Chairman Mike Turner (OH-10) of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces spoke on the House floor last night in support of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019. Below are his remarks:
“I rise in strong support of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019. I want to thank Chairman Thornberry and all the members of the committee, and certainly the group known as the defense hawks in this body who fought so diligently on increasing the topline so this number will make a difference and change the direction of our national security.
I want to also recognize and thank our subcommittee Ranking Member, Ms. Niki Tsongas, for her support and contribution to this bill. The bipartisan partnership she and her staff demonstrated in helping to craft this bill is much appreciated. Niki has also served with me for the last seven years as the co-chair of the Military Sexual Assault Prevention Caucus. Though this NDAA will her last National Defense Authorization Act, her work on the subcommittee and the caucus on sexual assault prevention will leave a strong legacy.
Within the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee’s jurisdiction, this bill recommends authorization for over $97 billion in needed modernization funding that is necessary for our comparative and competitive advantage against strategic peer competitors.
The bill again recognizes the importance of 5th generation strike fighter capability and supports the President’s budget request for 77 Joint Strike Fighters. The bill also authorizes the Department to procure additional F-35 aircraft, if funds become available through cost savings and program efficiencies.
I also want to take this opportunity to highlight the many foreign partners that comprise the F-35 program, which often gets overlooked by many. These foreign partnerships strengthen our ability to better operate with our allies in future conflicts.
The bill includes several oversight provisions to facilitate mitigation efforts for physiological episodes occurring in military aircraft, to include requiring the Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of the Air Force to certify that any new aircraft procured will have the most current technological advancements available to mitigate future physiological episodes.
However, much work remains to be done to improve overall aviation readiness and safety. Going forward our subcommittee will conduct a more detailed review of the investigative and governance processes related to aviation safety mishaps.
The bill provides an additional $623 million for the JSTARS Recap program. Based on our analysis resulting from extensive committee oversight activity, we have concluded that completely walking away from this program imposes an unprecedented level of risk to our warfighters.
The bill recommends funding to modernize 1.5 armored brigade combat teams which is absolutely necessary for Army.
For the seventh consecutive year, this bill addresses sexual assault in the military. The bill requires the Department to create a single office responsible for sexual offender registration, expands expedited transfer rights for victims of sexual assault, and further empowers the Defense Advisory Committee on Investigation, Prosecution, and Defense of Sexual Assault in the Armed Forces.
This bill also protects our service-members and their families by closing a gap in the way the Department prescribes controlled substances. The bill requires the Department to share more information with state prescription drug monitoring programs to combat the opioid epidemic.
Finally, I’d like to recognize the role small businesses plays. The Small Business Innovation Research Program is highlighted and is bolstered in this.
I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this bill.”
You can watch Chairman Turner’s full remarks here.