In my position as the Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee for the last two years, I’ve had the opportunity to work to ensure that Ohioans, as well as our men and women in uniform, have the resources they need to succeed.
In my position as the Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee for the last two years, I’ve had the opportunity to work to ensure that Ohioans, as well as our men and women in uniform, have the resources they need to succeed. These efforts include a continued focus on creating jobs, improving training and upgrading facilities at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to support the economy of Southwest Ohio, and supporting our troops by combating sexual assault in our military.
I’ve worked to ensure the missions at Wright-Patt have the most advanced training and facilities available. Specifically, over this past year, I’ve secured funding for a $27 million Information Technology Complex, $21 million for the creation of an Advanced Power Research Lab, $9 million for an Advanced Technical Intelligence Center, and $10 million in upgrades to existing ramp facilities. These improvements and expansions mean new cutting edge jobs in technology for our local defense contractors, coupled with a chance for construction businesses to put Ohioans back to work.
Wright-Patt remains a magnet for new jobs in the Miami Valley. With the Base Realignment and Closure process continuing, we have the manpower and facilities to effectively and efficiently expand and support Southwest Ohio’s work in advancing our National Security goals. Surrounding Wright-Patt and throughout the region is an existing network of experienced defense contractors with a proven record of delivering results.
To prepare Ohio businesses to meet the requirements of these new jobs, I supported $300,000 to establish the Wright Center for Workforce Preparedness. These dollars are aiding our local businesses and citizens in gaining a competitive edge on contracts and work in support of Wright-Patt. Preparation such as this is what has saved 5,000 jobs and brought another 1,200 to the region.
Next, as one of the final acts of the 111th Congress, we passed the National Defense Authorization Act. This legislation sets the spending levels and guidelines under which our armed forces operate. Included in this legislation are provisions I advocated to reduce the number of sexual assaults involving members of the Armed Forces and improve the response of the Department of Defense to reports of sexual assaults involving members of the Armed Forces.
To strengthen the response to sexual assaults, the Department of Defense is directed by the new law to create the position of Director of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. The Director will have the authority to oversee implementation of the sexual assault prevention and response program; serve as the “single point of authority, accountability, and oversight” for the program; and ensure Department wide compliance.
Additionally under the new law, the Department of Defense is now required to conduct a comprehensive review of all the services’ sexual assault policies. The Secretary of each military department will assess the adequacy of current sexual assault programs to ensure the “safest and most secure living and working environments with regard to preventing sexual assault.”
Tragically, the need for this language was brought to light by the story of Marine Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach. LCpl. Lauterbach, formerly of Dayton, Ohio, filed a sexual assault claim against a fellow Marine who was subsequently convicted for murdering her and burying her in his own backyard, not far from their station post at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina. I invited LCpl. Lauterbach’s attorney to testify before the Congress, and her story served as a rallying cry for action on this important issue.
However, this is an area where much work remains to be done. In part due to increased reporting requirements, reported incidents of sexual assault in the military have increased dramatically in recent years, and these escalating numbers are estimated by the Department of Defense to only reflect one tenth of the actual number of such offenses.
In the 112th Congress I will have the opportunity to expand on these critical issues. I was chosen by the Chairman of the House Armed Services committee to serve as chairman of the Armed Forces Strategic Forces Subcommittee. This position puts me in a key position to protect and expand the base, and to continue to focus efforts to modernize America’s nuclear infrastructure, build and deploy a robust missile defense system, and enhance space and intelligence support to America’s warfighters. I am honored to serve on the House Armed Services Committee and excited to be named to the leadership team.
We must continue our efforts to protect our national security, along with the jobs of 40,000 Americans at and around Wright-Patt. Continuing to innovate, support, and produce on behalf of our selfless men and women in uniform is a job of vital regional and national importance.