Funding for military intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance programs in the amount of $4 million was included in Defense appropriations legislation that passed out of committee on Tuesday, announced Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) who championed the programs and emphasized the Joint Base’s strategic location for these missions.

“The Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and Aerostat Operations funded in this legislation will greatly support our combat readiness and strategic capabilities worldwide,” Smith said. “They are safer and more cost-effective means of surveillance—a worthy investment for our Armed Forces. The program must and will be competitively bid, however it is encouraging to note that Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst already possesses the critical infrastructure and level of expertise to receive the experimentation and demonstration missions for these programs, and our team of experts are extraordinarily suited for the job.”

Smith wrote both the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Defense Subcommittee in April, asking for increased investment in UAS and Aerostat Collaborative Operations. “Through a greater investment in these programs, we will ultimately propel our warfighters into the future and advance readiness,” Smith wrote.

“UAS low-cost and ability to travel over greater distances surveilling larger areas and communicating intelligence in real-time, ultimately provides commanders improved battlefield situational awareness and time to coordinate and plan,” the letter stated.

Smith stressed that Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst “would be an ideal location for proof of concept experimentation/demonstration due to its easily accessible location, the availability of air space, and frequency spectrum.”

Smith also announced that Clayton Associates of Lakewood, NJ, has received a maximum-$20 million contract from the Department of Defense for storage equipment.

“I am pleased to announce that Clayton Associates, Inc. of Lakewood has been awarded a maximum-$20 million contract for its Vacu-Tote Storage boxes, an exciting development for a business headquartered right here in the Fourth District,”said Smith.

“Clayton has already supplied the U.S. troops deployed and stationed around the world, and it will once again be outfitting U.S. troops with this new contract,” Smith said. “Its Vacu-Tote Storage boxes are durable, versatile, rust-proof, and impermeable to most chemicals, gas, and oil, and will be utilized for many purposes including securing and transporting valuable military tools and gear for U.S. troops. They last for years, and best of all, they are manufactured in the U.S. and Clayton is headquartered right here in New Jersey.”

The contract, with the U.S. Army as the primary customer, is a maximum $20 million one-year base Defense contract with four one-year option periods.