Reps. Blake Moore (UT-01) and Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Co-Chairs of the bipartisan House Military Depot, Arsenal, Ammunition Plant and Industrial Facilities Caucus, led a call for the Organic Industrial Base (OIB), or military arsenals, depots and ammunition plants, to be included in any upcoming infrastructure package.
“Much of the vital work happening in my district to sustain the Air Force’s readiness is done in antiquated and obsolete World War II-era facilities,” said Rep. Blake Moore. “While the professionalism and expertise of our talented workforce exceeds high standards of readiness, maintenance backlogs are increasing costs and hurting morale. Military readiness is not simply the ability to fight and meet the demands of current missions; it is also our capacity to surge, confront, and surmount any future threat. Depot facilities remain the backbone of readiness, and it is time for federal investments that reflect this indispensable role in our national security.”
In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Caucus Co-Chairs argue that the nation’s military arsenals and depots are vital parts of American infrastructure, and upgrading these sites is critical to the nation’s defense as well as the larger goals of any upcoming package.
“We strongly believe that the quality of these facilities is critical to the broader Biden Administration goals of addressing long-standing maintenance backlogs and reducing our dependence on foreign sources of materials,” the letter states. “Modernizing the organic industrial base plays a crucial role in our efforts to meet the National Defense Strategy and compete with near-peer competitors.”
“Each of these facilities has consistently demonstrated a backlog in critical infrastructure needs in testimony before Congress as well as, in some cases, congressionally directed reports. A significant portion of the current organic industrial base includes outdated World War II-era facilities that are not capable of fulfilling today’s requirements, let alone future needs.”
Signatories to the letter include: Don Bacon (NE-02), Stephanie I. Bice (OK-05), Anthony G. Brown (MD-04), John R. Curtis (UT-03), Vicky Hartzler (MO-04), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Burgess Owens (UT-04), C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02), Chris Stewart (UT-02), Michael Turner (OH-10), Joe Wilson (SC-02).
The Co-Chairs also recently authored a letter to President Joe Biden, calling for the organic industrial base to be included in the President’s ongoing efforts to strengthen the nation’s supply chains.
Text of the full letter is below and can be found here.
June 10, 2021
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the U.S. House
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Madam Speaker,
We are writing to encourage the incorporation of funding to address the significant backlog in infrastructure needs at Department of Defense organic industrial base facilities as well as Department of Defense Laboratories and Major Range and Test Facility bases. We are committed to advocating for the critical role that the DoD industrial base plays in our overall industrial base and sustaining the war fighter.
While the Biden Infrastructure proposal did not include any request for funding of these facilities, we strongly believe that the quality of these facilities is critical to the broader Biden Administration goals of addressing long-standing maintenance backlogs and reducing our dependence on foreign sources of materials. The organic industrial base consists of Defense Department-owned shipyards, arsenals, depots, and ammunition plants that are responsible for ensuring the maintenance and repair of our military weapons systems and equipment. Modernizing the organic industrial base plays a crucial role in our efforts to meet the National Defense Strategy and compete with near-peer competitors. Furthermore, each of these facilities has consistently demonstrated a backlog in critical infrastructure needs in testimony before Congress as well as, in some cases, congressionally directed reports.
A significant portion of the current organic industrial base includes outdated World War II-era facilities that are not capable of fulfilling today’s requirements, let alone future needs. These obsolete facilities lead to increased maintenance costs, as well as inefficiencies and reliability issues. Collectively, all the military services are working to modernize their base by upgrading the operating environment as well as their facilities and infrastructure.
In particular, the U.S. Army has devoted substantial resources to improve and upgrade its ammo plants, depots, and arsenals. In fact, the Army last year indicated it has a $16 billion backlog to bring its organic industrial base facilities to a sufficient infrastructure capacity to improve efficiencies and meet current and future needs. The Navy has reported to Congress that it has a $21 billion requirement to bring public shipyards into the modern era to support ship repair and ship building. The lack of facility investments over the decades is, in part, the reason behind significant backlog in meeting ship repair availabilities. An annual congressionally mandated report shows that DoD labs and major range and test facility bases have a nearly $4.7 billion backlog in infrastructure needs. Lastly, the U.S. Coast Guard Yard’s recapitalization requirement totals $350 million and includes improvements to legacy facilities to address maintenance backlogs and new infrastructure to support an expanding fleet of modern Coast Guard surface assets. Historically these projects have not done well in the annual prioritization of construction budgets but are critical to ensuring we maintain a competitive edge.
We highlight just a few of the most pressing infrastructure needs for the Department of Defense and certainly the needs that are direly needed to modernize our organic industrial base. There are many lessons from the current COVID crisis, but one is the need to maintain some level of organic capabilities that can be surged in moments of crisis. That takes an investment on the part of our federal government — but one well worth its return. We believe that ensuring there is DoD funding for these capabilities is truly in line with the Biden Infrastructure package goal of ensuring, “investment in America that will create millions of good jobs, rebuild our country’s infrastructure, and position the United States to out-compete China.” We appreciate your consideration of this request and look forward to working with you and relevant Committees of jurisdiction to include this funding in any final infrastructure package.