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Senate Approved Defense Authorization in Closed Session

On May 14, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved, 22-4, its version of the FY2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (S. 1118). On May 12, the Personnel Subcommittee approved its portion of the NDAA. The House passed its version of the measure on May 15 (see The Source, 5/15/15). Like its House counterpart, the measure authorizes defense-related funding and programs in FY2016 for the Departments of Defense (DoD) and Energy (DoE), as well as for overseas contingency operations (OCO).

According to the committee summary, the bill would authorize $612 billion in FY2016. This amount includes $496 billion for the DoD, $25.8 billion for DoE, and $90.2 billion for OCO. Military personnel would receive $135.4 billion in FY2016; the Defense Health Program would receive $32.2 billion.

The bill includes several provisions to address sexual assault in the military. The measure would expand the special victims counsel’s authority to provide services to sexual assault victims. Among other provisions, the legislation would direct the secretary of Defense to assess the feasibility of providing special victims counsel to civilian survivors who are not otherwise eligible for military legal assistance. The comptroller general would evaluate the extent to which the Army National Guard and Reserve have sexual assault prevention and response policies in place.

The measure includes a Sense of the Senate on the development of gender-neutral occupational standards for assignments in the armed forces.

The legislation also would require the secretary to report to Congress a list of all DoD child development centers with wait times greater than three months. The bill authorizes $25 million in impact aid for local education agencies (LEAs) that enroll military dependent children; LEAs that enroll such children with several disabilities would receive $5 million.

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

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