Press Release

Castor Statement on House Passage of FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act

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Washington, July 21, 2020 | comments

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) released the below statement following the passage of the bipartisan FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) today in the U.S. House of Representatives:

“Even in the midst of a global pandemic, our men and women in uniform at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa and across the globe are bravely defending our nation and keeping us safe. MacDill and our service members are central to the economic well-being of the Tampa Bay area, and this year’s NDAA ensures that our service men and women – and their families – have the tools they need to keep our country safe.

“I am proud that investments I championed for our service members are included in the bill, including a 3 percent pay raise for our troops and a continued commitment to upgrade base housing for military families. Our service members and their families at MacDill are the best and they deserve the best – that means housing that is safe and clean and free from mold and shoddy construction. The NDAA will ensure that the Department of Defense (DOD) continues to improve housing for MacDill families.

“Tampa Bay knows firsthand that the warming climate, increasing temperatures and growing global instability are threats that cannot be ignored. To safeguard our national security, I am pleased we included climate and clean energy provisions in this year’s NDAA. Being more resilient to our changing climate will allow us to protect our bases and safeguard our national interests around the globe. As Chair of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, I appreciate the collaboration with the House Armed Services Committee to ensure our service members can prepare and respond to the escalating climate crisis.

“Importantly, for national security and our own MacDill AFB, the bill also prohibits the retirement of any KC-135 aircraft or the reduction in the number of primary mission KC-135 aircraft.  While we wait for more successful tests and then the successful integration of KC-46’s into our forces, keeping the KC-135’s flying safely will be paramount to national security. MacDill’s Air Refueling Wing will remain expert at this for years to come.”

“The NDAA also tackles systemic racism that pervades American life by establishing new diversity requirements for DOD, including the creation of a Diversity and Inclusion Council.  We also direct the removal of base names and symbols that were established more to intimidate than to honor. For many years, I have championed the removal of Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith from the U.S. Capitol, and this year’s NDAA moves full steam ahead to remove symbols that are anti-American. The bill requires DOD to change the names of all military bases named for those who fought for the Confederate States of America rather than the United States of America.  And it prohibits the display of the Confederate flag on DOD installations. This is an important step to ensure our armed forces are inclusive for all who want to serve our nation and to honor American heroes who embody the values of America.”

The NDAA includes the following priorities for MacDill Air Force Base and Tampa residents:

  • Includes a 3 percent pay raise.
  • Prohibits the use of funds to be appropriated for two years for the retirement of any KC-135 aircraft or reduce the number of primary mission KC-135 aircraft.
  • Includes language that would require DOD to delay implementation of Military Treatment Facility restructuring and medical billet cuts and increase reporting requirements and Congressional oversight, which could benefit military families and retirees who use the clinic at MacDill AFB and Sabal Park Community Clinic.
  • Creates a Pandemic Preparedness and Resilience National Security Fund, providing  $1 billion to prepare for and respond to future pandemics.
  • Requires the (DOD) to identify, report on a process and change the names of all military bases and infrastructure named for individuals who served in the Confederacy within one year and prohibits the public display of the Confederate flag on DOD installations.
  • Requires an update to the 2014 DOD Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap, including assessment of climate-related impacts on military operations of extreme weather, an ice-free Arctic, and increased fire hazards.
  • Establishes a National Academies Climate Security Roundtable to support the Climate Security Advisory Council.
  • Authorizes an additional $5M for research on extreme weather events.
  • Requires the Department of Defense to maximize to the extent practicable its use of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and fully electric vehicles for non-combat uses through replacement of vehicles at the end of their lease or service period.
  • Directs the Department of Defense to report on efforts to improve energy resilience at installations and address other installation vulnerabilities to extreme weather, as required under the FY18-20 NDAAs.
  • Establishes new diversity requirements for the DOD, including the creation of a Diversity and Inclusion Council.
  • Builds on previous work to address sexual assault prevention and response.
  • Election security: requires a briefing on national-state election interference efforts, influence operations and campaigns targeting democratic elections and campaigns targeting military alliance and partnerships that may impact U.S. defense and security equities.
  • Prohibits funding to provide logistical support to the Saudi-led coalition for strikes in Yemen.

U.S. Rep. Castor serves as the Chair of the U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, is a member of the powerful U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee and previously served on the U.S. House Armed Services Committee.  Her district includes MacDill Air Force Base and is home to U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), two of the Armed Forces’ most important military commands.  MacDill Air Force Base’s 6th Air Refueling Wing is the centerpiece of the U.S. Air Force’s Global Vigilance, Global Reach, Global Power mission with its essential functions of aerial refueling.  The base’s mission is vital to keeping America safe and ready for any contingencies we may face as a nation.

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