News Briefs – March 30, 2018

Maine lawmakers support rolled-back tax credit for shipyard

A bill that would continue providing tens of millions of dollars in state tax breaks to a Navy shipbuilder is getting support from Maine lawmakers.
The Senate voted 25-9 March 28 to provide a tax credit to Bath Iron Works. The bill faces more legislative action.
The latest version of the bill provides $45 million in non-refundable tax credits over 15 years, down from $60 million over 20 years as originally proposed. The bill would prevent Bath Iron Works from also qualifying for Pine Tree Development Zone benefits.
The shipyard, which employs 5,500 workers, says it wants to stay competitive against a Mississippi shipyard as it bids for up to 20 frigates to supplement its contracts for larger destroyers.
Bill opponent Democratic Sen. Justin Chenette deemed it corporate welfare. AP

EU plans to improve military mobility among member states

The European Union is making plans to improve military mobility among its member states and allow equipment to move more quickly across the continent.
The EU Commission proposed a plan to cut administrative red tape and reinforce certain roads and railways to make easier the transport of heavy defense equipment such as tanks.
EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini says that “by facilitating military mobility within the EU, we can be more effective in preventing crises, more efficient in deploying our missions and quicker in reacting.”
To kick off, member states this year will look at where the bottlenecks are and how to ease customs formalities. The EU also will need to look at which civil projects on roads and railways can have a defense component. AP

Vermont city council approves resolution asking to cancel F-35 basing

Vermont’s congressional delegation is standing by its decision to support basing F-35 jets at the Burlington Air National Guard Base as the City Council voted to request a cancellation.
The Burlington City Council resolution vote passed 9-3 March 28, after a ballot item asked that the F-35s not be based in Burlington. The resolution requests that the Air Force base an aircraft quieter than the F-35 in Burlington.
The head of the Vermont National Guard says the decision to base the F-35 in Vermont has already been made and the resolution does not the support Guard members and their families.
Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy and Democratic Rep. Peter Welch said March 28 the Guard will work with the community on aircraft basing concerns.
The resolution goes to Democratic Mayor Miro Weinberger for approval. AP

Afghan air force drops first laser-guided bomb during combat

NATO says the Afghan air force dropped its first laser-guided bomb during combat after completing training on how to use the sophisticated weapons system.
A March 27 NATO statement says the bomb was dropped on a Taliban compound in a “direct hit” in the western Farah province last March 22. It says the precision targeting allowed the air force to avoid harming nearby civilians.
The new system is part of U.S. and NATO efforts to bolster Afghanistan’s military. Afghan forces have struggled to contain the Taliban and a powerful Islamic State affiliate since international forces formally concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014. AP

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