April 12, 2016
WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of Senate Armed Services Committee, and Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) introduced today the Directed Energy Weapon Systems Acquisition Act of 2016, a bill to accelerate the development and transition of directed energy technology capabilities for our nation's military. The bill authorizes the Secretary of Defense to use rapid acquisition authorities for directed energy weapon systems development and fielding.
“U.S. superiority on the land, sea, air and space have been eroded by procurement holidays and inadequate funding. This has enabled Russia and China to catch up and, in some areas, surpass the U.S. in combat capabilities,” Inhofe said. “Directed energy is one area the U.S. still has the advantage and could fundamentally change the battlefield. This legislation will help to encourage strategic planning, robust funding, and engagement by the Pentagon with industry and universities on directed energy weapons, and provide authority to rapidly acquire new directed energy weapon systems.”
“I truly believe that directed energy will provide our armed forces with a qualitative advantage over our adversaries and play a critical role in the future of weapons systems for our military. This legislation will drive change forward even faster,” Heinrich said. “New Mexico is home to incredible assets for directed energy such as the Air Force Research Laboratory, the High Energy Laser Joint Technology Office, White Sands Missile Range, and many key industry players that contribute enormously to our national security and our state's economy. Our state will undoubtedly continue to be a leader and make major contributions to this emerging field that will provide critical tools to our national defense in the years to come.”
In a letter of endorsement, Directed Energy Professional Society Executive Director Mark W. Neice said, “Rapid acquisition authority will ease the typical requirements development and acquisition process for this innovative technology. Now that the directed energy technologies have matured into several highly-successful demonstrations, against difficult and asymmetric threats, the time is right to transition these technologies into capabilities for the Department of Defense.”