National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016by Representative Michael R. Turner
Posted on 2015-05-13
TURNER. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of H.R. 1735, the
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016.
I had the privilege of serving as the chairman of the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee. I want to thank my ranking member, Loretta Sanchez, for her support in completing the markup of this bill, and I want to extend my thanks to the subcommittee's vice chairman, Paul Cook. I also want to thank our chairman, Chairman Thornberry, for his leadership and his bipartisan work.
Now, I had a sentence here where I said I was thanking Ranking Member Smith for his work on a bipartisan basis because of his support for this bill when it came out of the committee, but due to his recent opposition to this bill, I am going to cross that part out.
Mr. Chairman, the committee's focus, though, has been on a bipartisan basis, and you will hear the members stand and talk about the provisions that we worked on on a bipartisan basis, and that is why it actually deserves, I think, everyone's support.
It supports the men and women of the Armed Forces and their families. It provides the equipment they need and the support that they deserve. I believe that the committee's bill strikes the appropriate balance between equipping our military to effectively carry out its mission and providing oversight.
Under this bill, Congress provides additional funding for new National Guard Blackhawk helicopters, F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, Navy strike fighters, unmanned aerial systems, lethality upgrades for Stryker combat vehicles, improved recovery vehicles, Javelin antitank missiles, and aircraft survivability improvements for Apache attack helicopters.
We support the National Guard and Reserve component. This bill provides additional funds as part of a National Guard and Reserve equipment account to address significant equipment shortages and modernization equipment for the Guard and Reserve.
This bill also calls for continued action to eradicate sexual assault in the military. I want to thank Congresswoman Tsongas, Chairman Wilson, my ranking member, Ms. Sanchez, and Ranking Member Susan Davis for working on a bipartisan basis for these provisions. This bill provides greater access to Special Victims' Counsel for Department of Defense civilian employees. It addresses issues of retaliation against victims and those who report sex crimes. It enhances sexual assault prevention for male victims. It prohibits the release of victims' mental health records without an order from a judge, and it provides additional training for our military leaders.
I urge my colleagues to support this bill.