Sep 18 2017
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) today supported the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2018, which authorizes national defense programs and funding in support of the U.S. Armed Forces and passed the Senate on an 89-8 vote.
“The National Defense Authorization Act is critical legislation that supports servicemembers, civilians and their families who work hard to keep us safe at home and abroad,” said Sen. Moran. “This legislation will help rebuild a ready and capable force by prioritizing modernization, enabling the Department of Defense to procure vital equipment and increasing manpower of our active and reserve forces. It also authorizes an across-the-board pay raise for servicemembers and their families.”
Sen. Moran authored three amendments that were included in passage of this year’s NDAA:
- The first is Sen. Moran’s Gary Deloney and John Olsen Toxic Exposure Declassification Act, which would permit veterans to have access to military records regarding their exposure to toxic substances. This legislation requires the Department of Defense to declassify documents that relate to incidents where 100 or more servicemen or women were exposed to a toxic substance that later had a damaging effect on a veteran. Without declassification of these documents, many of our veterans are left without proof of the exposure they suffered, preventing them from being able to establish their service-connected conditions and secure a disability rating that makes them eligible to receive the care and benefits they deserve to help them cope with the residual health damage. The bill is named for Gary Deloney of Fort Scott, Kan., a U.S. Navy veteran who passed away while working with Sen. Moran’s staff to receive a service-connected designation from the Department of Veterans Affairs based on missions he completed with classified records. This amendment was also sponsored by U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
- The second amendment is Sen. Moran’s Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act, which would modernize outdated federal technology, eliminate wasteful spending and strengthen our nation’s cybersecurity measures. The MGT Act would establish IT working capital funds at our 24 government agencies and allow them to use savings obtained through streamlining IT systems, replacing legacy products and transitioning to cloud computing for up to three years for further modernization efforts. The bill also sets up a separate centralized modernization fund within the Department of the Treasury for the head of the General Services Administration (GSA) to administer across the federal government in consultation of a federal IT expert board. The amendment was also sponsored by U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.).
- Sen. Moran’s third amendment included in the NDAA calls for the Department of Defense to support national security innovation and entrepreneurial education programs to benefit the defense sector. This amendment would allow the Secretary of Defense to leverage proven private sector practices to solve national security problems, and expose university students to government sector work. The amendment was also sponsored by U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
Sen. Moran continued, “Our armed forces face more diverse and widespread threats from across the globe than ever before. I’m proud of the work Chairman McCain has done on NDAA and of the bill’s inclusion of my amendments, which will help us ensure veterans have access to information that supports their VA benefits claims, reduce federal spending, bolster cybersecurity and encourage the Department of Defense to modernize and develop innovative ideas for our military.”
The legislation will next go to conference with the House of Representatives to iron out differences between the two chambers.
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