The National Defense Authorization Act of 2020: A Step Forward
Passing the National Defense Authorization Act
On Friday, the House passed the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which funds the United States’ national defense and security operations, as well as a pay raise for our troops. The legislation also includes amendments I introduced to improve Department of Defense (DOD) Property Management, require military officials to consult with trauma experts when reviewing claims related to military sexual trauma (MST), begin a study on the partnership between civilian and military domestic and sexual violence response providers, and register all Civilian Protection Orders on DOD facilities.
Addressing the Scourge of Military Sexual Trauma
Military sexual trauma is an ongoing scourge that we must address with urgency. Our servicemembers and veterans sacrifice so much for our country and it is unthinkable that they must worry about sexual harassment and assault on top of the service they have signed up to perform. Additionally, dishonorably discharging service members who are struggling in the aftermath of being assaulted is simply outrageous. Requiring military officials who review these cases toreceive trauma-informed training and consult with trauma experts will help boards better adjudicate survivors’ cases and will help survivors obtain the justice and support they deserve.
My provisions also address the need to increase coordination between the military and civilians to help ensure civilian restraining orders are upheld on military bases and installations. We’ve made progress in addressing military sexual violence and harassment, but we have more work to do, and these amendments are a step forward.
Reducing Department of Defense Wasteful Spending
The DOD maintains a property portfolio roughly the size of the State of Virginia comprised of approximately 568,000 buildings, roads, and other critical infrastructure projects valued at over $1 trillion. A recent report from the Government Accountability Office uncovered startling mismanagement of this portfolio, including buildings being listed as in use that had been torn down and buildings on base that were not in DOD’s records. This unlisted value of these real property assets could be upwards of $12 billion. This stunning mismanagement is ripe for abuse and waste.
My amendment will help solve this problem by studying and implementing best practices for real property data collection to ensure the DOD accurately records the facilities in its portfolio - which will reduce the likelihood of superfluous military spending.
Looking Out for Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Workers
I’m thrilled that I was able to secure language in the NDAA with Representatives Chris Pappas (NH-01), Chellie Pingree (ME-01) and Jared Golden (ME-02) to support the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNSY) workers who were hired between January 2016 and December 2016. When the Navy’s Office of Civilian Human Resources (OCHR) stopped its accelerated promotion program (APP) between January 2016 and December 2016, workers hired during that period - including those at PNSY - were not eligible for the career advancement program. This amendment will fund a study of the number of workers impacted and help us to fix the Navy’s human resources oversight and put workers at the shipyard on the same career trajectory as their colleagues.
I want to hear from you
My most important responsibility is to serve you, the people of New Hampshire’s Second Congressional District. If you have questions, concerns, or ideas, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office at 603-226-1002.
Thank you for the wonderful contributions you make to our great state. I hope you have a good rest of the week!