U.S. Senator Kay Hagan (NC), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), and the Chair of the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, fought for North Carolina's military service members and families during the committee's mark-up of the annual National Defense Authorization Act.
The Senate bill, which was unanimously approved by the committee, authorizes $631.4 billion for national defense programs. The bill does not authorize a new Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round and prevents significant cuts to the Air National Guard and Reserves.
"I'm confident that the bill ensures a strong national defense, while recognizing the current budgetary realities," Hagan said.
In a bipartisan effort with Senator Lindsey Graham (SC), Senator Hagan passed an amendment that would tighten defense contracting requirements to keep textile jobs in North Carolina.
Although satisfied with the majority of the bill, Senator Hagan was disappointed that the Committee adopted amendments that will slow the military's efforts to reduce its dependence on foreign oil. "I believe energy security is a matter of national security, and I am hopeful that the Senate can address this concern when the bill goes to the floor," said Hagan.
Major highlights for North Carolina:
· Authorizes a 1.7 percent across-the-board pay raise for all members of the uniformed services.
· Does not authorize Department of Defense (DoD) proposals that would establish enrollment fees for TRICARE Standard and TRICARE for Life and increase TRICARE deductibles and the annual catastrophic cap.
· Declines to authorize the requested additional rounds of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC).
· Precludes the Air Force from divesting, retiring or transferring aircraft assigned to the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve during fiscal year 2013.
· Repeals provisions of last year's National Defense Authorization Act that could have upset the balance of work at FRC East.
· Requires DoD to issue defense-wide guidance on the tracking and handling of possible environmental contamination exposures on military installations, as recommended by the Government Accountability Office.
· Protects the warfighter with several provisions addressing post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and sexual assault prevention.
· Encourages DoD to identify and develop methods to assess the inventory of talents and abilities of departing service members to match them with viable post-service career opportunities.