Levin Announces Michigan-Related Projects in National Defense Authorization Act

Friday, May 25, 2012

WASHINGTON — Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, announced the authorization of funding for programs with the potential to tap into Michigan’s manufacturing and research strengths in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013. The annual bill governing the policies and programs of the Department of Defense was approved unanimously by the committee yesterday and now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

“Under the provisions of our bill, Michigan will once again play a vital role in the nation’s defense,” Levin said. “Our manufacturing strength, our engineering excellence, our innovative companies and our outstanding workers will help protect the country, keep our troops safe and provide a good return for the taxpayers.”

The bill includes $173.5 million for Army research on combat vehicle and automotive technologies through the Army Tank and Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) in Warren. TARDEC is the Department of Defense’s leading laboratory for research and development of advanced military vehicle technologies, including efforts to protect Army vehicles against rocket propelled grenades, improvised explosive devices and explosively formed projectiles; advanced materials for tactical vehicle armor; more efficient engines; fuel cell and hybrid electric vehicles; unmanned ground vehicles; computer simulations for vehicle design and training of Army personnel; and technology partnerships with the automotive industry.

The bill also includes funding for the programs of the Army’s TACOM Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC) in Warren. TACOM LCMC is the Army’s lead organization for the development and acquisition of ground vehicle combat, automotive and armaments technologies and systems. TACOM LCMC-managed systems include the Abrams main battle tank, Bradley Fighting Vehicle, Stryker Armored Vehicle, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, and all Army tactical vehicles, such as the HMMWV and Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles.


Other programs funded in the bill that impact Michigan are as follows:


Department of Defense Rapid Innovation Program


The Department of Defense Rapid Innovation Program (RIP) was established by the Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 (Public Law 111-383) as a competitive, merit-based program designed to fund innovative technologies, reduce acquisition or life cycle costs, address technical risks, improve the timeliness of test and evaluation outcomes, and rapidly insert technologies needed to meet critical national security needs.

The bill includes a total of $200.0 million for the RIP. Funding authorized for the RIP could provide significant opportunities for Michigan companies, universities, and other organizations to further research and development efforts with the DoD, particularly in the following research areas:

  1. Enhancing energy security and independence – For increased investment in technologies that will improve energy efficiency, enhance energy security, and reduce the Department’s dependence on fossil fuels through advances in traditional and alternative energy storage, power systems, renewable energy production and more energy efficient ground, air, and naval systems.  The Department of Defense remains critically dependent upon energy for its infrastructure and global military operations.  Today, the Department consumes as much energy as two-thirds of all the world’s nations.  Improved energy efficiency, especially in remote areas such as Afghanistan, can reduce the dependence of our armed forces on fragile fuel supply lines that are vulnerable to enemy attack and help save lives.
  1. Developing, utilizing and maintaining advanced materials – For increased investment in a broad range of materials technologies that can provide enhanced performance in extreme environments; improved strength and reduced weight for the spectrum of applications ranging from aerospace to lighter soldier loads; greater survivability of ground, air, and naval systems; and tailored physical, optical, and electromagnetic properties for the wide variety of challenging environments in which military systems must operate.  Whether increasing survivability or improving fuel efficiency for greater performance, advanced materials are a foundational enabling component of military systems across all services and all warfighting domains.


  1. Improving manufacturing technology and the defense industrial base – For increased investment in advanced and innovative manufacturing technologies across the spectrum of applications to significantly compress design to production time cycles, reduce cost, minimize waste and energy consumption, and improve product quality and reliability.  Historically, the Department has heavily invested in technologies to improve the performance of military systems, but not in the processes needed to improve the production of those military systems.  Numerous high-level studies have stressed the benefits of advancing the state of manufacturing technologies – whether for a ship hull or a radiation-hardened chip – for long-term savings and the need to capitalize on the latest innovations in manufacturing processes for defense systems.


  1. Advancing microelectronics – For increased investment in the development of resilient advanced microprocessors, application-specific integrated circuits, field programmable gate arrays, printed circuit boards, photonics devices, and other related electronics components for the next-generation of military and intelligence systems.  Similar to advanced materials, advanced microelectronics are a cross-cutting enabler across all military systems.  Given that the majority of costs of most advanced weapons platforms are in electronics and supporting software, investments in this area to improve processing capacity, decrease weight and power requirements, and increase resiliency would have high return on investment.


  1. Developing Cybersecurity tools – For increased investment in areas such as internet and network mapping capabilities, software reverse engineering and vulnerability analysis, network data collection and analysis, new innovative defensive techniques against cyber attacks – especially in virtual environments, and integrated cloud security capabilities.  The security of DOD’s warfighting and business networks, as well as the networks of the defense industrial base is a serious concern.  DOD needs access to the latest innovative technologies in this field in order to stay ahead of rapidly growing and evolving threats in cyberspace.


Manufacturing Research and Development


$30.0 million to continue the Industrial Base Innovation Fund.  Manufacturing technology plays a critical role in addressing development, acquisition, and sustainment problems associated with advanced weapons programs.  This funding helps support DoD’s ability to address specific shortfalls in the defense industrial base to meet short term surge manufacturing requirements.  This program was initiated in fiscal year 2008.




$424.3 million for the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV). Meritor of Troy, AAR Mobility of Cadillac, and a number of other Michigan companies are involved in the production of FMTVs.


$347.7 million for the Army’s Stryker armored vehicle. General Dynamics Land Systems of Sterling Heights is the prime contractor for the Stryker armored vehicle. Many Michigan companies serve as suppliers in support of this program.


$271.0 million for High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) recapitalization. Many Michigan companies support the HMMWV program as suppliers.


$294.5 million for the Abrams Main Battle Tank program, including $91.0 million above the budget request to sustain the production line, if needed. General Dynamics Land Systems of Sterling Heights is the prime contractor for the Abrams program and more than 200 Michigan companies serve as suppliers.


$31.7 million for the Lightweight 155mm Howitzer. Howmet Castings of Whitehall is a major contractor for the Lightweight 155mm Howitzer program.


$54.9 million for the Family of Heavy Tactical Vehicles. Detroit Diesel manufactures and supplies the engine for this program.


$927.4 million for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle modifications. Spartan Chassis of Charlotte, Meritor of Troy, and Demmer Corporation of Lansing and many other Michigan companies are involved in this program.


$148.2 million for Bradley Fighting Vehicle modifications. L-3 of Muskegon is a major contractor for the Bradley program.


$230.9 million for the Improved Recovery Vehicle, including $123.0 million above the budget request.  L-3 of Muskegon is a major contractor for the Improved Recovery Vehicle program.


$1.8 billion for Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) construction.  Marinette Marine, just across the Michigan border in Wisconsin, is one of two shipyards building LCS and employs several hundred Michigan residents and relies on many Michigan suppliers.


Other Research and Development Initiatives


More than $2 billion for merit-based fundamental research to support the military at American universities and government laboratories. Many Michigan universities perform high quality fundamental research for the Department of Defense in all fields of science and technology.




$21.3 million for the DoD STARBASE program.  STARBASE is a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education program run by the Department of Defense for elementary school students.  The STARBASE program is designed to excite students about STEM topics through exposure to the technological foundations of national security.  STARBASE currently operates 60 locations in 34 states.  Michigan has three DoD STARBASE programs located at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township, Kellogg Air National Guard Base in Battle Creek, and Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center in Alpena.