WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) today released the following statement after voting in favor of the final Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which now heads to the president’s desk. The report included several of the Iowa Senator’s measures, and passed with bipartisan support.
“The final passage of the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act is important in providing certainty not only for our nation’s defense, but for our servicemembers. The legislation ensures our men and women serving on the front lines of battle have the tools they need to defend our nation and the health care they deserve.
“This NDAA makes sweeping reforms to modernize the Department of Defense and includes my measure to streamline operations and encourage greater efficiency and effectiveness through reforming program management standards across Government to prevent cost overruns and lax oversight. I am also pleased that legislation I offered with Senator Claire McCaskill to prevent retaliation against military sexual assault survivors, was included. This measure would make retaliation its own crime in the military, increases transparency, enhances training, and implements best practices to protect sexual assault survivors.
“I am grateful Congress worked in a bipartisan manner to ensure our servicemembers are properly equipped to face the ever-evolving challenges at home and abroad. It’s my hope that President Obama signs this crucial legislation as quickly as possible.”
Summary of Ernst Measures Included in the NDAA:
- Seeks to end retaliation against sexual assault survivors by making retaliation its own crime in the military.
- Creates a pilot program for military lawyers to enhance criminal justice within the military and provide more effective defense and prosecution for servicemembers.
- Implements a delay in requiring the National Guard to convert some of its Dual Status Military Technicians to federal civilian status.
- Makes permanent the National Guard State Partnership Program which enhances our military and diplomatic efforts around the world.
- Requires the Secretary of Defense to submit to Congress a report on the career progression track for female servicemembers.
- Requires the DoD to report on its acquisition of contracts which would enhance congressional oversight to ensure the DoD is getting the best value for taxpayer dollars.
- Seeks to reduce drunk driving and provide employment opportunities to military families by requiring the DoD to develop a policy to afford base access to transportation companies.
- Enhances whistleblower protections for those servicemembers and DoD employees who report wrongdoing at the DoD.
- Requires the DoD to report on the progress of women in previously closed combat positions.
- Provides funds for much needed renovations at the Women in Military Service for American Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.
- Provides funds to the Army and Marine Corps to enhance the small arms and ammunition capabilities of our Soldiers and Marines.
- Requires a review of the Defense Intelligence Enterprise and seeks to eliminate unnecessary overhead, waste, and mismanagement, as well as to enhance intelligence support to our warfighters.
- Maintains suicide prevention programs in the Army Reserves and National Guard.
- Improves federal government program and project management practices by requiring the development of government wide standards, policies, and guidelines for program management.