Chairman Mike Turner (OH-10) of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces released the following statement about the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019’s passage of the House:
“Throughout the entire process of crafting the final defense bill, I fought for key provisions to bolster our community, ensure the safety of our men and women in uniform, and keep our country secure. Most importantly, I was able to secure the full $182 million authorization for the new building at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to expand our intelligence operations. This is a huge win for the Dayton community and underscores Wright-Patt’s importance to our overall national security.”
Provisions included by Chairman Turner in the FY19 NDAA:
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB)
Chairman Turner surpassed the President’s budget and authorized the full $182 million for a new complex at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center at WPAFB.
Chairman Turner included a provision to expedite hiring of civilian personnel into positions involving acquisition, science, technology, and engineering. These expanded authorities allow commands at WPAFB to more quickly hire personnel in high-tech fields.
Chairman Turner also included an amendment to create flexibility and strengthen the utilization of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. This will directly benefit the Air Force’s SBIR/STTR Program, headquartered at WPAFB, and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), also located at Wright-Patt. AFRL utilizes both SBIR and STTR.
PERSIST Against MST Act
Chairman Turner, co-chair of the Military Sexual Assault Prevention Caucus, included bipartisan legislation with his co-chair Niki Tsongas (D-MA-3) to continue to combat sexual assault in the military. The PERSIST Against MST Act:
· Requires the Secretary of Defense to designate a single official or entity within the Office of the Secretary of Defense to take on the principal responsibility for providing oversight of the registered sex offender management program of the DoD and to provide a briefing to Congress on its efforts with an update no later than June 1, 2019;
· Ensures that victims of sexual assault in the military, even if their case is handled by the Family Advocacy Program, have the choice to request an expedited transfer to a different location;
· Mandates the government hand over any information requested by an independent panel, the Defense Advisory Committee on Investigation, Prosecution, and Defense of Sexual Assault in the Armed Forces, that the panel deems necessary to carry out its duties.
Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach, a victim of sexual assault who was murdered and was a constituent of Chairman Turner’s, was unable to transfer quickly. That failure by the DoD may have cost Maria her life. The inclusion of the PERSIST Against MST Act in the FY19 NDAA is a step towards ensuring this cannot happen again.
Chairman Turner’s SHIELDS Act, introduced with Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA-6), was included in the FY19 NDAA. This bill requires the DoD to report controlled substance prescription information to state prescription drug monitoring programs. This closes a dangerous gap and ensures health care providers have all the tools available to help safeguard our servicemembers, their families, and our veterans from opioid abuse.
Chairman Turner included provisions following up on his Evan’s Law to ensure DoD provided housing is safe for military families. This year’s provision allows DoD to establish a grant program that gives servicemembers living in DoD housing access to resources to emplace window fall prevention devices in their homes. Commander Jason English and his wife Ami lost their son Evan in an accidental fall from a window while living in military residential housing. Chairman Turner has worked to ensure that does not happen again.
Tactical Air and Land Subcommittee
Chairman Turner’s Tactical Air and Land Subcommittee mark, included in the full committee FY19 NDAA bill:
· F/A-18E/F Super Hornet: Authorizes multiyear procurement authorities for F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft to generate better cost savings for the taxpayer and provide needed capability to the Navy.
· F-35 Joint Strike Fighters: The NDAA supports the President’s budget request for 77 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and also authorizes the Department to procure additional F-35 aircraft, if additional funds become available, utilizing cost savings and program efficiencies. Congressman Turner continues to maintain oversight of the F-35 program by requiring quarterly updates on the program, and limits funding on the F-35 continuous capability development and delivery program until the Department provides a detailed cost estimate and baseline schedule for the program.
· JSTARS: Holds the Secretary of the Air Force accountable for increasing current capacity and capabilities for the warfighter related to Battle-Management, Command and Control, and Ground-Moving Target Indicator intelligence capabilities, and developing a plan to sustain legacy E-8C aircraft until the Advanced Battle-Management System concept reaches a level of acceptable maturity and capability.
· Electronic Warfare: Requires the Department of Defense to synchronize and unify efforts related to the implementation of electronic warfare strategy and capabilities. A mission area in which our peer competitors outpacing U.S. capabilities, and for which the Department of Defense has struggled for years across the Services to implement capabilities coherently.
· A-10 Warthog: Building on committee oversight and prior National Defense Authorization Act legislation, the conference report continues to stress the importance of modernizing the A-10 Warthog fleet. The NDAA also includes an increase of $65.0 million for the A-10 wing replacement program and through the HASC committee report directs the Air Force to consider using multi-year procurement contracts to generate better cost-savings.
· Armor Brigade Combat Teams: The NDAA conference report supports the President’s budget request to modernize Army Armored Brigade Combat Team vehicles, including 135 M1 Abrams tanks, 60 Bradley fighting vehicles, 197 armored multipurpose vehicles, 38 Improved Recovery Vehicles, and 3,390 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles.
· Strykers: Authorizes $225.3 million, an increase of $203.4 million, for Stryker A1 combat vehicles, the most survivable and advanced version of the Stryker combat vehicle.
· Works to facilitate mitigation efforts to better address physiological episodes in tactical and training aircraft, and requires the Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of the Air Force to certify that any new aircraft will all have the most recent technological advancements necessary to mitigate PEs.
· Works to strengthen and improve ISR investment strategies in order to more efficiently and effectively meet combatant commander ISR requirements.
· Advances the development and procurement of lighter, stronger and more advanced personal protective equipment systems for all warfighters.
· Sets the conditions and encourages the Department to explore opportunities to accelerate the Future Vertical Lift program in order to meet national security challenges.