“As our nation faces some of the most complex security challenges in more than a generation, I urge the President to sign this fiscal year’s NDAA without delay.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) today voted in support of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report for Fiscal Year 2016, which includes five major provisions offered by the Iowa Senator.

Among the provisions is a measure building on Senator Ernst’s previous bipartisan efforts in support of arming the Kurdish Peshmerga, critical partners to the United States in the fight against ISIS. The provision instills a sense of the severity of the threat posed by ISIS to the people and territory of Iraq, providing the President with the option to directly provide arms and training to the Kurdish Peshmerga in coordination with coalition partners at the President’s discretion.

Sen. Ernst released the following statement after the Senate passed the NDAA conference report, which will head to the President’s desk:

“This comprehensive blueprint puts our Department of Defense on solid footing to stave off terrorist threats; permits lethal assistance to Ukraine; includes breakthrough technologies and modernizations to meet the unique challenges we face in cyberspace and all around the world; and prohibits the transfer of detainees out of Guantanamo Bay. In addition, this legislation builds on our continued efforts to strengthen policy for prevention, victim support and to stop retaliation in sexual assault cases.

“Furthermore, this NDAA adopted several of my provisions including improvements to the VA’s outreach for its peer-to-peer support program to help veterans suffering from mental health issues; extends the National Guard State Partnership Program; gives the President the authority to directly arm the Kurdish Peshmerga with the weapons and equipment needed to fight against ISIS; and ensures that federal programs are efficient, on budget and on schedule, among many other critical measures.

“As our nation faces some of the most complex security challenges in more than a generation, I urge the President to sign this fiscal year’s NDAA without delay.”

Ernst Provisions Included in NDAA Conference Report:

  • A provision which provides the President with the legal authority, if the President finds the Government of Iraq is not increasing its political inclusiveness, to directly arm the Kurdish Regional Government, in coordination with the Iraqi government to the extent necessary, to fight ISIS. This provision also provides the sense of Congress on the severity of the threat posed by ISIS to the people and territorial integrity of Iraq, including Iraqi Kurdistan, and the security and stability of the region and the world. It also shares the sense that the U.S., in coordination with our coalition partners, provide without undue delay – the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga with the weapons and equipment, and training necessary to more effectively partner with the U.S. and other international partners to defeat ISIS.
  • A provision to improve the Clay Hunt SAV Act pilot program by requiring outreach of the VA’s community-based veteran peer support network to our wounded, ill, and injured service members, as well as all service members within 180 days of leaving service. This provision will ensure the VA will be proactive, instead of reactive, with its outreach to those who have sacrificed for our nation on this important mental health pilot program.
  • A provision requiring a joint report to the Senate Armed Services Committee from the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of the Navy, a plan to jointly modernize Army and Marine Corps small arms during a 15-year period. This provision seeks to reduce duplication of efforts between the services, potentially realize cost savings in developing common small arms weapons and technology, and improve the committee’s oversight of the modernization strategies of both of the branches of service whose primary mission it is to fight and win our nation’s land conflicts.
  • A provision, for the next five years, which provides new or current leases on Army Ammunition Plants, under the Army’s ARMS initiative, the option of extending a 25-year lease for an additional 25-year period. This provision will attract and retain greater investment, reduce facility sustainment cost, and provide a boost to some local communities - including the Des Moines County Iowa Army Ammunition Plant.
  • A provision which extends the National Guard State Partnership Program for five years.

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