Moulton Leads on Key Provisions Included in Passage of NDAA
May 25th, 2018
Moulton: “Even in these incredibly divided times, Congress can come together when it has the right leadership.”
The House of Representatives has passed H.R. 5515, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This bill authorizes funding for the Department of Defense and other related agencies for Fiscal Year 2019. Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA), ranking member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, released the following statement in support of the NDAA’s passage:
“This year’s overwhelmingly bipartisan defense bill is proof positive that, even in these incredibly divided times, Congress can come together when it has the right leadership. Chairman Mac Thornberry, from a deep red district in Texas, and Ranking Member Adam Smith, from a blue district in Washington, helped bring us together. The bill isn’t perfect, and still puts too much money towards old, expensive programs for aircraft and ships and not enough towards the latest technology and our troops on the ground.. But it’s a bipartisan step in the right direction. I will continue to be an advocate for our troops, and work to ensure the United States has a strong, smart, and strategic approach to our national defense.”
This bill contains important funding provisions that are beneficial to Massachusetts and the Sixth District, including:
- $40 million in funding for Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – Lincoln Labs modernization and facilities upgrades – MIT Lincoln Labs, located in Massachusetts’ 6th district, is a nerve-center of critical research and development in microchips and semiconductors as well as cybersecurity, space technology, and advanced communications important for our national security. This funding will enable the continued modernization of decades-old facilities and support MIT’s efforts to remain on the cutting edge.
In addition, Moulton led on key amendments contained in the bill that are critical to our national security and defense including:
- Independent Assessment of the Defense Health Agency (DHA) and military mental healthcare – Congressman Moulton spearheaded an effort requiring the Department of Defense provide Congress and the American people with a strategy detailing how it manages the mental health care needs of military personnel across all service branches. As the Department of Defense transitions healthcare across services to the Defense Health Agency (DHA), this provision ensures servicemembers are provided the best care possible – especially as veterans confront higher rates of post-traumatic stress and continued difficulty accessing care.
- White House National Security Council Cyber Coordination Strategy – Congressman Moulton led an effort via NDAA that requires a White House National Security Council (NSC) official coordinate a government-wide response to foreign cyber attacks against the U.S. The President must report to Congress on this strategy and detail a summary of actions taken to enhance U.S. national security against cyber information operations and provide an assessment of the effects of such information operations on U.S. foreign policy. This is in response to Russian hacking of the 2016 elections and ongoing efforts by Russia and other foreign governments to attack our cyber infrastructure and manipulate our policymaking process.Despite the bill including this provision, days afterwards, the White House announced it would be eliminating the Cyber Coordinator position from the NSC. Congressman Moulton led an effort to block this move which was rejected by Republicans, ignoring the need to maintain robust national cyber-defense.
- Countering Foreign Propaganda Act of 2018 (CFPA) – Congressman Moulton introduced vital bipartisan legislation with Republican Elise Stefanik of New York now incorporated in NDAA requiring greater transparency of foreign government-owned media outlets. Russia attacked our democracy in 2016 and is planning to do so again in our 2018 elections. Russia and China use government media to disseminate disinformation to sway public opinion and impact our political processes. This provision requires such outlets disclose their foreign government ownership and ties to Congress and the American people to ensure there is greater visibility of the role of foreign governments in our media landscape. We can’t wait until after the fact to let the American people know they’ve been watching a foreign government’s propaganda machine – especially when it seeks to undermine our democratic elections.
- Prescription Database Monitoring Program – SHIELDS Act – Congressman Moulton led a bipartisan effort with Republican Mike Turner of Ohio that requires the Department of Defense coordinate and share their prescription databases with states to better monitor opioids and their use. This provision is vital given the devastating impact opioid addiction has had on our veterans. This legislation included in the NDAA will help our servicemembers get the care they deserve by increasing information sharing between the Defense Department and state-managed prescription databases.
- Trump’s Military Parade – Congressman Moulton spoke in strong support of an effort to require any parade honoring our troops occur on Veterans Day and prohibit the use of equipment that would negatively impact our military readiness. Moulton emphasized the fact that our defense budget is better spent on better equipment for our troops, military family benefits, veteran suicide prevention, or investments in the research and development of advanced weapons to counter our adversaries. Unfortunately, this amendment was rejected by Republicans.
- Rural Broadband Connectivity – Congressman Moulton led an effort with Republican Trent Kelly of Mississippi which was included in the bill that directs the Small Business Administration (SBA) to assist small businesses in obtaining broadband access and appoints an SBA official to coordinate such efforts. It also requires regular reports to Congress on this work and the SBA to collect data on small business broadband accessibility and usage to better facilitate connectivity. This provision will help small businesses innovate, become more efficient, and save money.
- Unmanned Naval Ship Research & Development – Congressman Moulton pioneered a provision in the the Seapower portion of the bill that strengthens the development of unmanned naval technologies. Russia and China are quickly developing advanced unmanned naval craft and without concerted, strategic investments, the U.S. will fall behind. This provision ensures our Navy’s focus is on the future of Naval technology, not just the present by better resourcing unmanned research and development efforts.
To learn more about Congressman Seth Moulton visit https://moulton.house.gov or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Medium.