Oct 7, 2009 1:37 PM by Jthibodeaux
WASHINGTON - The United States Senate late yesterday, by a vote of 93-7, approved its annual Department of Defense appropriations bill, which included key provisions sponsored by United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La. These Landrieu requests strengthen the country's national defense, while providing funding for important military projects and programs based in Louisiana, including navy ships produced at Avondale and armored security vehicles manufactured in Slidell.
"This Department of Defense funding bill makes critical investments in Louisiana companies and institutions working to strengthen our national defense through the development of cutting-edge technology and research," said Sen. Landrieu, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. "Not only does the bill directly support our brave troops and their families, it invests millions of dollars in projects that keep our nation safe and fuel our local economy. Louisiana has long provided strong homefront support for our brave men and women in the armed services, and this bill reiterates that important partnership."
The legislation included $25 million requested by Senators Landrieu and David Vitter, R-La., to expand the National World War II Museum, located in New Orleans. These Department of Defense funds will be used to construct the Museum's United States Freedom Pavilion, an addition that will include an exhibit focused on the American home front during World War II.
"The National WWII Museum is one of the true American treasures," said Sen. Landrieu. "The facility serves not just as the monument to the brave men and women who served during World War II, but as a constant reminder to future generations about the tremendous sacrifice of millions of Americans. I was proud to fight for this $25 million to construct the Freedom Pavilion, which will bring new and engaging exhibits to the Museum. The additions will help to increase tourism to New Orleans and improve the educational experience for millions of visitors."
"The United States Freedom Pavilion and the Museum itself preserve the important lessons of vigilance and preparedness to defend our way of life against tyrants and dictators," said Dr. Mueller. "We sent the best of our youth halfway around the world - in both directions - not to conquer or acquire territory but to bring freedom and democracy to the enemies we defeated. That's a big story. We need to honor those who fought and died in World War II and to portray the history of that conflict for all future generations - why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today."
The $25 million championed today by Senators Landrieu and Vitter will pay for brick and mortar construction of the new the U.S Freedom Pavilion wing. In highlighting the role of the U.S. home front during World War II, the exhibit will include the iconic aircraft, Sherman and Stuart Tanks, Higgins Landing Craft, jeeps and other weapons of war that were key to American's defense of freedom and democracy.
Sen. Landrieu also supported funding provisions of $184.5 million to continue construction on the LPD-17 Class of Expeditionary Warfare Ships, which are built by Northrop Grumman at Avondale Shipyard near New Orleans. The funding helps sustain the 4,400 shipbuilding jobs at Avondale.
The Senator also helped secure the President's request for $136.6 million for production of armored security vehicles (ASVs) at Textron Marine in Slidell, a plant which employs 700 workers. The vehicles are proven to be more effective than up-armored Humvees for protecting U.S. forces from Improvised Explosive Devices.
"The continued construction of the LPD-17 at Avondale and ASVs at Textron keeps our military strong, while providing good-paying jobs for thousands of Louisiana families," said Sen. Landrieu. "The funds secured in this Defense bill re-affirm the indispensible role these highly-skilled workers in Southeast Louisiana play in enhancing our national defense."
Sen. Landrieu also championed more than a dozen other military-related projects that will benefit the U.S. military and are hosted in Louisiana. In addition to the $25 million for the WWII Museum, the funding provisions secured by Sen. Landrieu total $29 million. These include:
$1 million to the Cyber Innovation Center in Bossier City, to help identify and implement ready-to-use anti-cyber warfare measures.
$5 million to the Louisiana Center for Manufacturing Sciences in Shreveport, for improving and streamlining manufacturing practices for Naval ships.
$1 million to the Cyber Security Laboratory at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, to support cyber security research.
$6 million to LSU A&M in Baton Rouge, for military materials and processing technology research.
$1 million to the University of New Orleans, for thermoelectric military technology research.
$1 million to QinetiQ North America in Slidell, for wave energy development.
$1 million to Tulane and Xavier University in New Orleans, for biological warfare sensor development.
$1 million to the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, for military nutrition research.
$1 million to C&C Technologies in Lafayette, for research on positioning of unmanned submarines.
$1 million to the Louisiana National Guard for a water purification system for natural disasters.
$5 million to a Navy-UNO partnership for military information research facility upgrades.
$2 million to Gravois Aluminum Boats in Jeanerette, for Navy 'Metal Shark' boat production.
$1 million to Edison Chouest Offshore of Galliano, for submarine research and design.
$2 million to Northrop Grumman in Bossier City, for aerial navigation research and development.