WASHINGTON, D.C. – Led by Chairwoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Ranking Member Trent Kelly (R-MS), the House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee for Military Personnel today released its proposals for the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  The Subcommittee will meet at 12 p.m. on June 4, 2019 in Rayburn 2212.  The markup will be webcast on the committee’s website. The Subcommittee's mark is available here.

The Military Personnel proposal is an integral part of the NDAA, supporting and protecting our warfighters with the care and benefits they need, deserve, and have earned.

Specifically, this year's proposal focuses on three main areas:

  • Military service members and their families
    • Extends special pay and bonuses for service members.
    • Requires the Secretary of Defense to establish and implement a standard service recordfor members of the Reserve Component that summarizes their record of service and would be recognized by the VA for purposes of applying for benefits.
    • Standardizes new mother deployment deferral policy at one year, across the military services, to include the Coast Guard.
    • Requires the Secretary concerned to increase the maximum reimbursement amount to $1,000 and to do an analysis to determine if the maximum reimbursement amount for State licensure and certifications of a spouse is sufficient to cover the average costs of relicensing.
    • Directs GAO to provide a report with an analysis of military spouse unemployment rates for spouses with professional certifications or licenses and marketing efforts by the Department of Defense to ensure military spouses are aware of available resources.
    • Authorizes financial assistance to civilian child care providers who care for the children of survivors of members who die in the line of duty and to expand direct hiring authority for child care providers.
    • Directs the Secretary of Defense to submit a report containing the plan for implementation of reforms to the Transition Assistance Program directed by section 552 of Public Law 115-232.
    • Directs the Secretary of Defense to establish procedures to ensure that each of the military departments identify surviving family members of fallen service members to meet periodically with their respective military service chiefs to provide feedback on surviving family member issues and concerns.
    • Authorizes the Secretary of Defense to provide a gold star lapel button to stepsiblings of deceased military service members.
    • Authorizes the creation of the Atomic Veterans Service Medal, to be awarded to radiation-exposed veterans.
    • Directs GAO to review report on the military services efforts to prevent and respond to domestic violence.
    • Directs GAO to review and report on the military services efforts to prevent and respond to hazing.
    • Requires the Secretary of Defense to update and implement the Department of Defense Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan.
  • Sexual Assault/Uniform Code of Military Justice
    • Expands the Special Victims’ Counsel program to cover eligible domestic violence victims and designates Special Victims’ Counsel Paralegals.
    • Requires regulations for implementation of a “safe-to-report” policy at military service academies, which allows sexual assault victims to report sexual assault without fear of discipline for minor collateral misconduct.
    • Establishes regulations providing for timely consideration of transfer applications for military service academy students who are the victims of sexual-assault and related offenses.
    • Extends the Defense Advisory Committee on Investigation, Prosecution, and Defense of Sexual Assault for an additional five years and expands their scope of review to address matters impacting crime victims.
    • Requires military services to increase their personnel authorizations for criminal investigators to ensure sexual assault investigations are completed in a timely manner.
    • Requires the Secretary of Defense to establish non-binding sentencing guidelines based on recommendations from the Military Justice Review Panel.
    • Updates the Armed Forces Workplace and Gender Relations Surveys and the Department of Defense Civilian Employee Workplace and Gender Relations Survey to track occurrences of “unwanted sexual contact.”
  • Healthcare:
    • Requires the Secretary of Defense to conduct a review of current policy and submit a report on suicide among members of the Armed Forces and provide specific metrics related to the effectiveness of suicide prevention initiatives.
    • Prohibits the Secretary of Defense and the Secretaries of the military departments from realigning or reducing military medical end strength until analyses are conducted on potential manpower realignments and the availability of health care services in the local area.
    • Requires the Secretary of Defense to provide a report on the proportion and amount of the Department of Defense medical research budget being dedicated to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE); the projected number of service members potentially afflicted with CTE; the plan and methodologies used for the detection of CTE in service members and covered beneficiaries; and potential gaps in CTE research and detection methodologies.
    • Requires the Secretary of Defense to develop and implement a comprehensive policy for the provision of mental health care services to members of the Armed Forces.
    • Provides lead level testing in the TRICARE program for children meeting specific criteria and requires the Secretary of Defense and the GAO to review the effectiveness of the Department of Defense lead screening program for children.
    • Requires the Secretary of Defense to develop an assessment tool to identify and measure health and safety hazards in Department of Defense housing to include privatized housing.
    • Requires exposures to burn pits and blast events to be recorded in a service member medical record.