The Source

Congress Passes FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act

On November 14, the House approved, 356-70, the conference report for H.R. 2810, the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act; the Senate approved the measure, by voice vote, on November 16. The House approved an earlier version of the bill on July 14 (see The Source, 7/14/17); the Senate approved its version (S. 1519) on September 18 (see The Source, 9/22/17).

According to the conference report, the bill authorizes $699.9 billion for defense programs, which includes $634.2 billion in base funding and $65.7 billion for overseas contingency operations. In addition, the bill authorizes $141.8 billion for military personnel and $33.5 billion for the Defense Health Program. The legislation authorizes $9.98 billion for military construction, of which $1.46 billion is authorized for military family housing.

The measure includes several provisions to address military sexual assault, including language to require military services to provide sexual assault prevention training for individuals enlisted under a delayed entry program. The legislation requires the annual Department of Defense sexual assault prevention and response report to include information on sexual harassment, nonconsensual distribution of sexual images, and sexual assault by a service member against his or her spouse. The agreement does not include language in the House version of H.R. 2810 to increase the punishment for sex-related crimes to include imprisonment.

Among other provisions, the report incorporates provisions of H.R. 2052, the Protecting the Rights of Individuals Against Technological Exploitation (PRIVATE) Act, sponsored by Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ), making it a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for service members to share intimate photos or videos without consent.

Additionally, the bill authorizes $5 million for the “acquisition, installation, and maintenance of exhibits, facilities, historical displays, and programs at military service memorials and museums that highlight the role of women in the military,” at least $10 million for the recruitment and training of women in the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, and $2 million for STEM support for minority women.