NDAA for FY18 Passes Out of Committee

Last week the House Armed Services Committee marked up the FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). I was proud to see the NDAA for FY18 pass out of committee to give the people protecting us what they need to combat the most complex threats in global history. Sequestration has devastated our readiness. Lack of funding has left our troops with shortfalls in training, functioning equipment, and ammunition. My colleagues and I have fought hard to make sure our men and women in uniform get what they need from the NDAA for FY18 to rebuild the military after the Obama Administration’s harmful cuts to it.

BE HEARD Act Included in NDAA

Ranking Member Niki Tsongas (MA-03) and I, co-chairs of the Military Sexual Assault Caucus, were able to include our BE HEARD Act as part of the NDAA. Inclusion of this language in the NDAA makes it easier for survivors of military sexual assault to BE HEARD by:

  1. Expanding specialized training for military Special Victims’ Counsel (SVCs);
  2. Allowing the military’s highest court to hear the appeals of sexual assault survivors on decisions while a trial is ongoing; and
  3. Permitting military judges to appoint legal representatives for sexual assault survivors who are minors or who are otherwise incapable of representing themselves before charges are filed against a reported perpetrator.

Minimum Confinement Period to Combat Military Sexual Assault

The NDAA includes my amendment to establish a minimum confinement period of two years for members of the Armed Forces convicted of sex-related offenses.

Evan’s Law Included in NDAA

Evan’s Law was included as part of the NDAA. Evan’s Law requires the Department of Defense (DoD) to implement military residential window safety measures to protect against unintentional falls by young children.

Child Custody Protection

I included language in this year’s NDAA that requires the Secretary of Defense to brief the House Armed Services Committee on the information and resources currently provided to service members regarding State child custody laws, including an analysis of how best to standardize distribution of this information to affected service members.

NATO

I included language in this year’s NDAA that recognizes the role NATO defense industries have played in weapon systems programs through partnerships and supply chain activities. It also directs the Secretary of Defense to provide a briefing on joint weapon system development and coordination and interoperability efforts with NATO members and defense industries.

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB) Funding in NDAA

This year’s NDAA authorized funding for WPAFB to provide commercial off-the-shelf equipment and technologies such as civil engineers construction, surveying, and mapping equipment commonly used in U.S. commercial construction and other industries.

Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Funding in NDAA

I included language in the NDAA to allow AFRL to assume oversight and management of the Hypersonic Airbreathing Weapons Concept. AFRL will be tasked with:

  1. Developing a reusable hypersonics test bed to further probe the high speed flight corridor;
  2. Facilitating the testing and development of hypersonic airbreathing weapon systems;
  3. Exploring emerging concepts and technologies for reusable hypersonics weapons systems beyond current hypersonics programs, focused on experimental flight test capabilities; and
  4. Developing defensive technologies and countermeasures against potential and identified hypersonic threats.

AFRL was also authorized funding for research on threats to military readiness and human safety imposed by hypoxia. AFRL will look to:

  1. Define causes of the variability in physiologic response to oxygen deprivation that exists among humans;
  2. Characterize operational traits of life-supporting systems within current and proposed platforms and the efficacy of those systems in extreme conditions; and
  3. Enhance en-route care, which frequently involves exposing both the patient and clinician to conditions of low environmental oxygen.

AFRL’s partnership with DoD and the Federal Aviation Administration is furthered in this NDAA to support Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) operations. This work will assist in the development of standards, policies, and procedures for UAS capabilities and employment.

The NDAA also authorizes AFRL to help develop the ability to deploy unmanned aerial vehicles with sensors to autonomously detect and track chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) threats. This would mitigate the risk involved in sending a person into a possibly contaminated environment to confirm if a chemical weapon had been used.

I was also able to secure funding for AFRL’s Technology Transition Program. This funding will allow for cost-matched investment in:

  1. Research;
  2. Development;
  3. System performance modeling and simulation;
  4. Additive manufacturing;
  5. Demonstrations; and
  6. Rapid evaluation of system-of-systems prototypes.

United States Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT)

I included language in the NDAA to expand AFIT enrollment authority to include civilian employees of the homeland security industry.

Congressman Mike Turner is Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces.

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