national defense authorization act

national defense authorization act

Rep. Joe Heck Opens Military Personnel Subcommittee NDAA Mark Up

2w ago
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Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Military Personnel Subcommittee, of the House Armed Services Committee, mark-up for H.R. 4909—the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017. The Chairman’s mark in front of you is the product of an open, bi-partisan process. The mark provides our warfighters, retirees and their families the care and support they need, deserve, and have earned. As always the guiding consideration for our work is the viability and readiness of the All-Volunteer Force while ensuring that we do not break faith with our service members, retirees, their family members, and survivors. Over the past year we have arduously studied ways to reform and improve important benefits earned by our service members and their families. We have approached this reform from the perspective of the beneficiary and the effects that change could have on the value and sustainability of the benefit, whether it is the commissary system or the delivery and quality of healthcare. Additionally, we focused on significant policy issues such as modernization of the UCMJ. We heard many voices and have considered expert opinions and research on these issues. We are appreciative of everyone’s input; from our current and retired service members, the military service organizations, the Department of Defense, the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission and many others. We seriously considered all views and concerns before deciding on a way forward. Two important provisions that are not contained within the subcommittee mark are the extension of the Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance and Healthcare Reform. Because of the cost associated with extending SSIA, that provision must be in the full committee mark and we continue to work with the Chairman to find the necessary offsets to extend SSIA. In addition, we are working to complete our reform of the military healthcare system. Because of sequential referrals, the health care reform package will also appear in the full committee mark. However, I want to express my appreciation to Ranking Member Davis and the rest of the subcommittee for your commitment and participation in our numerous health care reform related events. I believe the health care reform package you will see next week reflects our commitment to ensure the military health system can sustain the readiness of both our military healthcare providers and the overall force while providing a quality health benefit that is valued by its beneficiaries. Specifically, this year's proposal: • Ensures a fully funded, by-law, pay raise for all our service members at 2.1%. • Reverses the reductions in the end-strengths of the Armed Forces lessening the stress and strain on the force and their families. • Reforms the Commissary system in a way that preserves this valuable benefit, while also improving the system so it remains an excellent value for shoppers. • Expands leave for dual-military, adoptive parents • Includes the House-passed bill that ensures the cremated remains of an individual whose service has been determined to be Active Duty service are eligible for inurnment in Arlington National Cemetery • Modernizes the Uniform Code of Military Justice to address issues identified by the Military Justice Review Group. This group of provisions will improve the system’s efficiency and transparency, while also enhancing victims’ rights. Specifically, the mark expands the statute of limitations for child abuse offenses and fraudulent enlistment; improves transparency by providing for public access to court documents and pleadings; and provides victims greater opportunities for input on disposition decisions at the preliminary hearing stage. In addition, it establishes important new offenses, including: a prohibition on retaliation; improper use of government computers; and addresses fraudulent use of credit and debit cards. In conclusion, I want to thank Mrs. Davis a...