Minden Press-Herald

Oct 02nd

Camp Minden to benefit from bill

WASHINGTON – The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved its annual Department of Defense appropriations bill, which will benefit Camp Minden – and other programs – by including $125 million for the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program.

That's a $5-million increase from the president's budget.

Louisiana has three of the most prominent programs in the country, graduating nearly 1,400 cadets each year. They are located at Camp Minden, Camp Beauregard and Carville.

"These programs – run by our own Louisiana National Guard – provide second chances to our students who have fallen through the cracks," said Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. "This critical funding will continue to provide these young men and women the chance to turn their lives around.

"The Youth ChalleNGe Program not only changes the lives of those cadets who make the choice to better themselves but also improves the communities these cadets return to upon graduation," she continued.

The appropriations bill, which provides $513 billion in base level defense funding and the president's $117.8 billion request for Overseas Contingency Operations, includes Landrieu's priorities that support research and development efforts throughout Louisiana.

Some of the critical areas that were protected include a 1.6 percent pay raise for soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines; technology development to combat terrorism; ocean warfighting environmental applied research; and important education and quality of life funding for military families.

"We cannot expect those fighting for our freedom and sacrificing so much to come home to substandard environments," Landrieu said. "By passing this bill, we are ensuring that our troops and their families will get the education and quality of life improvements they deserve."

Other areas of funding that the Senator protected include:

$500 million to fund National Guard priorities

$52 million for Warfighting Advanced Technology

$1.25 billion for Army Aircraft Procurement – this allows for the continued purchase of UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopters, which are critically needed in the war in Afghanistan.

$50 million for Ocean Warfighting Applied Research

$80 million for Military Engineering Technology

$30 million for materials technology and research which will allow for Louisiana companies to bid for research money to develop alternative fuel sources for the armed forces

$12 million for technology research and development which will combat terrorism at home and abroad

$39 million for weapons and munitions technology development.






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