WASHINGTON - Today, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel, made the following remarks, as prepared for delivery, on the Subcommittee's markup. To view the mark and to watch the markup live click here.
"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee mark-up for H.R. 2810—the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018.
The Subcommittee's mark in front of you is the product of an open, bi-partisan process. The mark provides our war fighters, retirees and their families the care and support they need, deserve, and have earned.
Specifically, this year's proposal would provide the tools necessary to rebuild and grow the armed forces for the future, including an increase in end-strength for the Military services and an extension of special pay and bonuses for service members designed to enhance retention in high demand specialties like Air Force aviation. Additionally, the subcommittee has recommended to the chairman that the committee mandate and fully fund the by law pay raise of 2.4% for all of our military personnel.
The mark would also improve support to those suffering from Post-traumatic Stress or Traumatic Brain Injury by enhancing the process for consideration of discharge upgrades by the Military Review Board Agencies and ensuring service members understand their rights related to applying for important VA benefits.
In addition, the mark would support the recent Military Health System organizational reform by ensuring the Services have a central role in the operation of military medical treatment facilities, as well as emphasizing the importance of maintaining inpatient capabilities for military treatment facilities located outside the United States.
Finally, the proposal would continue to refine sexual assault prevention and response by adding a new provision to the Uniform Code of Military Justice specifically prohibiting nonconsensual sharing of intimate images; expanding special victims counsel training to include training on the unique challenges often faced by male victims; and clarifying the process by which a designated representative can be appointed for a victim prior to a court-martial.
In conclusion, I want to thank Ranking Member Speier and her staff for their support in this process. Of course, we are joined by an active, informed, and dedicated group of subcommittee members. Their recommendations and priorities are clearly reflected in this mark."