TURNER Supports NDAA Conference Report
Today Congressman Mike Turner (OH-10), Subcommittee Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, released the following statement after voting in support of the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2020:
“One of the most important jobs I have as a Member of Congress is supporting our troops. As a conferee negotiating the final details of this year’s defense bill, I advocated relentlessly for and was able to authorize $120.9 million in additional funding for the largest expansion project in Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s history; increased communication between the Department of Defense and local governments near military installations regarding PFAS, a provision my office drafted in direct coordination with the City of Dayton; the ability for us to deter our adversaries with low-yield nuclear weapons; new provisions to further address military sexual assault; more F-35s; and improved safety in military housing. This bill also gives our service members their largest pay increase in a decade and 12 weeks of paid family leave. I strongly support this year’s defense bill to provide the necessary funding for our troops to continue to keep us safe.”
Provisions supported by Congressman Turner in this year’s NDAA:
- $738 billion in total funding for our Armed Forces.
- Three-year phased repeal of the requirement that Survivor Benefit Plan payments be reduced by Dependency and Indemnity Compensation payments, also known as the “Widow’s Tax.”
- 3.1 percent pay raise – the largest increase in a decade – and extends special pay and bonuses for service members.
- Doubles the reimbursement allowance for state licensure and certification costs of a spouse of a servicemember arising from relocation.
- Reduces childcare waitlist backlogs on military bases.
- Gives members of the federal government, including military members, 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a newborn or adopted child.
- Renews a series of authorities to deter Russian aggression, including increased funding for the European Defense Initiative (EDI) needs by providing an additional $734.3 million for military construction, anti-submarine warfare, and other urgent priorities to deter Russia and work with U.S. partners and allies.
- Authorizes the Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA) for an additional three years to ensure the Intelligence Community is postured to effectively address the growing array of threats to our national security.
- Supports full funding for the B-21 long-range strike aircraft development.
- Wright Patterson Air Force Base: Turner advocated strongly for the following provisions in the NDAA to bolster WPAFB:
- Authorizes the remaining $120.9 million to complete the expansion at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s National Air and Space Intelligence Center. This expansion, championed by Turner over the past several years, is the biggest expansion in WPAFB’s history.
- Redesignates the Commandant of the United States Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) as the Director and Chancellor of AFIT.
- Increased research and development funding by $5 million to support a public-private partnership operated by the Air Force Research Laboratory at WPAFB with the goal of advancing American metalmaking technology.
- PFAS: Turner has been aggressively seeking ways to prohibit the use of PFAS chemicals since it was found in the groundwater near WPAFB and had been used at over 100 military bases across the country. Turner advocated for a provision that directs the Secretary of Defense to enter into agreements with municipalities or municipal drinking water utilities located adjacent to military installations under which both the Secretary and the municipalities and utilities would share monitoring data relating to perfluoroalkyl substances, polyfluoroalkyl substances, and other emerging contaminants of concern collected at the military installation. This information sharing will increase transparency between the local governments near military installations and the DoD. This was a direct request from the City of Dayton and Turner was able to get the provision into the final defense bill.
- Strategic Forces: As Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, Turner fought during the reconciliation of the House and Senate versions of the defense bill to come to a final version that:
- Does not prohibit DoD from deploying low-yield nuclear weapons.
- Increases oversight on the Ground-Based midcourse Defense System to address the cancellation of the Redesigned Kill Vehicle effort, which will improve transparency and avoid similar errors in future programs.
- Installs a requirement for the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense to notify the appropriate congressional committees no less than 120 days before a withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty if such withdrawal is in the best interests of the United States national security.
- Military Sexual Assault Prevention: As co-chair of the Military Sexual Assault Prevention Caucus, Turner worked with his bipartisan colleagues to include the following measures in the NDAA:
- Increases resources available to sexual assault survivors, including an increase in the number of investigative personnel and Victim Witness Assistance Program liaisons with the goal of ensuring that investigations of sex-related offenses are completed not later than six months after the date of initiation.
- Provides additional digital forensic investigators to enhance DoD’s ability to recover text messages between an individual accused of sexual assault and their victim, investigate child pornography, and help make the case in allegations of Internet fraud.
- Provides for additional training for commanders on their roles in the disposition of sexual assault and collateral offenses.
- Requires that victims of sexual assault receive periodic updates throughout the court-martial process regarding the status of the case, while expanding authority of military judges to review actions prior to the referral of a court-martial.
- Takes steps to ensure that a victim’s preference of prosecution jurisdiction and other decisions by the victim are properly documented.
- Expands the training of special victims’ counsel on state civilian criminal justice matters in the state where the victim is assigned and requires that a special victims counsel be made available to victims not later than 72 hours after a request for such.
- F-35: As a co-chair of the F-35 Caucus, Turner fought for the following provisions in the NDAA:
- Authorizes an additional $1 billion for 12 additional F-35A aircraft to address an identified Air Force unfunded requirement and accelerate delivery of needed 5th generation capability and $440 million for the purchase of additional F-35s originally ordered by Turkey.
- Provides the necessary authority for buying F-35 long lead spare parts in bulk to help achieve better cost savings for the F-35 program and authorizes buy-to-budget authority to capitalize on lower unit cost savings.
- Supports the budget request for 10 F-35B and 20 F-35C 5th generation strike fighters to help address Navy and Marine Corps strike fighter shortfalls.
- Evan’s Law: Since learning of the tragic death of Evan English, a child who fell out of a window in military housing, Turner has been aggressively pushing to increase safety for children living on bases. This year’s NDAA adjusts the window height requirement for windows that need a fall prevention device from 24” to 42” and will ensure a higher percentage of windows are captured in the requirement. Under the current code, there is still no requirement to have a fall prevention device in place because that window doesn't meet the current definition. This amendment also requires the fall prevention device to be defined as a window screen or guard, which increases the effectiveness of the barriers and is more in line with current building codes.