WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) on Tuesday voted to pass the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY2022). The compromise defense bill authorizes three Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, builds on previous attempts to close the pay gap by authorizing support for a 2.7 percent pay increase for our service men and women in uniform, and makes sweeping changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice to combat sexual assault in the military, among other key investments and measures.
“While this bill isn’t perfect, it represents a true bipartisan effort that addresses climate change, promotes racial and gender equality, and stimulates a vibrant economy. Importantly, this legislation authorizes three destroyers in FY22, further protecting BIW workers and ensuring our Navy remains competitive with our adversaries. I’m proud this bill also includes amendments I cosponsored to support Maine’s federal civilian shipyard employees,” said Pingree. “I’m disappointed some important and more expansive provisions in the House-passed version were dropped in the final bill after negotiations, but this compromise legislation is still a huge victory in the fight against sexual assault in the ranks. Ensuring that we are doing everything we can to help and support our men and women in uniform who were sexually assaulted during their service continues to be one of my top priorities in Congress.”
The NDAA is the annual bill which authorizes expenditures for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), while funding is provided through the Defense Appropriations bill. Congress has passed the NDAA for 61 consecutive years.
Highlights of the NDAA include:
Arleigh Burke-class destroyers
The bill authorizes threeArleigh Burke-class destroyers for FY22
Authorizes advance procurement funding for a possible third DDG-51 in FY23
Requires a report from the Secretary of the Navy to Congress by March 1, 2022 on the potential cost-savings of a multiyear contract for the Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyers for FY23-FY27.
Reforms to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)
Removes the Commander from decisions related to the prosecution of sexual assault-related offenses and creates an Office of the “Special Trial Counsel” within each service, ensuring their independence by requiring they report directly to the Service Secretary.
Criminalizes sexual harassment under the UCMJ.
Requires the military services to notify survivors of sexual assault of any outcomes of actions taken against their perpetrators.
Support for Military Families
Authorizes a new Basic Needs Allowance to provide additional support for low-income military families struggling with food insecurity.
Expands the in-home child care pilot program by providing financial assistance for in-home child care.
Authorizes two weeks of paid parental bereavement leave for all federal employees
The bill makes key investments to address the threat of climate change as it relates to our national security and bolster energy resiliency across DoD.
Includes a requirement that DoD ensure that 10 percent of major military installations achieve energy, water, and waste net-zero by 2035
Additionally requires DoD to incorporate the risks of extreme weather into strategy and planning assessments.
Makes key investments in health care for service members and their dependents, including improvements to eating disorder treatment and post-natal care.
Invests in mental health care and suicide prevention, including by creating a program to provide direct assistance for mental health appointment scheduling at military medical treatment facilities and clinics, and requiring a thorough review of suicide prevention and response programs at various installations.
Diversity and Countering Extremism
Updates old diversity training requirements to ensure programming reduces discrimination and bias based on race, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity, among others.
Requires a strategy from the Secretary of Defense to address and prevent efforts from extremist organizations to recruit members of the armed forces.
Public Shipyard Employees
Ensures protected overtime pay for Navy employees that are performing work on Naval vessels overseas
Calls for a study on the impacts to Navy shipyard workers affected by the 2016 pause to the Accelerated Promotion Program (APP).