July 02, 2020

House Passes FY 2021 NDAA with Key Gallego Provisions

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House Armed Services Committee unanimously advanced the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021, including several key provisions introduced by Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ).

"Once again, the Armed Services Committee came together to pass the National Defense Authorization Act in strong bipartisan fashion. The language in this year's bill will help preserve our national security, improve our military readiness, modernize our armed forces, and provide the resources, equipment, and training our military needs to complete their missions," Rep. Gallego said. "I was pleased to see several of my provisions pass in overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion or via unanimous votes – support for allies like Germany, the Baltic States, and NATO writ large; a common sense reform to modernize our military's restrictions on minor marijuana use; and a small change at the Federal level to make a big change for a town in Arizona that needed the help. I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass these provisions into law."

Rep. Gallego is available for interviews following passage of the FY 2021 NDAA.

Rep. Gallego's Provisions in the FY 2021 NDAA:

Protect our national security by limiting President Trump's authority to reduce troop levels in Germany and Europe. Rep. Gallego's language would protect U.S. troop levels and infrastructure in Germany and Europe as part of a larger allied support effort. Rep. Gallego introduced the amendment following news that President Trump intended to cut the number of U.S. troops stationed in Germany by 9,500 and in the wake of reports that the President allowed Russian bounties on the heads of U.S. troops to go unpunished.

Require that U.S. active duty forces in the Republic of Korea not fall below 28,500 troops without a certification by the Secretary of Defense that any drop below that number is necessary to the national defense and will not significantly undermine allied security in the region. The language, authored by Rep. Ruben Gallego, requires a 180 day waiting period after such certification before troop reduction in the region may occur, an increase from a 90 day waiting period in previous years.

Halt All A-10 Warthog Divestment and include full protection of the A-10 Warthog. Rep. Gallego's language is stronger than the counterpart Senate language, which fails to prevent the Air Force from preparing A-10s for retirement or from putting them into long term storage.

Confirm U.S. Support of Baltic Allies Against Russian Threats. Rep. Gallego's language expresses support for coordinated action to ensure the security of our Baltic allies – and our own national security interests – against Russian threats.

Strengthen cooperation and coordination between the United States and Taiwan. Rep. Gallego introduced two amendments to protect our national security and businesses and to improve responses to future pandemics. His first Taiwan-related amendment requires the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Health and Human Services to explore development of a U.S.-Taiwan medical security partnership on issues related to pandemic preparedness and control. His second amendment requires the Secretary of Defense to explore the feasibility of establishing a U.S.-Taiwan working group to coordinate on supply chain security.

Encourage military services to implement policies allowing individuals to reenlist even if they admit to having used marijuana. Rep. Gallego's amendment would allow an individual to rejoin the military if that person truthfully attests to cannabis use while he or she was separated from the military by allowing the Pentagon to grant waivers on a case-by-case basis. This modernization of our reenlistment policies is long overdue.

Restore funding for Stars and Stripes. Rep. Gallego's change to the bill follows an attempt by the Pentagon earlier this year to strip Stars and Stripes of all of its federal funding as part of its fiscal year 2021 budget request. His provision in the NDAA restores full funding and requires the Department of Defense to conduct a study on the business case for Stars and Stripes' continued operation.

Permit transfer of land at Camp Navajo, Arizona from the U.S. Army to the State of Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs. The narrowly tailored land transfer permitted by Rep. Gallego's amendment would allow for select commercial activities to take place on parts of Camp Navajo while still allowing the Department of Defense to safely carry out its missions.

Rep. Gallego is a Marine Corps combat veteran who served in Iraq. He serves on the House Armed Services Committee.