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By LINDSAY OLIVIER
NORTH KINGSTOWN - Last month, Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) called the news that only one Virginia Class submarine would be built in 2014, rather than the two as planned, âtroubling.â
Since the announcement, he had been working tirelessly to change that decision and Friday afternoon that work paid off.
In response to the Future Years Defense Plan (FYDP), Langevin, along with Congressman Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), wrote The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a major defense bill that passed the House last week by a 299 to 120 vote. The legislation would prevent the cut in production of the submarines, which are built by General Dynamics Electric Boat in Quonset and Groton, Conn.
âWe can and must make cuts to the defense budget, and I have offered ways to do just that,â Langevin said in a press release. âHowever, the Administration's plan to delay construction of the sub until after 2018 could increase the cost for taxpayers by $600 million. This bill provides a fiscally responsible way to maintain the current production level.â
In addition to the submarine component, the NDAA includes wording that encourages the Department of Defense (DOD) to work with Cyber Centers of Excellence, which includes the University of Rhode Island, to defend the electric grid and other vital industries against cyber threats.
âPartnering with experts in higher education would have the added effect of improving training of our cyber workforce,â Langevin said.
Langevin stressed that, while it was critical for the bill to move forward, he would continue his work to improve it before the final language reaches President Obamaâs desk.
Currently, the measure does not address cyber security for government and critical infrastructure networks and because the House Rules Committee âdisallowedâ Langevinâs amendments, which would have âensured better security for government agencies through the creation of a National Office for Cyberspace in the Executive Branch, and for critical infrastructure, by allowing the creation of minimum safety standards for vital systems."
Langevin says his work on the law is "far from over."
âEven though this has passed in the House ... weâre still going to advocate for restoring the cuts as this process moves forward,â he said.