CHARLOTTE, NC – With Honor Action praises the successful and bipartisan passage of the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was signed into law by President Biden today. The NDAA has been a model of bicameral, bipartisan legislation. Lawmakers annually come together, putting political differences aside, to reach a consensus on this critical legislation – providing our military and national security leaders with a comprehensive blueprint of our nation’s defense policy and funding priorities for the next fiscal year.
“We are pleased to see so many important provisions that enhance our national security and help veterans, service members, and their families in the 2022 NDAA,” says Rye Barcott, Co-Founder and CEO of With Honor Action. “With Honor Action was proud to advocate for and work on 19 provisions that made it into the final bill, including the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Location Act, 7 priorities from the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI), and the establishment of the Afghanistan War Commission.”
With Honor Action works alongside the 26 Member, bipartisan For Country Caucus (FCC) in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bipartisan proposals With Honor Action supports – all of which are sponsored or supported by veterans serving in Congress – are designed to improve the lives of service members, veterans, and their families; secure America’s future, with a particular focus on our technological future in artificial intelligence and cyber; honor our commitments to wartime allies; and modernize our government for future challenges.
The NDAA includes a number of key provisions to improve the lives of service members, veterans, and their families. For example, the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Location Act, led by FCC Members Reps. Jason Crow and Mike Gallagher and sponsored by every FCC Member, authorizes the establishment of the Global War on Terrorism Memorial on the National Mall to honor those who served during the nation’s longest war. The Brandon Act, led by FCC Members Reps. Seth Moulton and Mariannette Miller-Meeks, helps service members struggling with mental health issues by mandating mental health evaluation referrals. The Military Moms Matter Act, led by FCC Member Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, improves postpartum care for members of the Armed Forces and their dependents, providing critical support to military families. Lastly, the Military Hunger Prevention Act, led by FCC Member Reps. Jimmy Panetta, Don Bacon, Jim Baird, and Salud Carbajal, ensures that the Department of Defense (DOD) pays a basic needs allowance to certain low-income members of the Armed Forces.
Critical sections of the NDAA help secure America’s technological future in artificial intelligence and cyber infrastructure. Yearly reports by the DOD on National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI) recommendations, an amendment led by FCC Member Chrissy Houlahan, will ensure artificial intelligence remains a defense priority. A provision to develop a digital infrastructure plan establishes a DOD working group to develop a plan to establish a modern information technology infrastructure capable of incorporating state of the art tools, including artificial intelligence. The establishment of digital recruiting offices will allow DOD to bring in much needed tech talent.
The NDAA builds on important work done by With Honor Action to honor our commitments to wartime allies. The Afghan War Commission, led by FCC Members Reps. Peter Meijer and Seth Moulton will start a nonpartisan review of the war and establish actionable recommendations. With Honor Action previously supported the HOPE for Afghan SIVs Act, The Averting Loss of Life and Injury by Expediting SIVs (ALLIES) Act, and WELCOMED Act, all of which streamlined the Special Immigrant Visa process and ensured the U.S. could evacuate and resettle more of our Afghan allies. Lastly, the NDAA includes a crucial provision led by FCC Member Rep. Don Bacon to establish a Casualty Assistance Program Working Group, which will help modernize the Department of Defense by improving its casualty affairs programs.
The 2022 NDAA includes these 19 provisions supported by With Honor Action:
1. Yearly Reports by the DOD on NSCAI Recommendations – An amendment led by FCC Member Chrissy Houlahan, this provision requires that the DOD submit reports over the next two years on the status of recommendations from the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence.
2. Development of a Digital Infrastructure Plan – This provision establishes a DOD working group and tasks them with developing a plan to establish a modern information technology infrastructure capable of incorporating state of the art tools including artificial intelligence.
3. Establishment of Digital Recruiting Offices – This provision establishes a chief digital recruiting officer within the DOD, and it charges them with identifying the DOD’s digital talent needs and skills gaps and recruiting individuals to address those gaps.
4. Updating Federal Occupation Series Fields – This provision directs the Office of Personnel Management to establish occupational series for federal government positions in the fields of software development, software engineering, data science, and data management, helping to focus the professional development of personnel in these fields.
5. Integrate Emerging Technology into Professional Education – This provision establishes an executive education course within DOD on emerging technologies; the course for generals and senior executive level civilian leaders will prepare them to deal with disruptive emerging technologies.
6. Assess the Feasibility of a National Cyber Academy – This provision requires the DOD to determine the overall workforce requirements for cyberspace and information warfare personnel across the active and reserve components of the Armed Forces, and to determine whether a graduate level cyber academy is necessary.
7. National Defense Science and Technology Strategy – The National Defense Science and Technology Strategy is a provision tasking the DOD to develop a strategy articulating the science and technology priorities, goals, and investments of the DOD.
8. Global War on Terrorism Memorial Location Act – The Global War on Terrorism Memorial Location Act, led by FCC Members Reps. Jason Crow and Mike Gallagher and sponsored by every FCC Member, authorizes the establishment of a Global War on Terrorism Memorial on the National Mall.
9. Brandon Act – Led by FCC Members Rep. Seth Moulton and Mariannette Miller-Meeks, this provision mandates referrals for mental health evaluation in the Armed Forces to help service members struggling with mental health issues.
10. Military Moms Matter Act – Led by FCC Member Reps. Chrissy Houlahan, Don Bacon, Jared Golden, Kai Kahele, Seth Moulton, Jim Baird, and Van Taylor, this provision improves postpartum care for members of the Armed Forces and their dependents.
11. Expansion of Support Programs for Special Operations Gold Star Families – Led by FCC Member Rep. Jimmy Panetta, this provision expands support programs and access for the surviving immediate family members of Special Operations troops killed in service to the nation.
12. Military Hunger Prevention Act – Led by FCC Member Reps. Jimmy Panetta, Don Bacon, Jim Baird, and Salud Carbajal, the Military Hunger Prevention Act requires the DOD to pay a basic needs allowance to eligible low-income members of the Armed Forces.
13. Alexander Lofgren Veterans in Parks Act – Led by FCC Member Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, the Alexander Lofgren Veterans in Parks Act makes National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands passes available, without charge, to members of the Armed Forces, veterans, and Gold Star Families.
14. Military Spouse Employment Assistance – This provision will help implement best practices and better communication with military spouses on career assistance and order a DOD study on military spouse employment, including barriers to entry like state licensing requirements.
15. Afghan War Commission Act – The Afghan War Commission Act, led by FCC Member Rep. Peter Meijer and Seth Moulton, creates a non-partisan, independent commission that will conduct a comprehensive examination of the War in Afghanistan.
16. Expanding Verification of SIV Applicants Through the SPOT Database – This provision directs the DOD and the Department of State (DOS) to submit a joint report on the use of the Synchronized Predeployment and Operational Tracker (SPOT) database to verify the existence and eligibility of Afghan contractors for SIVs.
17. Arctic Security Initiative Act – The Arctic Security Initiative Act led by FCC Members Reps. Mike Gallagher and Elaine Luria, requires the DOD to conduct a security assessment of the Arctic region and establish an Arctic Security Initiative with a five-year plan to fully resource the DOD and provide individual service-specific strategies for the Arctic.
18. Taiwan Partnership Act – Critical provisions of the Taiwan Partnership Act led by FCC Rep. Mike Gallagher, requires the DOD conduct a yearly briefing on cooperation between the National Guard and Taiwan during the preceding year and an evaluation of how to improve future cooperation.
19. Establishment of a Casualty Assistance Program Working Group – Led by FCC Rep. Don Bacon, this provision improves the Department of Defense casualty affairs programs by creating a working group to standardize casualty assistance officer training across military departments.