NDAA amendments approved requiring studies on health of service members

These and other amendments were approved en bloc, by voice vote. Details here:

• Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), requires the DoD to compile a report describing written communications to the Department from Congress regarding military construction projects on the future years defense program.

• Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), amends the 2003 NDAA to increase the number of authorized Weapon of Mass Destruction Civil Support Teams within the Army National Guard from 55 to 57.

• Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), allows for authorized funds — including funds for the National Guard — to be used to conduct activities under the State Partnership Program. The amendment would specify and expand the role and missions that the National Guard can perform under the State Partnership Program (SPP).

• Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.), requires the DoD to conduct a study within a 180 days of enactment on the feasibility of providing market-rate or below-market rate (or both) telecommunications service (either phone, VoIP, video chat, or a combination thereof), either directly or through a contract, to uniformed military personnel transiting through a foreign airport while in transit to or returning from deployment overseas. The Secretary also shall investigate allegations of certain telecom companies specifically targeting uniformed military personnel in transit overseas (who have no other option to contact their families) with above-market-rate fees, and shall include the results of that investigation in the report.

• Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), requires the Office for Reintegration Programs to assist each State to coordinate services under the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program with service provide by Small Business Development Centers.

• Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa), directs the Secretary of Defense to submit to Congress a report on the effects of multiple deployments on the well-being of military personnel.

• Boswell, requires that the DoD and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) conduct a study on the incidence of breast cancer among members of the Armed Forces (including members of the National Guard and reserve) and veterans.

• Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), prohibits the DoD from awarding a contract to supply helicopters to the Afghan Security Forces, directly or indirectly, to any entity controlled, directed or influenced by a state that has supplied weapons to Syria or a state-sponsor of terrorism. The amendment would also require that any such contract to be competitively bid.

• Welch, requires the Army, Navy, and Air Force to report to Congress on the progress of entering into Energy Savings Performance Contracts for the purpose of undergoing energy efficiency retrofits on military installations.

• Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), requires the DoD establish the "National Language Service Corps" to provide a pool of personnel with foreign language skills who, as provided in regulations, agree to provide foreign language services to the DoD or another department or agency of the U.S. The amendment would deem that a period of active service in the Corps be considered service in the uniformed services, and would consider the Corps a part of the uniformed service.

• Holt (D-NJ), establishes a Federal Mortuary Affairs Advisory Commission, modeled on the 9/11 Commission, in response to the Dover Port Mortuary scandal. The amendment would also require that the DoD, VA, and Commission examine all matters that encompass the notification of family members on the death of a servicemember; all family support programs, policies, and procedures designed to assist affected families; and all aspects of mortuary affairs operations.

• Welch (D-VT), requires the DoD to report to Congress on the sustainability of any large scale infrastructure project built in Afghanistan. Included projects are those to to which the United States contributes not less than $1,000,000 from funds made available for overseas contingency operations.

• Flake (R-AZ), requires that, pursuant to the authorizations in Title XV, any funds appropriated to an Overseas Contingency Operations Transfer Fund be used only to fund items or activities requested by the President for overseas contingency operations.

• Hunter (R-CA), requires that, pursuant to the authorizations in Title XV, any funds appropriated to an Overseas Contingency Operations Transfer Fund be used only to fund items or activities requested by the President for overseas contingency operations.