Ernst Prioritizes Addressing Military Sexual Assault, Support for Troops, and Fiscal Responsibility in Annual Defense Bill
FY20 NDAA passes Armed Services Committee with more than 50 Ernst provisions included
May 24 2019
WASHINGTON –With more than 50 provisions by U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) included, the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has moved out of the Senate Armed Services Committee and onto a full vote in Senate.
“As a former company commander and retired lieutenant colonel, I understand the need and obligation to provide our men and women in uniform with the support and resources they need to carry out their mission and protect our great homeland,” said Senator Joni Ernst, the first female combat veteran elected to the U.S. Senate and chairman of the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities.
“We must have a ready and modernized military with cutting edge technology—prepared not only for the fight of today, but for the fight of tomorrow. We must ensure our troops, and their families, are properly cared for—whether it be victims of military sexual assault and domestic violence or those suffering from blast exposure injuries, like TBI. And, we have to ensure that no dollar provided to the Pentagon goes to waste, so our servicemembers have the support they need and Iowa taxpayers can be assured their hard earned money is being spent wisely.
“This bipartisan NDAA addresses all of these through a number of my provisions and will sustain and strengthen our national security against threats from around the world. I look forward to this defense bill moving to the full Senate and urge my colleagues to overwhelmingly support it.”
Senator Ernst had more than 50 provisions included in the FY20 NDAA that moved out of committee.
Combating Sexual and Domestic Violence and Improving Treatment of Blast Exposure:
The bipartisan FY20 NDAA builds off of Senator Ernst’s past work on confronting military sexual violence and treating blast exposure injuries. Specifically, a number of Ernst’s priorities included in the FY20 NDAA are focused on:
- expanding support for victims of military sexual assault and domestic violence and providing senior commanders with more oversight responsibilities to most effectively prosecute these serious offenses; and
- improving research on TBI among servicemembers and strengthening the capacity to track and mitigate injuries caused by blast pressure exposure.
Senator Ernst also successfully included language that will instruct the Pentagon to conduct a feasibility assessment on alternate prosecution models that would take prosecutions outside the traditional chain-of-command structure. The Senator’s push for a feasibility study is focused on gathering the practical and logistical information needed to understand the effects of such proposals.
Wins for Iowa:
Ernst was also able to secure provisions in the FY20 NDAA that will directly benefit Iowa and will ensure Iowans continue to play an important role in our nation’s defense efforts:
- sustaining and enhancing the workload at the Rock Island Arsenal;
- ensuring the production of much needed combat munitions at the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant;
- working with the Pentagon to find solutions to PFAS contamination at military installations, such as in the groundwater at Air National Guard Base in Sioux City; and,
- requesting a briefing on DoD’s efficient and transparent use of Iowa tax dollars through language similar to Ernst’s COST Act.
Priorities as Subcommittee Chairman for Emerging Threats and Technologies:
In addition, as subcommittee chairman, Senator Ernst successfully included provisions in the FY20 NDAA that will:
- ensure the Special Operations Command has the resources and authorities they need to be most effective in the fight today and in the future;
- increase research and development for key technologies like artificial intelligence, directed energy, and hypersonics to deter adversaries such as China and Russia; and
- improve our partnerships across the globe by expanding support for alliances like NATO and reaffirming alliances in the Pacific, as well as an increase in lethal aid to help our friends in Ukraine.
For a full recap of the Ernst provisions included in the bill, click here.