Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement after the release of the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R.1540 - NDAA) Conference Report:
"I am pleased to announce we have finalized the NDAA, which authorizes essential funding for our Armed Forces and guarantees that our servicemembers will have the resources they need to defend our nation. The NDAA includes critical provisions to ensure that the Department of Defense (DoD) has the authority to detain foreign al-Qaeda terrorists while protecting the civil liberties of U.S. citizens. As a Conferee to the NDAA, I worked to ensure this bill explicitly exempts U.S. citizens from provisions related to military custody of terrorists. This bill also requires DoD to establish specific objectives and goals for obtaining auditable financial statements, similar to a provision I fought to be included when the House considered this bill earlier this year.
"Overall, this is an important bipartisan bill, but I am disappointed that the Senate objected to including language that would have awarded the Purple Heart to the servicemembers killed or wounded in terrorist attacks at Fort Hood and in Little Rock. I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that these brave servicemembers receive the full honor of a grateful nation."
The NDAA authorizes funding for FY 2012 for DoD and related agencies, including all military branches. Since there were differences in the language of the House and Senate versions, a Conference Committee comprised of members from each Chamber was established to resolve those distinctions. Both the House and Senate must now vote to approve the finalized version of the bill before it can be sent to the President to be signed into law.
In July, Griffin introduced the Honoring Ezeagwula and Long ("HEAL") Act. This legislation honors the victims of the Little Rock Recruiting Station shooting by ensuring that they are treated in the same manner as members of the armed services killed or wounded in other parts of the world.