle tanks.

Below is a detailed list of provisions included in the conference report of the FY13 NDAA through my efforts with the support by my House and Senate colleagues:

  • Unmanned Aerial Systems Cooperation & Integration

Language was included to promote collaboration between Government agencies on Unmanned Aerial Systems. Specifically, the section requires scientific and technical personnel collaboration and sharing resources from the Department of Defense, Federal Aviation Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. This language advances the goal of access to unmanned aircraft systems of the Department of Defense to the National Airspace System.

  • Reviewing and Promoting the Educational Opportunities at AFIT

A provision aimed at promoting the need and existence of the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) for continuing military education. The provision directs the Secretary of Defense to establish an agreement with the National Research Council to complete a review Defense Department specialized degree-granting graduate programs in engineering, science and management.

  • Expanding the Opportunity for Education at AFIT

Expands the opportunities for defense industry employees to attend AFIT, by allowing contractor to fill student slots that otherwise would have gone unfilled. Attendees will be required to pay their expenses, adding to AFIT’s revenues. It will also aid contractors by giving them access to AFIT’s defense-related programs. This is an opportunity to expand the reach of AFIT.

  • Funding for the Lima Tank Plant

As a member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces, as well as it’s incoming Chairman, Turner has worked to promote and defend the Lima Tank Plant. In recognition of the plant’s unique capability as our nation’s only production and maintenance facility for the M1A1 and M1A2 tanks, the conference committee included $136 million to fund upgrades to the main battle tanks through 2014. This funding ensures the plant will stay open during that time, and will be available for work on tanks sold to our allies around the world. Turner worked with his fellow subcommittee members to include the funding in the House version of the NDAA approved earlier this year.