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House Committee Clears Defense Authorization Bill

On April 29, the House Armed Services Committee approved, 60-2, the FY2016 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735). The Military Personnel Subcommittee approved its portion of the bill on April 23 (see The Source, 4/24/15).

According to the committee summary, the bill would provide $611.8 billion in overall defense-related spending in FY2016. This amount includes $495.9 billion for the base budget at the Department of Defense (DoD), $19 billion for defense-related programs at the Department of Energy, $89.2 billion for overseas contingency operations, and $7.6 billion in mandatory funding.

The legislation continues congressional efforts to prevent and respond to military sexual assault. Specifically, the bill would expand sexual assault prevention and response training for junior and senior Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) units, increase access to special victims’ counsel for civilians who are victims of sexual assault, and enhance prevention and response measures for male service members who are victims. Additionally, the measure would require DoD to develop and implement a strategy to address retaliation against individuals who intervene on behalf of victims.

The committee expressed its concern about the backlog of families waiting to take advantage of military child care and directs DoD to halve the backlog by the end of FY2017.

Please click here for a complete list of amendments adopted by voice vote, a number of which address the issues of military sexual assault, women in the military, and Afghan women.

Additional details will be made available once the committee releases its report.

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