WASHINGTON, D.C. – Led by Chairwoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Ranking Member Trent Kelly (D-MS), the Committee on Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel today released their proposals for the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The Subcommittee will meet at 1:00pm ET on Tuesday, June 23 in Rayburn 2118. The markup will be live streamed on the committee’s website. The Subcommittee's mark is available here.
Specifically, this year's proposal includes the following:
Military Service Members and Families
Increase in Basic Pay – Authorizes basic pay, which supports the Fiscal Year 21 budget request for an increase by 3.0 percent.
Basic Needs Allowance for Low-Income Service Members – Authorizes the Secretary of Defense to pay a basic needs allowance to a qualified service member.
One-Year Extension of Certain Expiring Bonus and Special Pay Authorities – Extends critical recruitment and retention incentive programs
Space Force Personnel – Requires a detailed report on the force structure plan for the Space Force. This report would include the number of personnel, grades, and specialties that will be transferred into the Space Force, any new civilian personnel authorities and hiring initiatives, any changes to the physical and medical standards for appointment, enlistment, or induction into the Space Force, and a plan of action and milestones that highlights force structure actions to be completed, resource allocation, and personnel transfers.
Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center – Amends section 2168 of title 10, United States Code, to permit the Defense Language Institute to confer bachelor’s degrees, in addition to associate degrees, to graduates that meet the appropriate requirements for that degree.
Direct Employment Pilot Program for Certain Members of the Reserve Components – Enables the Secretary of Defense to create a pilot program that would allow States to establish or expand job placement programs, and related employment services, for unemployed guardsmen or reservists.
Medical Accession Waivers – Directs the Secretary of Defense to submit a briefing on the uniformity of determination of waivers across the military services, the frequency with which DOD consults with the civilian medical community to determine best practices, impact of decentralizing medical waivers process to a lower level in the chain of command, and number of denials due to ADHD medication usage and mental health conditions that are considered stable.
Report on Demographics of Officers Appointed to Certain Grades – Requires each Secretary of a military department to submit annually a report summarizing the gender and race of each officer who was recommended on a list for promotion to the United States Senate for the grades of 0-4 and above.
Domestic Violence Task Force – Requires the Secretary of Defense to establish a military-civilian task force on domestic violence with experts from within the Department of Defense, Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as civilian experts. Also requires the Secretary of Defense to collect information on prevalence of domestic violence involving members of the Armed Forces, their intimate partners, and immediate family members.
Exceptional Family Member Program – Directs the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretaries of the military departments, to standardize the Exceptional Family Program across the military services. It would also require the Comptroller General of the United States to submit a report to the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and the House of Representatives on whether military families have higher rates of disputes and loss of free and appropriate public education under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Public Law 93–112; 29 U.S.C. 794) than civilian counterparts.
Military Family Readiness – Requires the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretaries of the military departments, to define "military family readiness" and "military family resiliency" as well as implement a communication strategy to communicate with military families.
Study on Performance of DoDEA Schools – Requires the Secretary of Defense to conduct a study on the performance of the Department of Defense Education Activity, including a review of the curriculum relating to health, resiliency, and nutrition, and the performance of students on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
Child Care – Directs the Secretary of Defense to provide childcare services to members of the Armed Forces or employees if working on a rotating shift at a military installation.
Priority for Certain Military Family Housing to a Member of the Armed Forces Whose Spouse Agrees to Provide Family Home Day Care Services – Allows a service secretary to make available an on-base housing preference for military families with a spouse who is a licensed Family Care Coordinator and agrees to provide family home day care services
Support of STEM Education in the JROTC – Allows the Secretary of Defense to establish a grant program for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education in Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps units at the Secretary's discretion.
Sexual Assault/Uniform Code of Military Justice/Legal Matters
Effectiveness of Military Justice Reforms – Directs the Secretary of Defense to provide a briefing to the House Committee on Armed Services not later than January 1, 2021, on the results of the review and assessment conducted under section 946(f)(1) of title 10, United States Code (article 3 146(f)(1) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice). This briefing shall include recommendations for improvements to the Uniform Code of Military Justice based on the results of such review and assessment.
Improvements to the Special Victims' Counsel Program – Directs the Judge Advocates General of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, and the Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, to provide a briefing on compliance with the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 provisions relating to the SVC program and a description of any staffing constraints on the SVC program.
Safe to Report Policy – Requires the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretaries of the military departments, to prescribe regulations for a safe-to-report policy that would allow alleged victims of sexual assault who may have committed minor collateral misconduct to report sexual assault without fear of receipt of discipline for such collateral misconduct, absent aggravating circumstance. It also requires the Secretary of Defense to develop and implement a process to track incidents of minor collateral misconduct that are subject to the safe-to-report policy.
Policy on Separation of Victim and Accused at Military Service Academies – Requires the Secretary of Defense, the Secretaries of the military departments, and the Superintendent of each military service academy, to prescribe in regulations a policy that minimizes contact between a cadet or midshipman who is an alleged sexual assault victim and a cadet or midshipman who is an alleged perpetrator of sexual assault, to the extent practicable, while allowing both individuals to complete their course of study with minimal disruption and privacy protections in place.
Coordination of Support for Survivors of Sexual Trauma – Requires the Secretaries of Defense and Veterans Affairs to jointly develop, implement, and maintain a standard of coordinated care for members of the Armed Forces who are survivors of sexual trauma.
Questions Regarding Racism, Anti-Semitism, and Supremacism in Workplace Surveys Administered by the Secretary of Defense – Amends section 593 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (Public Law 116–92), in paragraph (1), by inserting ", racist, anti-Semitic, or supremacist" after "extremist."
Tracking Mechanism and Reporting Requirements for Supremacist, Extremist, and Criminal Gang Activity in the Armed Forces – Requires the Secretary of Defense to develop and implement a process to track investigations, criminal and administrative actions, and final determinations with respect to conduct of members of the Armed Forces that is prohibited under Department of Defense Instruction 1325.06, titled ‘‘Handling Dissident and Protest Activities Among Members of the Armed Forces.’’ This would also require the Secretary of Defense to submit an annual report on the process implemented by the Secretary and the data for each year.
Policy to Address Opioid Prescription Abuse Prevention – Requires the Secretary of Defense to develop a policy and tracking mechanism for opioids that monitors and prohibits the overprescribing of opioids to ensure compliance with clinical practice guidelines.
Adult Residential Treatment for Eating Disorders – Directs the Secretary of Defense to submit a letter to the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and the House of Representatives, not later than December 1, 2020, on the feasibility of including residential treatment for adults with eating disorders as a TRICARE benefit, similar to the Department of Defense’s actions for residential substance abuse treatment for adults, and the projected cost to the Department as well as prohibited authorities precluding the Secretary from including this benefit under TRICARE.
Ultrasound Technology to Identify Subdermal Injuries in Strangulation Victims – Directs the Secretary of Defense to provide a report on the number and types of devices available in the MHS to evaluate strangulation victims in emergency rooms, the cost of each device, and the numbers required to provide the capability in each emergency room in the MHS.
Extension of Organization Requirements for transfer of military research to the Defense Health Agency – Extends the date of consolidation of all military research underneath the Defense Health Agency from September 30, 2022, to September 30, 2025.
Modification to Limitation on the Realignment or Reduction of Military Medical Manning End Strength – Amends section 719 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (Public Law 116–92) to prohibit the realignment or reduction of authorized military medical end strength for 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act and adds to the required review of medical manpower requirements scenarios to include homeland defense missions and pandemic influenza.
Modifications to Implementation Plan for Restructure or Realignment of Military Medical Treatment Facilities – Amends section 703(d) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (Public Law 114–328) inserting a new paragraph that specifies requirements for the implementation plan; and by requiring a notice and wait preventing the Secretary from implementing the plan and moving retirees and family members from MTFs to the TRICARE network until the plan is submitted to Congress and a 1-year period elapses following the later of the date of such submission or the date of the enactment of this Act.
Information Sharing by Secretary of Defense regarding Prevention of Infant and Maternal Mortality – Authorizes the Secretary of Defense to enter into memoranda of understanding with State and local health authorities to share the practices of, and lessons learned by, the military health system for the prevention of infant and maternal mortality.
Study on Incidence of Cancer Diagnosis and Mortality Among Pilots in the Armed Forces – Requires the Secretary of Defense to seek to enter into an agreement with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to conduct a study to determine the incidence of cancer diagnosis and mortality among members, and former members, of the Armed Forces who serve as pilots compared to members who do not serve as pilots.
Behavioral Health Requirements of the Department of Defense – Directs the Secretary of Defense to submit a report that: (1) identifies the number and types of military, civilian, direct contract, and managed care support contract behavioral health professionals required to treat members of the Armed Forces and covered beneficiaries unconstrained by force structure documents; (2) contains specific information on the amount of funding needed to hire and retain behavioral health professionals to treat such individuals; (3) contains a plan to provide behavioral health treatment to such individuals using telehealth services and other technologies, including any recommendations of the Secretary regarding legislation; (4) includes a plan to inculcate behavioral health treatment as a form of overall service member readiness in the same capacity as an annual periodic health assessment; and (5) includes a strategy to increase the number of behavioral health providers for the Department and to standardize the credentialing requirements across the services.
Reports on Suicide Among Members of the Armed Forces and Suicide Prevention Programs and Activities of the Department of Defense – Amends section 741(a)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (Public Law 116–92) by including a requirement in the report to determine if a member was deployed within 1 year of the suicide, as well as the number of suicides where the member was prescribed a medication to treat a mental health or behavioral health diagnosis during the 1-year period preceding the death. This also adds a new requirement to describe programs carried out by the military departments to reduce stigma associated with seeking assistance for mental health or suicidal thoughts.
Protection of the Armed Forces from Infectious Diseases – Requires the Secretary of Defense to ensure that the Armed Forces have the diagnostic equipment, testing capabilities, and personal protective equipment necessary to protect members of the Armed Forces from the threat of infectious diseases and to treat members who contract infectious diseases. Also requires the Secretary to include with the defense budget materials for a fiscal year a plan to research and develop vaccines for infectious diseases and to ensure that the medical laboratories of the Department of Defense are equipped with the technology needed to facilitate rapid research in the case of a pandemic.
Modifications to Pilot Program on Civilian and Military Partnerships to Enhance Interoperability and Medical Surge Capability and Capacity of National Disaster Medical System – Amends section 740 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (Public Law 116–92) to require the Secretary of Defense, to carry out the pilot program that was authorized. The pilot program requires the Secretary of Defense to establish partnerships with public, private, and nonprofit health care organizations, institutions, and entities in collaboration with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Secretary of Transportation to enhance the interoperability and medical surge capability and capacity of the National Disaster Medical System under section 2812 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300hh–11) in the vicinity of major aeromedical and other transport hubs and logistics centers of the Department of Defense. This section would also require the Secretary to collaborate with the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Increased Authority to recall Retired Members to Active Duty – Amends section 688 (a) title 10, United States Code, to allow the Secretary of a military department to recall more than 1,000 retirees to Active Duty during a war or national emergency.
Inclusion of Drugs, Biologics, Vaccines, and Medical Equipment in National Security Strategy for National Technology and Industrial Base – Adds the requirement ensuring the provision of drugs, biologics, vaccines, and critical medical equipment (including personal protective equipment, diagnostic and testing capabilities, and lifesaving breathing apparatuses required for the defense and protection against infectious disease) required to enable combat readiness and protect the health of the Armed Forces is included in the national security strategy for the national technology and industrial base. Also requires the Secretary of Defense to submit a report to the congressional defense committees, not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, on the vulnerabilities to the medicine supply chain of the United States.