Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego), chair of the Military Personnel Subcommittee, highlighted the personnel provisions in H.R. 5136, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  The NDAA, approved by the House of Representatives, also contained the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

“This bill continues to improve the quality of life for our service members, their families, and military survivors,” said Davis.  “While we couldn’t accommodate all the requests that were brought before the Military Personnel Subcommittee, we were able to include many to address the needs of our military.”

Some of the highlights include:

  • A 1.9 percent pay raise.
  • Increases to hostile fire pay and family separation allowance.
  • The authority for TRICARE beneficiaries to extend health care coverage to dependents up to age 26, to mirror the new health care law.
  • Adoption of the full range of recommendations by the Defense Task Force on Sexual Assault in the Military Services.
  • And authorization of 50 million dollars in the Department of Defense Impact Aid program, and an additional 15 million dollars for local educational agencies directly impacted by force structure changes and BRAC.

The House also cast an historic vote to end the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military.  With the approval of an amendment to the NDAA, the bill would end the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy pending completion of a review on how to implement its repeal.

“Our military draws its strength from the integrity of our unified force,” said Davis.  “But the current law challenges this integrity by creating two realities within the ranks---one for straight service members, and one for those who are gay.”

The Senate is expected to pass its own version of the NDAA, which will then need to be reconciled with the House version before being sent to the President.