The Source

Senate Passes FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act

On September 18, the Senate passed, 89-8, H.R. 2810, the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The Senate Armed Services Committee passed its version of the bill (S. 1519) on June 28 (see The Source, 6/30/17). The Senate then considered the text of S. 1519 as a substitute amendment to the House-passed version of the NDAA (H.R. 2810), which cleared that chamber on July 14 (see The Source, 7/14/17).

According to the committee report, the bill would authorize $692.1 billion in base discretionary funds for defense-related programs at the Departments of Defense and Energy in FY2018. Included in that amount is $60.2 billion for overseas contingency operations, $141.547 billion for military personnel, $33.664 billion for the Defense Health Program, and $1.335 billion for family housing within the allocation for Military Construction.

The legislation contains several provisions to address the ongoing problem of sexual assault in the military and, like the House version, incorporates provisions of H.R. 2052, the Protecting the Rights of Individuals Against Technological Exploitation (PRIVATE) Act, sponsored by Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ), which would prohibit the wrongful broadcast and distribution of intimate visual images and arises from reports of online sexual harassment of female service members (see The Source, 3/24/17).

The measure would require TRICARE, the health care program for service members and their families, to cover contraception services for female beneficiaries, and would provide for expedited evaluation of, and treatment for, prenatal surgeries under TRICARE.

Additionally, the bill would require the secretary of Defense to report on the feasibility of expanding child care services to accommodate the needs of military families. The legislation would address the needs of military spouses, creating a federal-state task force to eliminate unnecessary requirements for obtaining occupational licenses and credentials in different states. The bill also proposes a website for spouses, with information on completing the licensing process.