Casualties of the November terror attack on Fort Hood will be eligible for the Purple Heart or the civilian equivalent Defense of Freedom Award; improved tax, housing, and insurance benefits; and will be allowed to receive charitable gifts from outside groups, if the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), HR 5136 passes intact, thanks to language lobbied for by House Republican Conference Secretary John Carter.
Carter, who represents the Fort Hood area in the House, has also requested two NDAA floor amendments when the bill is debated by the full House this Thursday. The Military Whistleblower Protection Act would be expanded to include protections to prevent politically-correct persecution of service members and civilian defense employees who report radical Islamic and other ideological terror threats. A second Carter amendment would require Active Shooter Training for all law enforcement personnel providing security to U.S. military installations.
"The November terror attack on Fort Hood should never have happened," says Carter. "The fact that it did is a glaring indictment against the Department of Homeland Security, and the insanity of political-correctness that leads us into ignoring real threats for fear of offending some group."
Carter says once the attack occurred, the casualties and their families deserved the same treatment given the casualties at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 in terms of benefits, status, and recognition.
The changes contained in the base bill not only provide improved status for the Fort Hood casualties, but address similar future incidents. Section 596 of the NDAA allows the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security to issue regulations allowing combat casualties and their families, including those from the Fort Hood attack and similar incidents, to receive charitable donations under reasonable policies devised by the respective Secretaries. (text attached)
Carter, Co-Chairman of the House Army Caucus, introduced the Fort Hood Families Benefits Protection Act, HR 4088, immediately after the attack in 2009, followed by a joint House-Senate version with Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) in March of this year. He also introduced the Military Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, HR 4267, in December to protect service members from politically-correct disciplinary action for reporting or taking protective steps against radical Islamic threats.
TEXT: SEC. 596. ENHANCED AUTHORITY FOR MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES AND DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AND COAST GUARD CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES AND THEIR FAMILIES TO ACCEPT GIFTS FROM NON-FEDERAL ENTITIES.
(a) Codification and Expansion of Existing Authority to Cover Additional Members and Employees-
(1) CODIFICATION AND EXPANSION- Chapter 155 of title 10, United States Code, is amended by inserting after section 2601 the following new section:
`Sec. 2601a. Direct acceptance of gifts by members of the armed forces and Department of Defense and Coast Guard employees and their families
`(a) Regulations Governing Acceptance of Gifts- (1) The Secretary of Defense (and the Secretary of Homeland Security in the case of the Coast Guard) shall issue regulations to provide that, subject to such limitations as may be specified in such regulations, the following individuals may accept gifts from nonprofit organizations, private parties, and other sources outside the Department of Defense or the Department of Homeland Security:
`(A) A member of the armed forces described in subsection (c).
`(B) A civilian employee of the Department of Defense or Coast Guard described in subsection (d).
`(C) The family members of such a member or employee.
`(D) Survivors of such a member or employee who is killed.
`(2) The regulations required by this subsection shall apply uniformly to all elements of the Department of Defense and, to the maximum extent feasible, to the Coast Guard.
`(b) Exception to Gift Ban- A member of the armed forces described in subsection (c) and a civilian employee described in subsection (d) may accept gifts as provided in the regulations issued under subsection (a) notwithstanding section 7353 of title 5.
`(c) Covered Members- This section applies to a member of the armed forces who, while performing active duty, full-time National Guard duty, or inactive-duty training on or after September 11, 2001, incurred an injury or illness--
`(1) as described in section 1413a(e)(2) of this title;
`(2) in an operation or area designated as a combat operation or a combat zone by the Secretary of Defense in accordance with the regulations issued under subsection (a); or
`(3) under other circumstances determined by the Secretary concerned to warrant treatment analogous to members covered by paragraph (1) or (2).
`(d) Covered Employees- This section applies to a civilian employee of the Department of Defense or Coast Guard who, while an employee on or after September 11, 2001, incurred an injury or illness under a circumstance described in paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of subsection (c).
`(e) Gifts From Certain Sources Prohibited- The regulations issued under subsection (a) may not authorize the acceptance of a gift from a foreign government or international organization or their agents.'.
(2) CLERICAL AMENDMENT- The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 2601 the following new item:
`2601a. Direct acceptance of gifts by members of the armed forces and Department of Defense and Coast Guard employees and their families.'.
(b) Repeal of Superceded Provision- Section 8127 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2006 (division A of Public Law 109-148; 119 Stat. 2730; 10 U.S.C. 2601 note prec.) is repealed.
(c) Application of Existing Regulations- Pending the issuance of the regulations required by subsection (a) of section 2601a of title 10, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), the regulations prescribed under section 8127 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2006 (division A of Public Law 109-148; 119 Stat. 2730; 10 U.S.C. 2601 note prec.) shall apply to the acceptance of gifts under such section 2601a.
(d) Retroactive Applicability of Regulations- The regulations issued under subsection (a) of section 2601a of title 10, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), shall, to the extent provided in such regulations, also apply to the acceptance of gifts during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, and ending on the date on which such regulations go into effect.