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Brown Amendments, Maryland Priorities Included In National Defense Authorization Act

May 10, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Anthony G. Brown (D-MD) joined fellow Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) in voting  in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019 (H.R. 5515), which authorizes and sets policy for the Department of Defense. The bill was reported to the full House of Representatives by a 60 to 1 vote. The FY19 NDAA authorizes $639 billion for national defense, and an additional $69 billion for overseas contingency operations.

 

“This year’s NDAA continues the progress we’ve made in improving military readiness, and rebuilding the Armed Forces’ capacity and capability. Working together, we’ve provided our men and women in uniform with the largest pay increase in nearly a decade, made critical investments to increase troop lethality and our warfighting edge, and strengthened partnerships to confront challenges from Russia, China and non-state actors,” said Congressman Anthony Brown

 

“Maryland plays a vital role in safeguarding our Nation, and I am pleased the FY19NDAA will support our state’s more than 20 military facilities, thousands of civilian and military jobs, and enhance the state’s leadership in avionics, cybersecurity, satellite technology, and weapons testing,” added Congressman Brown.

 

The FY18 NDAA includes several amendments proposed by Congressman Brown and over $821.5 million in projects that will advance the state’s role as a vanguard that helps keep the U.S. safe. These include:

 

Investment in Maryland’s Military Installations:

  • Joint Base Andrews: $181.12 million for infrastructure improvements, including the base’s child care center and the Presidential aircraft complex.
  • Fort Meade: $363.5 million for building cantonment area roads, a mission support operations warehouse facility and NSAW building recapitalization.
  • Army Research Laboratory: $276.9 million in support of Army research to expand the lab’s open campus project

 

DD-214 Form: Modernizes the transition process for today’s service members by including a box specifically for e-mail addresses on the DD-214, or the Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty. Modernization of the DD-214 made it into the original NDAA mark. The contact information presently collected on the DD-214 can quickly become outdated as service members move during their transition back into civilian life, and this change will ensure that veterans can be contacted to receive the benefits they earned and deserve.

 

Defense Laboratory Modernization Program: Extends the Defense Laboratory Modernization Program through 2023, and clarified that money budgeted for research and development can be used to fund new laboratory construction. This program is an important step for jumpstarting much-needed improvements at the Department of Defense’s high tech research laboratories, which currently face a significant construction backlog. Maryland’s military research laboratories, such as the Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi and Naval Air Station Patuxent River, will benefit from the upgrades and renovations that this program supports.

 

Test Resource Management Center (TRMC): Preserves statutory authority for the TRMC, an agency that  oversees weapons testing and evaluation budgets, invests in test ranges around the country like Aberdeen Proving Ground and Pax River Naval Air Station and is critical to ensuring our military is mission ready in the 21st century.

 

Space Launch Range Services: Invests an additional $10 million for the Space Launch Range Services and Capability program, which supports infrastructure upgrades for spaceports, such as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops, that launch Department of Defense missions. This extra funding will help ensure that Wallops -  the major location in the DMV region for civil, commercial, and national security space missions - has the security, facilities, and equipment it needs to be prepared for upcoming launches.

 

Terrorism Research at University of Maryland: Protects endangered funding for the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), a consortium of universities that investigate terrorism and counterterrorism efforts headquartered at the University of Maryland. By formally connecting the Department of Defense (DOD) to START, Congressman Brown’s efforts will ensure that the two entities work together to advance counterterrorism efforts

 

Congressman Brown also championed additional provisions important to the constituents of Maryland’s Fourth District. They include:

 

Servicemembers and Military Families:

  • Fully funds a 2.6% pay raise for Servicemembers, and extends special pay and bonuses for servicemembers in high-demand fields.
  • Expands DOD’s authority to award constructive service credit for those entering the military with advanced education, experience, and training to increase the inflow of talent and specialized skills.
  • Makes permanent the Career Intermission Program, which allows Servicemembers to take a break from active service in pursuit of personal interests, family needs, professional education, or career opportunities.

 

Education:

  • Provides $40 million for continued research at Historically Black Colleges & Universities and other minority-serving institutions.
  • Authorizes $40 million for assistance to local educational agencies with military dependent students and $10 million for local educational agencies eligible to receive a payment for children with severe disabilities.

 

Gun Safety:

  • Improves crime reporting by requiring DOD to establish a centralized oversight system to ensure criminal data is transmitted to the FBI database preventing the purchase of a firearm.

 

Climate Change:

  • Requires installation master plans to address climate and energy resiliency initiatives aimed at ensuring the ability to sustain mission-critical operations.
  • Authorizes $15 million above the budget request for Energy Resiliency Conservation Investment Program.
  • Authorizes $70 million above the budget request for environmental restoration to support the Department’s response to drinking water contamination related to PFOS/PFOA.

 

Opioid Epidemic:

  • Requires the Department of Defense to establish a prescription drug monitoring program and share information with state prescription drug monitoring programs in order prevent opioid abuse within the military

 

Small Business:

  • Increases the amount authorized for the Procurement Technical Assistance Program, which assists small businesses with learning the federal contracting process, from $35 million to $50 million. Also increases the amount of federal assistance available for these centers.

 

Civilian Workforce:

  • Allows the Secretary of Defense to appoint candidates without competition to any position involved with DOD maintenance activities, including depot-level maintenance and repair, any cybersecurity position, any acquisition professional managing service contracts, any science technology or engineering positiosn at major range and test facilities until September 30, 2025.
  • Allows the Secretary of Defense to recruit and appoint, without competition, recent graduates and current post-secondary students to competitive service positions in professional and administrative positions within DOD until September 30, 2025.

Acquisition Reform:

  • Streamlines current acquisition law by eliminating numerous out-of-date or redundant laws and reports. Eliminates legislative mandates for numerous acquisition-related positions.
  • Increases oversight over services contracting. Requires the Secretary of Defense to submit information to Congress about services contracts, identifying the amount requested for each category of services procured by each Defense Agency, Department of Defense Field Activity, command, or military installation by October 1, 2020, and requires this information to be submitted annually with the Future-Years Defense Program.
  • Increases the amount authorized for the Procurement Technical Assistance Program, which assists small businesses with learning the federal contracting process, from $35 million to $50 million. Also increases the amount of federal assistance available for these centers.

 

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