Washington, DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) released the following statement on the Senate passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA):
“I am pleased the Congress was able to get together in a bipartisan manner and pass the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This marks the 53rd year in a row that we have passed this bill which supports our servicemembers and authorizes critical national security programs. I am pleased that several of the provisions which I authored and strongly supported were included in this bill, such as security for Afghan women and girls, efforts to combat sexual assault in the military and reducing the VA backlog.”
Details on several provisions Senator Casey’s has supported are below:
- Security for Afghan Women and Girls: After the success of Senator Casey’s amendment to the FY13 NDAA on Afghan women and girls security, Senator Casey’s continued leadership has kept the issue of Afghan women’s rights and security at the forefront of U.S. policy in Afghanistan. The NDAA includes language from the amendment Senator Casey introduced to the FY14 NDAA to support the security of Afghan women. The bill provides for programs and activities to support the recruitment, integration, retention, training and treatment of women in the Afghan National Security Forces. Such programs include working to increase female security personnel ahead of the April 2014 elections; development and dissemination of gender and human rights education and training materials and programs within the Afghan Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Interior; efforts to address harassment and violence against women within the ANSF; and improvements to infrastructure that address the requirements of women serving in the ANSF.
- GAO Review on Bradley Industrial Base Study: This provision requires GAO to conduct a review of the Army AT Kearney study on the Bradley Fighting Vehicle report. The report, initially required by Senators Casey and Toomey in FY13 NDAA has been repeatedly delayed by the Army. This review ensures that the study is conducted in an impartial and timely manner, and addresses other tactical Army vehicles.
- Combatting Sexual Assault: These provisions include reforms that will strip commanders of the authority to dismiss a finding by a court martial, the elimination of the “good character” defense, the establishment of minimum sentencing guidelines, and the expansion of the rights of victims such as directing reforms to the Article 32 (pre-trial) process. Senator Casey remains committed to eradicating this issue from the ranks of the military, and though he recognizes that further work may be required in the future, he commends these important first steps for addressing this issue in depth.
- Rejection of Administration BRAC request: The bill declines to authorize a new BRAC round in 2015 and requires Department of Defense to conduct a report analyzing the shortfalls of the 2005 BRAC round in order to protect military installations in Pennsylvania and around the country.
In addition to these provisions, Senator Casey also supports efforts to authorize military construction for Pennsylvania’s National Guard, upgrades to the Abrams Tank, and efforts to further reduce the VA backlog.