With Honor Action Priorities in House NDAA

Investing in the Future of Defense
  1. National Digital Reserve Corps: Establishes a program under the General Services Administration that will bridge the needs of the federal government with private sector capabilities by creating a reserve of cybersecurity and digital experts who can be detailed to executive agencies for at least 30 days per calendar year. 
  2. Pilot Program on Cybersecurity Training for Veterans and Military Spouses: Creates a cybersecurity training program under the Department of Homeland Security for veterans and eligible spouses at no cost to these individuals. Eligible recipients may receive postsecondary credits towards qualified degree work at the completion of the pilot program. 
  3. U.S. Digital Service Academy: Establishes the “Department of Defense Cyber and Digital Service Academy,” a program which will provide scholarships for certain cyber and digital-related fields that are deemed critically important. In return, recipients will work for the Department of Defense for a period equal to the length of the scholarship upon completion of their degree or specialized program certification.
  4. CISA Leadership Act: Makes the Director of the Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency (CISA) a Senate-approved position serving for five-year terms, shielding the Director from political decisions and providing the agency greater predictability. 
  5. Space National Guard Establishment Act: Establishes a Space National Guard composed of the National Guard forces of the 8 states/territories currently conducting space missions. Currently, active duty Air Force units with space missions were transferred to the Space Force, however units with space missions in the National Guard were left under the Air Force. The establishment of a Space National Guard would eliminate that division, allowing Guard and Active Duty components to operate as a seamless team. 
  6. DHS Roles & Responsibilities in Cyberspace: Requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to conduct a thorough review of its cyber incident response plans and integration with private sector entities. This report will also provide recommendations for improvement, setting the conditions for a more agile and effective cyber incident response framework.
  7. Establishment of Critical Technology Security Centers: Establishes at least two centers that will conduct cybersecurity research on the software and technologies that underpin national defense and critical infrastructure, including in the energy sector, information and communications systems, and homeland security.
  8. Support for Research and Development of Bioindustrial Manufacturing Processes: Having designated biotechnology as an emerging technology with implications for national security, this provision bolsters our nation’s investment in the bioindustry by directing the Secretary of Defense to expand or create additional Manufacturing Innovation Institutes to pilot and scale bioindustrial manufacturing processes.
  9. Designation of Systemically Important Critical Infrastructure: Codifies ongoing work to identify and prioritize the cybersecurity infrastructure of our nation’s most critical firms, including those central to national security in the financial and energy sectors.
  10. Sense of Congress on Taiwan Defense Relations: Reinforces the sense of Congress on the U.S. commitment to the development of a capable, ready, and modern defense force in Taiwan that is capable of maintaining a free and open society with free exercise of democratic rights.
Supporting Service Members, Veterans, and their Families
  1. Onward to Opportunity Act: Creates a pilot program to provide grants and support to industry-recognized certifications, job placement assistance, and other related employment services to supplement the current Transition Assistance Program (TAP).
  2. The Post-Widows Tax Repeal SBP Open Enrollment for Service-Disabled Veterans Act: Prior to the repeal of the Survivor Benefit Pan (SBP)/Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) offset, commonly called the “Widow’s Tax,” nearly 1,600 veterans withdrew believing that their families would only benefit from the SBP. This common-sense fix creates a special open enrollment period for these veterans, allowing retirees to ensure, after death, a continuous lifetime annuity for their dependents.
  3. Exclusion of Basic Allowance for Housing income from Basic Needs Allowance: In last year’s NDAA, Congress authorized a new Basic Needs Allowance (BNA) to help vulnerable military families, specifically those making below 130 percent of federal poverty guidelines. However, this previous legislation incorporated the servicemembers’ Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) into calculating eligibility. This oversight causes many otherwise eligible military families from being excluded from receiving BNA. The new legislation will amend this, excluding BAH from the gross income used to calculate BNA eligibility. 
  4. Military Housing Transparency and Accountability Act: Creates a centralized Military Housing Feedback Tool for members of the Armed Forces and their families to identify, rate, and compare housing, allowing military families to report issues and seek resolutions while strengthening DOD oversight of military housing. 
  5. VA Same Day Scheduling Act: This legislation will guarantee that veterans who call the VA seeking care are able to schedule their appointment during that same call. In current practice, veterans may be placed on hold or told that they will be called back in order to schedule an appointment – this can be a confusing or difficult process for many older veterans or veterans with less access to a telephone.
  6. U.S.-Israel Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Collaborative Research Act: This legislation will advance Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) research by encouraging collaboration between American and Israeli research institutions. Specifically, the legislation establishes a grant program to advance joint research on PTSD to eligible academic or nonprofit entities in both countries. 
  7. Supporting Education Recognition for Veterans during Emergencies (SERVE) Act: This bill will ensure that veterans’ service-connected medical qualifications and expertise will be utilized by the VA and other health care facilities to prevent shortages in medical staff across the country. This legislation would direct the VA to identify veterans with former military medication occupation specialties and provide their contact and certification information on a voluntary basis in a centralized web portal. This database would be utilized by state-credentialing bodies, Departments of Veterans Affairs, and other entities to facilitate the credentialing process for qualified veterans.
  8. Get Rewarding Outdoor Work (GROW) Act: This legislation establishes a pilot program to employ veterans for conservation projects at national parks and public lands, and directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to develop guidelines containing best practices for federal agencies and departments to hire veterans transitioning to civilian life. 
  9. Study on Incidence and Mortality of Cancer Among Former Aircrew: In 2021 the Air Force published a study that found a higher risk of developing certain cancers for former air crewmen. This legislation builds on this troubling Air Force study by tasking the VA to partner with the National Academies of Science to study the incidence and mortality of cancer among former air crew members of all service branches. The new study will specifically try to identify the chemicals, compounds, or other phenomena that cause this elevated cancer rate in air crew members. 
  10. Report on Adverse Childhood Events in Servicemembers: Research has shown that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are one of the most significant risk factors for suicide, future mental and physical health crises, and domestic violence. Unfortunately, servicemembers are significantly more likely to have experienced ACEs than the civilian population. This provision of the NDAA directs the Secretary of Defense to submit a report and provide a briefing on the prevalence of adverse childhood experiences amongst servicemembers, setting conditions for future Defense wide screening and treatment programs.
Encouraging National Service and Civic Engagement
  1. Expanding opportunities for Junior Reserve Officer Training Program participation: Directs the Secretary of Defense to develop a plan to increase accessibility to the JROTC program in remote and rural areas as well as in states which are underrepresented in the program.
Honoring our Wartime Promises to Afghan Allies
  1. Extension and Modification of the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) Program: The SIV Program has been an invaluable benefit to America’s wartime allies. However, the program currently requires that Afghans submit an SIV application by December 31, 2023. However, given ongoing security concerns for Afghans, a lack of U.S. consular presence in Afghanistan, and substantial other barriers, many Afghans cannot currently apply. This legislation will extend the application deadline to December 31, 2024, thereby giving our allies additional time to apply for the program.
  2. Expansion of the Afghan SIV Program to Include Combat Wounded Afghan Allies: This legislation amends the current law concerning Afghan SIV eligibility. Currently, the law requires Afghans to have assisted the U.S. mission for one year to be eligible for a SIV. Although this makes sense generally, it omits Afghans that were wounded or seriously injured during their service before they reached their year of eligibility. This provision changes the law, allowing these wounded Afghans to be eligible for a SIV.