December 20, 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the support of U.S. Senator Angus King (I-ME), the Senate last night passed the Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by a vote of 84-15. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator King helped author the legislation which authorizes funding for the Department of Defense and national security programs under the Department of Energy. In addition to provisions that support members of the military and their families, provide for national defense, and combat sexual assault in the military, the bill also contains several policy and funding measures important to Maine’s defense-related industries.
“Ensuring that our military men and women are provided the tools, resources, and support they need to protect our country and safeguard our freedoms is one of Congress’s most important responsibilities. This bill meets that fundamental obligation through cost-efficient provisions that support our servicemen and women and their families, provides for our national defense and security, and advances groundbreaking reforms to the military justice system to combat sexual assault in the military,” Senator King said. “The legislation also includes measures that will benefit Maine’s economy and contribute to stable jobs for people in defense-related industries across the state. As a member of the Armed Services Committee, I am proud to have played a role in crafting the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, and I am pleased to see it receive such widespread and bipartisan support in the Senate this evening.”
The following NDAA provisions are of particular importance to Maine:
The 2014 NDAA includes several provisions supported by Senator King that make historic reforms to the Uniform Code of Military Justice that will provide assistance to victims of sexual assault and help to establish a no-tolerance climate in the military for sexual assault or for retaliation against those who report it. Reforms include: (1) An automatic review of any sexual assault case by a civilian Service Secretary when a commander overturns the recommendation of a military legal advisor to prosecute that case; (2) requirement that, when a military legal advisor recommends and a commander agrees not to refer a sexual assault case to trial by court martial, that the next higher level commander review that decision; and (3) criminalizes retaliation against a victim who reports a sexual assault.