WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14), Chair of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel, announced the provisions included in the Subcommittee’s mark for the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Notably, the House Military Personnel mark includes Rep. Speier’s bipartisan Servicemember Parental Leave Equity Act, which would expand primary and secondary caregiver parental leave to 12 weeks, up from as low as 2 weeks for secondary caregivers in the Navy and Marine Corps.
“For too long, the Department of Defense has neglected, if not outright ignored, the need to provide better parental leave options for parents and caregivers, address rampant rates of domestic violence while also ensuring survivors get the care and assistance they need, and ensure low-income servicemembers and their families get the support they deserve. We’re also ensuring that the Department no longer keeps sexual assault survivors in the dark when it comes to administrative action taken against their perpetrators and that our military health care system is addressing current crises such as suicides, Traumatic Brain Injuries, and the need for better post-partum care,” Chair Speier said. “I’m extremely proud to see these provisions reflect the duty, values, and commitment of a modern military, and I know that they will make real, lasting differences in the lives of our servicemembers and their families, who serve as well.”
Specifically included in this year’s Military Personnel mark are measures raising military basic pay by 2.7% and providing a basic needs allowance for low-income servicemembers; expanding parental leave for primary and secondary caregivers, including foster parents, and standardizing postpartum deferments from physically demanding training exercises, overnight travel, and physical fitness tests; extending the in-home child care fee-assistance pilot program; and reforming the military’s programs to prevent and respond to intimate-partner violence, including authorizing certain benefits to victims and requiring the Secretary of Defense to make violations of civilian protective orders punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
This year’s Military Personnel mark also ensures that survivors of sexual assault are notified of the outcomes of any administrative action taken against their perpetrator, improves the separation process in all branches of the military by requiring qualified legal personnel at all separation boards, and requires that the Secretary of Defense provide to victims a list of approved civilian victim service organizations from which a victim may seek additional legal assistance, legal representation, or other related services.
Finally, the bill mandates a review of the Military Health System’s blast injury policy to include Traumatic Brain Injury; requires a pilot program in support of post-natal care; and, directs the Department of Defense to standardize definitions and tracking of suicide attempts and suicidal ideation across all of the military services.
You can read the full subcommittee mark here.