U.S. Senator Kay R. Hagan today praised final passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorizes funding for the Department of Defense and all military and defense-related activities for FY2013. The bill, which has been in conference between both chambers of Congress, passed the Senate by a vote of 81 to 14. It will now go to the President for his signature. Hagan, Chair of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, worked to include important provisions for North Carolina's military bases, servicemembers, veterans and their families and praised her colleagues for their bipartisan support of the legislation.
"Overall, I am pleased with the final defense authorization bill and its provisions that ensure our military men and women can safely and effectively protect our country," said Hagan. "I am particularly encouraged by the bipartisan, bicameral work on this year's legislation. Democrats and Republicans came together to craft a bill that promotes military readiness, while providing much-needed support for our servicemembers, retirees and their families. I hope that our work on this bill will serve as a model for Congress moving forward as we continue working to address the important issues facing our armed forces and our country."
Key highlights for North Carolina in the final bill:
· The FY13 NDAA authorizes almost half a billion dollars in military construction projects for bases in North Carolina. The 16 NC projects authorized by the bill include facilities for special operations forces at Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune, a medical clinic at Seymour Johnson, and buildings at Cherry Point and New River. These projects must now be funded through the annual appropriations process.
· Hagan amendment preserves military biofuels program that diversifies energy sources, promotes readiness and creates new markets for NC's farmers and biotech industry. For more on Hagan's amendment, please click here.
· Authorizes a 1.7 percent across-the-board pay raise for all members of the uniformed services, including more than 100,000 active duty, reserve and National Guard personnel in North Carolina.
· 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.
· Encourages DoD to identify and develop methods to match departing servicemembers with viable post-service career opportunities.
· Repeals provisions of last year's National Defense Authorization Act that could have upset the balance of work at Fleet Readiness Center-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.
· Declines to authorize the requested additional rounds of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC).