CBS19: Kaine, Spanberger on signing of NDAA


President Joe Biden has signed the annual National Defense Authorization Act into law, including provisions put forth by members of Virginia’s congressional delegation.

Senator Tim Kaine, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, says the legislation included his Enhancing Military Base Resilience and Conserving Ecosystems through Stormwater Management, or EMBRACE, Act.

According to a release, this piece of the legislation aims to help protect military bases and installations from the effects of climate change.

“I applaud the president for signing the national defense bill, an annual bipartisan effort to provide our Armed Forces with the resources necessary to defend our nation,” said Kaine.

The NDAA also contains other provisions that Kaine had championed, including support for the defense community in Virginia, the shipbuilding industry and victims of sexual assault in the military.

For example, the bill includes more than $27 billion for shipbuilding to allow for the purchase of two Virginia-class submarines, three Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, one Constellation-class Frigate, and other vessels.

The release says it also contains more than $12.5 billion for ship maintenance and repair and public and private shipyards.

Regarding sexual assault cases, the legislation removes the chain of command from decisions related to the prosecution of several crimes, such as rape, murder, sexual assault, manslaughter and kidnapping.

Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger also has provisions included in the bill, such as recognition for Atomic Veterans who were participants in nuclear tests between 1945 and 1962, who were stationed near Hiroshima or Nagasaki before 1946 or who were held as prisoners of war near either of those cities.

These veterans were exposed to unsafe levels of radiation during their series, resulting in serious health complications, and as many of these veterans were sworn to secrecy, they have been unable to seek medical care or disability compensation.

“When I hear the stores of America’s Atomic Veterans, who were sworn to secrecy for decades and never fully recognized for their contributions, I hear the stories of patriots. I hear the stories of brave Americans who served in dangerous and secret missions. And I hear the stories of how the United States of America, through the tireless commitment of our service members, became the most powerful nation in the world,” said Spanberger. “Additionally, I am glad to have helped ensure our current service members receive a much-deserved pay raise as they continue to protect our nation at home and abroad.”

Earlier this year, Spanberger introduced a resolution that would make July 16 National Atomic Veterans Day.

A release says the NDAA includes a 2.7 percent pay increase for service members and a provision Spanberger co-sponsored requiring the military to provide Reserve and National Guard members incentive and special duty pays equal to their active-duty counterparts.

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