Readiness Chairman Garamendi Applauds Passage of Defense Authorization Bill in House Armed Services Committee
Washington, DC—Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA), Chairman of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, applauded the passage of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in the House Armed Services Committee. The bill passed the committee unanimously and now heads to the House floor for a vote.
“This legislation comes at a critical moment for our nation as we grapple with a once-in-a-century global pandemic. This NDAA provides the resources necessary for our military to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and help prevent the spread of this highly transmittable and deadly virus. The legislation also includes a much-deserved 3% pay increase for our service members and makes robust investments in training, infrastructure, sustainment, and logistics to support military readiness,” Garamendi said.
“As Chairman of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, I was pleased that the Readiness Subcommittee’s mark was unanimously approved by the committee. The Readiness Subcommittee’s mark includes provisions to help the military prepare for the effects of climate change and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, address contamination and health risks associated with Per- and Polyfluorinated Compounds (PFAS) around military installations—including Travis Air Force Base in my district—and ensure service members and their families have the best possible on-base housing,” Garamendi said.
Garamendi secured the following provisions at today’s markup:
Building a National Fleet
- Through Rep. Garamendi’s advocacy, the FY 2021 NDAA includes several provisions that establish a National Maritime Logistics Fleet to bolster America’s maritime sector. This is accomplished by strengthening US-flagged vessel requirements for the transportation of military cargo and fuels, creating a Tanker Security Program to address the shortfall in US-flagged, US-crewed tankers, and requiring the Navy to initiate an affordable, domestic built sealift ship. Strengthening our maritime logistics will bolster our nation’s commercial shipping industry and enhance our military's capabilities by improving the over-arching defense industrial base that supports each branch of our armed services.
Supporting the Mission at Beale Air Force Base
- Garamendi supported a $22.8 million funding request from Beale Air Force Base to construct a new fuel storage tank. The project will construct a new 10,000-barrel jet fuel (JP-8) tank, a transfer pump house with 600 gallon per minute (GPM) pumps and filter separators, two tank truck off-loading stations, and significantly modify the existing truck fill stand.
Strengthening Health Care for Service Members and Veterans
- Garamendi’s “Occupational and Environmental Transparency Health (OATH) Act (H.R. 2617) was included in the NDAA to require the DoD and VA to retroactively update health records based on information contained in the Burn Pit Registry. Currently, active duty members and veterans are unable to make disability claims with the Veterans Administration based on exposure to toxic hazards such as mold, chemicals, and open-air burn pits because those exposures are not tracked in their medical records. Garamendi’s “OATH Act” will change that and provide our nation’s service members with the support they deserve.
Tracking and Fighting Wildfires
- Rep. Garamendi successfully added an amendment to the NDAA that requires the Department of Defense to expedite review of requests for the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems by the National Guard to conduct life-saving fire, disaster and emergency search and rescue operations.
Bolstering the U.S. Industrial Base
- Rep. Garamendi passed an amendment that expands the list of auxiliary ship components to be manufactured in the National Technology and Industrial Base, which will help sustain the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
Garamendi secured the following wins in the NDAA through the Readiness Subcommittee’s mark:
Making Investments in key Readiness Accounts and Military Infrastructure to Support the Training, Sustainment, and Quality of Life for Military Personnel and Their Families:
- Authorizes funding for military construction and family housing.
- Authorizes funding for operation & maintenance accounts that support military operations, training, and weapon system sustainment.
Continuing Efforts to Address Contamination Associated with Per- and Polyfluorinated Compounds Around Military Installations:
- Requires the Department of Defense to notify the Congressional defense committees when there has been an uncontrolled release of PFAS-containing firefighting agents.
- Establishes a prize that can be awarded by the Secretary of Defense for innovative research that results in a viable replacement agent for firefighting foam that does not contain PFAS.
- Requires the Department of Defense to survey and report on non-firefighting agent technologies, such as hangar flooring and firefighting equipment, that will help facilitate the phase-out of PFAS-containing firefighting agents.
- Makes technical corrections to the FY20 National Defense Authorization Act to ensure that all National Guard installations are eligible for funding under the Defense Environmental Restoration Account for PFAS remediation.
- Requires a report on efforts taken to ensure fuel consumption, distribution, and logistics are being considered across the Department and that steps are being taken to reduce consumption of fossil fuels by 30 percent in 25 years to reduce the number of resupply convoys and oilers required in a contested environment.
- Strengthens an existing preference for the purchase of electric and hybrid vehicles for official business on military installations.
- Requires the Department of Defense to institute energy metering on critical military facilities to assess the energy requirements and plan to ensure resilient power sources for these facilities.
- Establishes a pilot program to develop microgrids on military installations that integrate emergency diesel generators to demonstrate how microgrid emergency diesel generator backup power could create efficiencies and resiliency while reducing costs and emissions.
- Directs the Department to assess water security at its installations and implement plans to implement xeriscaping at arid installations and other appropriate landscaping at other installations.
- Requires a report on the implementation of provisions from the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act related to installation master planning, updates to the Unified Facilities Criteria (building codes), sea-level rise modeling, and climate assessment tools.
Building on the Committee’s Previous Legislative and Oversight Activities to Ensure that Military Personnel and Their Families Live in Quality Housing and that the Department and Private Housing Partners are Responsive to Resident Concerns:
- Requires a report on the oversight of known environmental hazards in government-owned family housing, including overseas housing.
- Requires the Department of Defense to report on the feasibility of standardizing privatized housing performance metrics to better allow the Department to track trends across the housing enterprise.
- For future and renegotiated privatized housing agreements, requires that funding for housing maintenance and recapitalization be prioritized ahead of housing management and other fees in the payment structure.
- Imposes congressional reporting requirements to increase oversight of the Secretary of Defense’s ability to suspend collective bargaining rights for Department of Defense civilian employees.
- Prohibits the Office of Personnel Management from including more than one local wage area within a General Schedule pay locality in order to better align Federal Wage System Areas with General Schedule locality pay areas.
- Makes technical corrections to the Paid Parental Leave benefit provided through the FY20 National Defense Authorization Act to ensure that Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, and certain other civilian employees inadvertently omitted from the legislation receive the paid parental leave benefit.
- Requires the Department to conduct a comprehensive examination and submit a report on the sustainment and logistics requirements, gaps, and mitigations necessary to support the force structure, force modernization, infrastructure, and other elements of the national defense strategy.
- Expands and codifies an annual report on the infrastructure requirements and investments at enduring and contingency bases maintained overseas. In addition, requires a one-time report on the infrastructure masterplan for all infrastructure requirements, and a breakdown of U.S. and Australia funded projects, needed to support the Marine Rotational Force and others that may operate from Darwin, Australia.
- Requires the Secretary of the Navy to provide a report on the current and projected bulk fuel management strategies in the Indo-Pacific and prepare a bulk fuel strategy that optimally supports bulk fuel management in the Indo-Pacific.
- Requires the Secretary of the Navy to provide a briefing every six months on the implementation of the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan (SIOP) and authorizes a dedicated funding line for SIOP activities to support more transparency and oversight of the program.
- Extends the sunset of the minimum business guarantee provision relating to the Civil Reserve Air Fleet to December 31, 2025.
Reporting on Matters Related to Military Communities, Safety, and Congressional Oversight of Military Readiness:
- Codifies the Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) and clarifies its role in coordinating with and providing support to defense communities. The mark also supports the Defense Community Infrastructure Program (DCIP) and grants authority to proceed with a public infrastructure project on Guam intended to provide a public health laboratory that can support biosecurity testing and analysis to monitor and detect a range of health threats.
- Requires a report on the reporting, tracking, accuracy, and sharing of information related to ground vehicle training mishaps.
- Requires an independent review of critical points of failure in the munitions enterprise, requires a report on mishaps and safety waivers in the munitions enterprise, and clarifies the role and authority of the Chairman of the Department of Defense Explosive Safety Board.
- Includes a number of reporting requirements for the Government Accountability Office to assist the committee with oversight on topics that include F-35 operations and sustainment, Air Force use of contract air support services, aviation and ship maintenance, Dynamic Force Employment, and Coast Guard Reimbursement for Defense Activities.