March 25, 2022

Kilmer Announces New Investments to Support Servicemembers, Military Families, and Federal Civilian Workforce

Today, U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) announced new investments for Washington’s servicemembers, military families, and federal civilian workforce through the federal spending bill that was signed into law by President Biden last week.

“If you serve this country, Congress should have your back and invest in you and your family. I’m proud that this bill includes a number of measures to support our troops and their families,” said Rep. Kilmer. “In our region, we also have talented civilians doing vitally important work to keep our country safe, so I’m glad that we were able to include measures that benefit those workers and our region’s economy as well.”

Supporting Servicemembers and Federal Workers

The legislation included measures supported by Rep. Kilmer for American service members and their families, including a 2.7 percent pay raise for all uniformed U.S. service members and approximately 750,000 civilian Defense Department employees. The legislation also aims to support working families by funding the President’s executive order to ensure all DoD personnel earn at least $15 per hour.

In addition, the legislation includes increases in allowances for housing and subsistence to address rising housing and food prices, investments in childcare fee assistance and school construction, and provides funding to tackle sexual assault in the military.

The legislation also aims to confront the climate crisis with historic investments for clean energy and climate adaptation to protect facilities, readiness, and global security. That includes an increase in Environmental Restoration activities, including a historic investment in the costs associated with PFOS/PFOA cleanup.

Investing in Naval Base Kitsap

The bill also includes $10 million for an interim submarine maintenance complex to support Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility's work on the U.S. Navy's Pacific-based Seawolf-class submarines at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor. This critical funding enables construction of temporary maintenance facilities, including relocatable buildings and support infrastructure, which is vital for repairing fast-attack submarines homeported at Bangor. Without this funding, PSNS & IMF would be lacking critical maintenance facilities while a permanent support complex is built.

Investing in Shipyard Modernization

The legislation also included a robust increase in funding for the Navy’s Shipyard Optimization and Improvement Program (SIOP) in order to strengthen, maintain, and modernize America’s fleet. SIOP is the Navy’s twenty-year, $21-billion plan to optimize and modernize the U.S. Navy’s four public shipyards– including Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility in Bremerton. All nuclear repair and retrofit work are completed at these four public shipyards. Thus, the shipyards serve a critical role in ensuring our national defense - and SIOP aims to ensure they can meet the requirements of our growing active fleet. The plan also includes several critical improvements including dry dock recapitalization, facility layout and optimization, and capital equipment modernization. Rep. Kilmer led a letter to President Biden to encourage his Administration to support increased funding for SIOP.

The legislation also included an additional $20 million investment championed by Rep. Kilmer in the Navy Facility Sustainment, Modernization, and Restoration Program, which will invest in critical infrastructure upgrades at the nation’s four public shipyards – including Puget Sound Naval Shipyard – to improve resiliency to fires, earthquakes, and other natural hazards.

“This shipyard investments in this bill are about jobs and about having the backs of the brave women and men who serve our country,” said Rep. Kilmer.

Investing in Infrastructure for Defense Communities

The legislation also included an increase in funding, championed by Rep. Kilmer, for the Defense Community Infrastructure Program (DCIP) – which was created in 2019 to assist state and local governments in addressing shortfalls in community infrastructure projects surrounding military installations. DCIP is designed to address deficiencies in community infrastructure that supports a military installation, to enhance the military family quality of life, resilience, or military value – including at Naval Base Kitsap and Joint Base Lewis-McChord. In March 2021, Rep. Kilmer led a letter to President Biden to encourage his Administration to support increased funding for DCIP.

In FY2021, DCIP was appropriated $60 million and recently awarded 13 grants. The grant awards included critical upgrades to airport infrastructure, fire stations, and flood management systems. The program was appropriated $90 million for Fiscal Year 2022.