PMRF marked for $12 million

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) secured $12 million in defense funding for Kauai for fiscal year 2017.

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bipartisan defense appropriations bill, which includes $12 million in the bill for the recapitalization of the Barking Sands Tactical Underwater Range, or BARSTUR, according to a release.

The funding is an additional $9 million above the president’s fiscal year 2017 budget.

“This smart investment will give us the resources to strengthen our national security and ensure Kauai and our state continue to play a critical role in our Asia-Pacific rebalance,” Schatz, a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, said in a statement. “Kauai’s unique environment makes it an ideal place to train and prepare our submarines against emerging challenges in the region.”

BARSTUR spans 120 nautical miles within the Pacific Missile Range Facility’s useable deep water tracking area. The area allows training and certification for U.S. Pacific Fleet operating in Asia and is the only facility of its kind in the region, the release said.

The Navy has been attempting to recapitalize BARSTUR for the past several years.

It will help ensure that the Navy will continue to have a superior training range in the Pacific to assess tactics, training, procedures, new technology, and anti-submarine warfare capabilities that are critical to staying ahead of near-peer competitors in the Asia Pacific, the release said.

Rep. Derek Kawakami said Schatz is helping to fill a need on Kauai.

“PMRF is one of our biggest employers and provides protection for our community,” he said.

The people stationed at PMRF exemplify “great” military leadership on the island, Kawakami added.

In addition to the funding, Schatz secured language in the defense appropriations report requiring the Navy to submit a program execution plan for BARSTUR replacement and modernization, including the full costs, to ensure that the Navy continues to provide adequate funding for this superior training complex in the future, the release said.

The spending bill will now go to the Senate floor for a final vote.

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