WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement after the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) was signed into law for the 61st consecutive year by President Joe Biden. S. 1605, the bipartisan, bicameral final text of the FY22 NDAA, passed the House by a vote of 363-70 and the Senate by a vote of 88-11.

“Thanks to the leadership of Congress and the Biden-Harris Administration, the NDAA now enters its seventh decade as the bipartisan legislative foundation for U.S. national security priorities and policy. For sixty-one consecutive years, the NDAA has delivered on policy reforms that matter to our men and women in uniform, their families, and the American people.

“I’m proud of what sets this year’s NDAA apart from prior defense bills: A package of significant changes to how the U.S. military will handle sexual assault crimes under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). These reforms – which are supported by longstanding advocates for survivors of the sexual assault crisis in the military – will take the prosecution of all sex crimes in the military away from the control of the military commander. Instead, qualified, independent, uniformed attorneys — ultimately overseen by the civilian Service Secretaries — will have the sole authority for charging decisions and the responsibility to prosecute those charges.

“As I have said before: These changes to the UCMJ are the most transformational thing that has been done by the House Armed Services Committee in my 25 years of service on this committee, and I thank Congresswoman Jackie Speier for her steadfast leadership on this issue.

“There’s a lot to be proud of in this bill. The FY22 NDAA supports a well-deserved pay raise for our service members, diversity and inclusion initiatives across our military, and the Department of Defense’s role in the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government response to the climate crisis. Ultimately, this year’s NDAA focuses on what makes our country strong: our economy, diversity, innovation, allies and partners, democratic values, and our troops.”