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    Joint Explanatory Statement to Accompany the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014

    by Former Representative Rush Holt

    Posted on 2013-12-12

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    HOLT. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this bill.

    As is the case every year for the past decade, this bill contains many provisions I do support, including two I wrote.

    The first is meant to increase suicide prevention and outreach services for key segments of our Guard and Reserve, specifically members of the Individual Ready Reserve and Individual Mobilization Augmentees. These are specific pools of reservists who, when not assigned to active duty units, live and work among us in our communities in their civilian occupations. Accordingly, they do not have ready access to the kinds of mental health resources available to their active duty counterparts. My amendment would allow the Adjutant General of any state to request from the Pentagon address data for IRR/ IMA members in his or her state for the purpose of conducting suicide prevention and outreach activities. I am pleased the committee has included this provision, as it gives us one more tool to prevent suicides among our veterans.

    [[Page H8046]] The second amendment directs the Secretary of Defense to conduct a top-to-bottom review of programs in the Department designed to recruit and retain the scientists, technology experts, mathematicians, and engineers our national security community will need to meet current and future threats. This amendment is a direct outgrowth of my work on the National Commission on Research and Development in the U.S. Intelligence Community, which published its final report this summer. It is imperative that American find, train, and retain world-class talent in these fields. The security of our nation quite literally depends on it.

    Unfortunately, this bill--as it has for years now--continues funding for the war in Afghanistan. It also freezes in place current force levels, continues the acquisition of the flawed and hugely overpriced F-35 fighter, and provides authorization for continued work for plutonium pit production for nuclear weapons. On balance, this bill continues a large number of unnecessary and wasteful Cold War era weapons programs, and maintains our discredited ``war on terror'' posture. Finally, the bill does nothing to address the surveillance excesses committed by the National Security Agency, which is a combat support agency of DoD. For all of these reasons, I cannot support this bill and call on my colleagues to join me in opposing it.

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