WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) today released the following statement after several of her measures were included in the Senate Armed Services Committee markup of the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill will now head to the Senate for further consideration.
“The FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act continues to build on recent reforms that strengthen our national security and ensure success in potential future conflicts with technologically sophisticated adversaries. This NDAA includes priorities that drive innovation within the Department of Defense to build advanced weapon systems; make sure our men and women have access to the top equipment they need on the battlefield as well as the health care they deserve; improve U.S. capabilities to defeat ISIS and other terrorist groups; and protect our nation from ballistic missile systems.
“I am pleased that several of my provisions to encourage greater efficiency and fiscal restraint were adopted, including reforming program management standards across the DoD to correct widespread deficiencies, lax oversight, and unnecessary cost overrun incurred by preventable delays in meeting stated goals and deadlines. Additionally, my provision to modernize DoD policies to provide transportation and ridesharing companies like Uber access to military installations was adopted.
“Moreover, the FY17 NDAA includes my work to prevent retaliation against military sexual assault survivors by making it a punishable crime; ensure our military leaders set physical standards for our servicemembers instead of political appointees; mandate a report to Congress implementation of women into combat roles in the Army, Marines, and Special Operations; oversight language designed to improve military intelligence support to our warfighters through more effective spending of taxpayer dollars and eliminating unnecessary military headquarters overhead; and also create a career track for JAGs to specialize in criminal litigation for their entire careers to provide skilled counsel for our servicemembers. As I have made clear, I am committed to working to change the culture surrounding sexual assault in the military, and focus on the overall prevention of sexual assault in order to stop this trauma in the first place.
“All of these powerful reforms included in NDAA are the product of a bipartisan effort on the Senate Armed Services Committee to put our nation on a strong path forward. I look forward to the continued discussion with my colleagues on the Senate floor in the time ahead.”
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 5-year pilot program for a litigation track for military lawyers to enhance criminal justice within the military and provide more effective defense and prosecution for servicemembers.
- Provides additional workload at Rock Island Arsenal to turn no longer used military weapons into materials for new weapons.
- Implements a one year 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.
- Improves DoD program and project management practices by requiring the development of government wide standards, policies, and guidelines for program management.
- 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 network 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.
- Provided 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 the Army to reevaluate increases in overhead at military intelligence headquarters which seeks to eliminate unnecessary overhead, waste, and mismanagement, as well as to enhance intelligence support to our warfighters.
- Requires the Army to certify it was using certain military intelligence funds correctly in order to ensure the proper spending of Americans tax dollars.
- Urges the Army to enhance its military intelligence capabilities by keeping track of its intelligence professionals who have regional and academic expertise in certain geographical regions of the globe.
- Maintains suicide prevention programs in the Army Reserves and National Guard.
- Requires the DoD to report on its acquisition of sole source contracts which would enhance congressional oversight to ensure the DoD is getting the best value for taxpayer dollars.
- Requires the military service senior intelligence officers to have an active security clearance.
- Urges the DoD to enhance its military intelligence leadership by assigning general officers with military intelligence experience to serve as the military services senior intelligence officers.
- Authorizes the Navy to award historical World War II and Korea War era rifles to Marines and Sailors who win military marksmanship competitions.
- Ensures our military leaders set physical standards for servicemembers, instead of political appointees.