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May 28, 2024

Panetta secures local priorities in defense bill

Courtesy of Congressman Jimmy Panetta’s office:

Congressman Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) supported passage of the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Congressman Panetta successfully incorporated numerous provisions to the bill that strengthen programs and priorities for Central Coast defense installations and entities, address military housing issues, and keep the United States in the NATO Alliance. 

Support for Local Defense Installations

  • The NDAA contains Congressman Panetta’s legislation, H.R. 3185, the Defense Language Improvement Act, authorizing the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC) to confer a Bachelor of Arts degree in foreign language upon any graduate who fulfills the degree requirements.  Currently, DLIFLC may confer an Associate of Arts degree in a foreign language.
  • The NDAA establishes a Center for Acquisition Innovation at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS).  The Center will operate as an academic entity specializing in innovation relating to the defense acquisition system.
  • The NDAA requires the Department of Defense design, development, and implement a digital engineering capability, infrastructure, and pilot program.  NPS is exploring digital engineering educational and certificate programs.  NPS is eligible for the pilot program.
  • The NDAA supports irregular warfare capabilities and encourages the Army to continue to fund Army Special Forces officer attendance at NPS.
  • Congressman Panetta authored an amendment to require a plan to improve the collection and monitoring of information, both financial and nonfinancial, regarding the consideration and use of intergovernmental support agreements (IGSA).  The Monterey Model was the first IGSA.
  • Congressman Panetta authored several amendments requiring improved defense innovation investments and management; enhanced coordination between the federal government, industry, and academia to ensure the global superiority of the United States in emerging technologies; and sustained resourcing for research, development, test, and evaluation programs that support the central coast of California.

Privatized Military Housing Issues

  • Core elements of Congressman Panetta’s legislation, H.R. 2811, the Better Military Housing Act are contained in the legislation, including requirements to create a tenant bill of rights for residents of privatized military housing; prohibit reprisal against military tenants; create a housing advocate for servicemembers; establish an accounting of respective responsibilities of the landlord and tenant; implement an improved work order system; and execute and publicize annual oversight of privatized military housing at 15 randomly selected installations.
  • Congressman Panetta authored an amendment authorizing the Army to carry out a $5 million pilot program to construct new military housing in diverse climate regions in the United States utilizing the All-American Abode design by the United States Military Academy.
  • Congressman Panetta authored an amendment to require a report on the legal services the Department of Defense may provide to servicemembers harmed by a health or environmental hazard while living in military housing and dissemination of the information at all U.S. installations.

“It is imperative that the Department of Defense develop a holistic solution to remedy systemic issues in certain privatized military housing complexes.  This legislation with my amendments will enhance transparency, communication, and accountability standards when it comes to the military’s privatized housing and empower servicemembers and their families,” said Congressman Panetta. 

Promotion of Our Values and Support for Allies

  • The NDAA contains Congressman Panetta’s legislation, H.R. 676, the NATO Support Act, reaffirming strong Congressional support for NATO and prohibiting the use of funds to withdraw from the alliance. 

“This bill will keep the United States in the most successful military alliance in human history, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or NATO.  The alliance allows for constant coordination and collaboration in the continued fight against international terrorism, Russian aggression, and cyber-attacks,” continued Congressman Panetta.  “The NDAA ensures that America not only is a reliable partner in NATO, but that NATO remains the cornerstone for peace and prosperity throughout the world.”

Honor for U.S. Veterans

  • The NDAA contains Congressman Panetta’s legislation, H.R. 1019, the Full Military Honors Act, providing a full military honors ceremony – including funeral escort platoon, military band, firing party, and horse-drawn caisson – to Medal of Honor recipients and Prisoners of War eligible for burial at Arlington National Cemetery.

“As the authorizing bill for the Department of Defense, this legislation outlines the policy to help the men and women protecting our country, including those serving on the Central Coast.   I am pleased that this year’s defense package will include important investments that reflect our Central Coast values.” said Congressman Panetta.

The FY20 NDAA also increases pay for our servicemembers by 3.1%, underpins a smart defense posture with a tough stance on Russia and continued collaboration with allies, promotes a more inclusive military by reinforcing the values of diversity, STEM, and integration, and solidifies Congress’ oversight role of defense programs and the authorization to use military force. 

The annual NDAA covers the breadth of the operations of the Department of Defense as well as the national security functions of the Department of Energy and other related areas.  The annual national defense budget involves millions of military and civilian personnel, thousands of facilities, and hundreds of agencies, departments, and commands located around the world.