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Ernst Secures Priorities in Defense Bill to Better Equip Female Troops, Protect Supply Chains

The Iowa senator successfully added provisions that will help provide troops the support, training, and equipment to defend our nation today and in the future

WASHINGTON – In addition to adding her bipartisan reform to prevent military sexual assault, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a combat veteran and the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities (ETC), secured several other major priorities in the Senate’s annual defense bill, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Ernst’s measures will help equip female troops with properly fitted body armor; protect America’s supply chains; remediate chemicals—such as polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS—near National Guard bases, like the Iowa Air National Guard Base in Des Moines; and monitor the growth of terrorist organizations resulting from the Biden Administration’s rushed Afghanistan withdrawal.
“As a former battalion and company commander, I know firsthand how important it is for our troops to have the support, training, and equipment to defend our nation – today and in the future,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “I’m proud to have secured key measures in this year’s defense bill that will better equip female soldiers, help defend and protect our critical domestic supply chains, and address the quality and needs of our National Guard bases, including Des Moines’ Iowa Air National Guard Base.”
Below are some of Ernst’s key priorities that she successfully included into the Senate’s NDAA:
  • Continued development and fielding of protective body armor designed specifically for female troops, an effort she has long fought for.
  • Improved security and resilience of domestic supply chains in key technologies, including requiring reporting on any security implications related to the use of and dependence on electric vehicles in the government fleet.
  • PFAS testing and remediation improvements for National Guard sites, such as Iowa Air National Guard Base – Des Moines.
  • Required security assessments related to the Afghan withdrawal, a provision aligned with legislation Ernst introduced earlier this month.
  • Providing the ability for servicemembers to take bereavement leave, an effort Ernst has championed to allow grieving servicemembers time to mourn the loss of an immediate family member.
  • Support for ammunition production and procurement at locations nationwide, including the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant in Des Moines County.
  • As the top Republican on the ETC Subcommittee, Ernst secured full support for U.S. Special Operations Command’s Armed Overwatch initiative, including an effort to develop and field a close air-support platform to support warfighters in austere and remote locations.