Chairman Mike Turner (OH-10) of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018:
“The FY18 NDAA provides the necessary funding for our armed forces to combat the most complex and unpredictable threats in our history. Lack of funding has left our troops with significant capability and capacity challenges. My colleagues and I have fought hard to make sure our men and women in uniform get the funding they need to rebuild our military after sequestration’s devastating cuts.”
BE HEARD Act Included in NDAA
Chairman Turner and Ranking Member Niki Tsongas (MA-03), co-chairs of the Military Sexual Assault Caucus, were able to include their 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:
- Expanding specialized training for military Special Victims’ Counsel (SVCs);
- Allowing the military’s highest court to hear the appeals of sexual assault survivors on decisions while a trial is ongoing; and
- 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 Chairman Turner’s 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
Chairman Turner’s 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
Chairman Turner 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.
Chairman Turner 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.
Chairman Turner also included an amendment to this year’s NDAA that indicated a sense of Congress that NATO should:
- Implement plans to ensure sufficient investment in defense;
- Identify and address security threats;
- Bolster deterrence efforts in Eastern Europe;
- Seek a Dayton II agreement to resolve the constitutional issues faced by Bosnia Herzegovina; and
- Prepare other countries for NATO membership.
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
Chairman Turner included language in the NDAA to allow AFRL to assume oversight and management of the Hypersonic Airbreathing Weapons Concept. AFRL will be tasked with:
- Developing a reusable hypersonics test bed to further probe the high speed flight corridor;
- Facilitating the testing and development of hypersonic airbreathing weapon systems;
- Exploring emerging concepts and technologies for reusable hypersonics weapons systems beyond current hypersonics programs, focused on experimental flight test capabilities; and
- 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:
- Define causes of the variability in physiologic response to oxygen deprivation that exists among humans;
- Characterize operational traits of life-supporting systems within current and proposed platforms and the efficacy of those systems in extreme conditions; and
- 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.
Chairman Turner was also able to secure funding for AFRL’s Technology Transition Program. This funding will allow for cost-matched investment in:
- System performance modeling and simulation;
- Additive manufacturing;
- Demonstrations; and
- Rapid evaluation of system-of-systems prototypes.
United States Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT)
Chairman Turner included language in the NDAA to expand AFIT enrollment authority to include civilian employees of the homeland security industry.