Joint Explanatory Statement to Accompany the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014by Representative Michael R. Turner
Posted on 2013-12-12
TURNER. Mr. Speaker, I support the National Defense Authorization
Act for fiscal year 2014, the 52nd consecutive National Defense
I have had the privilege of serving as the chairman of the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee of our Armed Services Committee. Under the full leadership of Chairman McKeon and Ranking Member Smith, the support of Loretta Sanchez, our subcommittee's ranking member, and a superb staff, ours is truly a bipartisan effort.
This year's bill reflects Congress' substantial bipartisan and bicameral efforts to construct meaningful reforms aimed at combating the pervasive issue of sexual assault within our military.
I want to thank Chairman McKeon and Ranking Member Smith for their dedication so that this body's solution on these issues has been absolutely bipartisan. These legislative initiatives are unprecedented and the most powerful steps made to date toward the eradication of sexual assault in the military.
Specifically, the bill includes all provisions of the BE SAFE Act and Coast Guard Strong, which were introduced in both the House and Senate by Congresswoman Tsongas and myself and Senators McCaskill and Collins, respectively. It includes bipartisan measures introduced by Representatives Heck, Walorski, Noem, Castro, Davis, Sanchez, and Duckworth. Additionally, it includes the significant efforts made by Senator Boxer and Representatives Speier, Tsongas, and myself in the past month to reform the article 32 process and ensure victims are not subjected to unnecessary intimidation tactics.
Instead of searching for ways to remove a commander's authority, this bill establishes systemic process and reforms which will provide military leaders with the tools they need to ensure that victims are cared for, that perpetrators are brought to justice, and that commanders are held accountable for what goes on within their units.
This bill enhances the rights of victims, strengthens military whistleblower protection laws, increases training requirements, and improves the ways the services respond to sexual assault reporting. It ensures that perpetrators are appropriately held accountable for these serious and violent crimes.
In addition to the sexual assault provisions, the bill includes an additional $90 million for Abrams tank upgrades and $75 million for heavy improved recovery vehicles that would ensure that our armored vehicle industrial base remains active.
Lastly, the bill strongly supports the Joint Strike Fighter program. I urge Members to support the bill.