Cramer Announces Passage of National Defense Authorization Including Key Missile Amendment
Washington, D.C. – Today Congressman Kevin Cramer voted with the House of Representatives to pass legislation which authorizes critical programs to North Dakota defense operations, the defense of our nation, and confronts an increase in military sexual assault. The Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) keeps spending levels below those of Fiscal Year 2011 while authorizing key armed services priorities including a pay increase for military personnel, holding the line on medical fee increases, and prohibiting another round of base closures, or BRAC.
Intercontinental ballistic missile amendment
On Thursday afternoon, Cramer worked to pass an amendment with Representatives Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Steve Daines (R-MT) which requires the Department of Defense to maintain the 450 active Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) silos in a warm status; ensuring our nation’s nuclear force remains flexible, functional and responsive.
The New START treaty, introduced to reduce the number of nuclear arms between the U.S. and Russia, limits these two countries to no more than 700 total deployed ICBMs, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments. Meanwhile the Obama administration continues to suggest further reductions in America’s nuclear forces by cutting nuclear defenses more than required under the New START treaty, and bypassing congressional approval. These unilateral changes place the country’s ICBMs, located in Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota, and America’s effective nuclear triad, on the chopping block. The amendment ensures infrastructure for these crucial defense missiles are not subjected to hurried cutbacks which lack foresight.
“The cost of maintaining this important force is far less than the price tag of rebuilding it should it become necessary. China, France, India, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, and Russia are engaged in maintaining, expanding, or modernizing their nuclear programs. Some argue the U.S. taxpayer is funding the maintenance of weapons never used. I argue the U.S. taxpayer is funding the maintenance of hundreds of ICBMs being used every day, successfully deterring our enemies from launching their own nuclear weapons,” Cramer said.
Military sexual assault
A bill Cramer cosponsored was incorporated into the NDAA, adding rape, sexual assault, or other sexual misconduct to the list of protected communications between military personnel and Members of Congress or an Inspector General, and requiring an investigation into any allegations of retaliatory personnel actions taken in response to such communications.
The NDAA includes substantial reforms designed to reduce the rate of military sexual assault by strengthening the reporting, investigations, and punishment involved in such cases. It strips military commanders of their authority to dismiss or reduce guilty findings from a court martial, establishes mandatory minimum sentences for those who are found guilty of sexual assault related offenses, and gives increased flexibility for both relocating victims of sexual assault to a different station or unit, and reassigning the alleged perpetrators.
North Dakota defense operations
The bill prohibits the Department of Defense from proposing, planning, or initiating another round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), continues funding for the new KC-46 tanker as well as the Long Range Strike Bomber, which is to replace the B-52 bomber currently stationed in Minot. Additionally, it prevents the premature retirement of Global Hawk Block 30 unmanned aircraft, in the same aircraft family as the Global Hawk Block 40s employed at Grand Forks Air Force Base.
Other provisions in the NDAA include rejecting the Obama Administration’s reduced pay increase for military personnel, a series of studies to be conducted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) with the purpose of reducing bureaucracy, and a rejection of the Obama Administration proposal to increase or establish new military healthcare (TRICARE) fees.