Lockheed gets boost for missle production

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 30, 2001

Staff Reports

Lockheed Martin’s facility in Pike County will benefit from recent actions by Congress to strengthen the 2002 defense budget.

U.S. Rep. Terry Everett, R-Enterprise, praised the House’s passage to the 2002 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes $25 million for Lockheed Martin Pike County Operations’ missile construction.

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That funding will be used to produce Hellfire II missiles at the Pike County facility.

"The new National Defense Authorization Act authorizes $343 billion ­ $33 billion more than the 2001 budget ­ to help rebuild our national defense, which has been weakened by nearly a decade of hollow defense budgets," Everett said. "After years of neglect and decline, the U.S. military needs every penny of the president’s defense budget request to begin the recovery process.

Included in the defense budget was $89 million for military base mission enhancements and construction at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base and Fort Rucker.

"The new defense bill represents robust funding for military construction at both Second District military bases," Everett said. "I was pleased to, personally, add two construction projects to this year’s budget ­ $11.4 million for Fort Rucker’s Comanche Simulator Training Facility, as well as $7.3 million to replace the Fuel Cell Maintenance Facility at Maxwell."

"America’s defense preparedness is absolutely critical if we are to fight and win the war against terrorism and protect our citizens," Everett said. "Frankly, I’d like to see much more spent on rebuilding our military and I recognize that today’s House action is the first step toward putting things right."

Everett said a strong national defense means providing better pay and living conditions for military personnel.

The defense bill will give military personnel the largest pay raise ­ an increase of between 5 and 10 percent for every service member ­ since 1982. It will also reduce the pay gap between military and private-sector salaries from 10.4 percent to 7.5 percent. The goal is to totally eliminate the pay gap by 2006, Everett said.

The new defense bill also cuts out-of-pocket expenses of military personnel by increasing housing allowances to cover approximately 89 percent of costs.

"We’re also making permanent the Military Housing Privatization Initiative, accelerating the improvement of military housing and rapidly reducing the shortage of affordable military housing," Everett said.

The 2002 National Defense Authorization Act cleared the House on Tuesday and is awaiting a House-Senate conference to work out differences between the House and Senate bills before final passage in October.