Duckworth Outlines NDAA Priorities, Focusing on Support for Our Troops, Improving Military Readiness and Enhancing Partnerships Abroad
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — As the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) begins its consideration of the FY23 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), combat Veteran and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), who served in the Reserve Forces for 23 years and is chair of the SASC Subcommittee on Airland, highlighted her key priorities for inclusion in this year’s NDAA by introducing a package of legislative proposals focused on supporting our troops, improving military readiness and enhancing our partnerships abroad.
“Our troops deployed across the globe deserve to know that our country stands behind them as they and their families sacrifice to defend our country and our Constitution,” said Duckworth. “I look forward to working with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to put forward a bold, bipartisan agreement that supports our troops, improves military readiness, enhances strategic partnerships and strengthens our national security.”
Duckworth is introducing the following pieces of legislation today to lay down a marker of policies she hopes will be included in the NDAA:
- Improved Military Aviation Readiness Act: would help ensure the Department of the Air Force and Department of the Navy incorporate Federal Aviation Administration-certified Used Serviceable Materials (USM) into their supply chain solutions. Given ongoing supply chain delays and the increasing cost of new parts, utilizing USM in the Department of Defense’s (DoD) maintenance operations can contribute to decreased costs and increased readiness.
- Access to Healthcare for Reservists Act: would authorize a professional analysis of the true budgetary impacts and improvements to readiness that would result from expanding access to DoD healthcare for members of the Reserve Components and their family members, ultimately allowing the Congress to build an actionable plan for improving access to affordable healthcare for Reservists and their families.
- Reduce Our Military’s Reliance on Foreign Fuel Act: would authorize the DoD to create a pilot program on the use of sustainable aviation fuels. The amendment directs DoD to select at least two geographically diverse sites that must exclusively use sustainable aviation fuel with no less than a 10 percent blend minimum by September 30, 2028. The program will also identify logistical challenges, promote education on the use of sustainable aviation fuels in a military setting and explore opportunities for increased use of sustainable aviation fuels, including partnering with local airports.
In addition to these bills—and in anticipation of the committee’s consideration of the NDAA—Duckworth has introduced a range of legislation over the past few weeks aimed at supporting our troops, transitioning the military towards clean energy and bolstering our partnership with Taiwan:
- National Guard Promotion Improvement Act: bipartisan, bicameral bill to improve and streamline the promotion process for National Guard officers and warrant officers to ensure these servicemembers can progress in their careers without needless bureaucratic delays. It would assess and review the current process, provide recommendations on how to improve it and ensure backpay to servicemembers for delayed promotions.
- “Every day, our National Guardsmen and women work to protect and defend our Constitution as well as respond to communities in times of crisis—the least we can do is make sure they receive their earned promotion in a timely manner, so their pay and benefits match the job they’re doing,” said Duckworth. “The current bureaucratic process results in lengthy delays that are unacceptable. Every member of the National Guard deserves their promotions to be recognized on time so they don’t fall behind in their careers, which is why I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan, bicameral bill that would assess and review the process, provide recommendations to improve it and ensure backpay for delayed promotions.”
- Depend on Domestic Clean Energy Act: would help protect our troops abroad by transitioning the DoD away from fossil fuels, the transportation of which in combat zones contributes to a significant number of U.S. casualties, and towards clean energy. It would provide the DoD with the authority and flexibility to reach its energy resilience goals by helping diversify its energy sources with cheaper and more reliable ones. It will help address climate change, which military leaders have stated is a national security risk.
- “We know that climate change is real and it’s threatening our military readiness, the safety of our men and women in uniform and our national security,” said Duckworth. “While the military has started working to address this, we need to provide them with the resources to further act to curb the impacts of climate change before it’s too late, like pivoting further away from fossil fuels and investing instead in clean energy. That’s why I’m introducing the Depend on Domestic (DOD) Clean Energy Act to support DoD’s energy resilience efforts by giving it the tools it needs to diversify its energy sources and reduce its fuel needs.”
- Strengthen Taiwan’s Security Act: bipartisan bill to assess opportunities to deliver lethal aid to Taiwan, enhance Taiwan’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets and increase needed prepositioned stocks in the region. This legislation comes as Taiwan faces increasing threats of a possible invasion from China.
- “Taiwan is an important strategic partner for the U.S. in the Indo-Pacific region, and, as China continues its destabilizing policies, I am strongly committed to helping Taiwan develop its military defenses,” said Duckworth. “That’s one of the reasons I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation that would strengthen our support for Taiwan and provide it with the tools it needs to protect itself from any unwarranted attack.”
- Bioindustrial and Additive Manufacturing for America (BAMA) Act: bipartisan legislation to help expand smart, strategic investments in advanced manufacturing that would help revolutionize the DoD’s ability to employ new defense technologies. The bill would spearhead research and development for both additive manufacturing and bioindustrial manufacturing for defense purposes and increase American competitiveness around the world.
- “Our troops deserve access to the best technology to help them continue to do their jobs, and advanced manufacturing—such as 3D printing and bioindustrial manufacturing—could provide significant advantages for them,” said Duckworth. “That’s one of the reasons I’m proud to introduce this new bipartisan legislation to help provide our nation with a better implementation strategy for advanced manufacturing for defense purposes while also increasing American manufacturing and defense competitiveness and efficacy around the world.”
- Armed Forces Fuel Choice Act: bipartisan legislation that would authorize all commercial gas stations located on military bases in the United States to offer ethanol fuel with no less than a 13 percent blend minimum, ensuring that members of the Armed Forces, their families and other eligible customers have access to this cleaner, more affordable fuel option.
- “Not only do our servicemembers deserve access to more affordable fuel options, but reducing our nation’s reliance on foreign oil and depending more on homegrown biofuels can bolster our national security,” said Duckworth. “By encouraging the sale of E15 at on-base military commissary and exchange stores, the Armed Forces Fuel Choice Act will underscore that energy security is an important part of our national security and help our military families save their hard-earned money at the pump.”
Along with these bills authored by Senator Duckworth, she will work to ensure the NDAA includes additional provisions that support a strong and ready total force, ensure our nation leads in the Indo-Pacific region, build the logistics enterprise for a combat-credible deterrent, tackle climate change and defend the environment and restore American competitiveness. In last year’s NDAA, Duckworth advocated successfully for the inclusion of provisions that helped accomplish all of these goals:
- Support a Strong and Ready Total Force: In NDAA FY22, Duckworth led efforts to address the scourge of military hunger, increase military parental leave, ensure pay parity between Reserves and regular component, encourage DoD to address military childcare issues and establish the nonpartisan, independent Afghanistan War Commission, among other wins.
- Lead in the Indo-Pacific Region: A Duckworth-authored provision was included in NDAA FY22 to encourage a partnership between Taiwan and the National Guard and require an annual briefing by the U.S. Secretary of Defense on this cooperation, among other wins.
- Build the Logistics Enterprise for a Combat-Credible Deterrent: A Duckworth-authored provision authorizing a minimum total aircraft inventory of C-130s for the Air Force, ensuring that the Air Force has sufficient capacity to carry out critical missions both domestically and overseas, was included in NDAA FY22, among other wins.
- Tackle Climate Change and Defend the Environment: Duckworth led the effort to include a provision in NDAA FY22 that would continue removing toxic PFAS from servicemember’s and military families’ drinking water.
- Restore American Competitiveness: Duckworth-authored provisions to invest in the future workforce by building a highly skilled industrial base and investing in efficient and effective prototyping were included in NDAA FY22.
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