Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today released the following statement on the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021. The annual defense policy bill authorizes critical resources for national defense, military readiness, support for the nation’s service members, green lights procurement of state of the art weaponry and establishes the proper size of each component of the military.
“National defense is the number one responsibility of the federal government, and ensuring our military receives appropriate resources is critical to the safety of our country. I’m glad several provisions I supported were ultimately included in the final bill. I’ll continue to conduct robust oversight to help cut wasteful military spending while also ensuring our men and women in uniform have everything that they need to perform their mission,” Grassley said.
This legislation included a bipartisan proposal led by Grassley and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) to require the military to establish a “Safe to Report” policy. According to a Department of Defense (DoD) report, in fiscal year 2018, only 30 percent of sexual assaults in the military were reported. Studies show more survivors are empowered to come forward without the threat of retaliation. The Safe to Report Act empowers survivors of sexual violence to report these incidents without fear of collateral misconduct charges for minor offenses.
Grassley also cosponsored an amendment and led a bipartisan letter to the leadership of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees urging the protection of the work of the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) in the FY 2021 NDAA. The Senate-passed version of the legislation included language that would have limited the oversight authority of SIGAR to just 6 accounts. However, it was removed in the final bill.
Grassley, along with Sens. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) sent a letter to Government Accountability Office (GAO) in July 2018 requesting the agency conduct an independent review of the reasons behind the DoD’s failure to acquire modern financial information technology systems capable of generating reliable data and supporting credible financial statements. The recently released report demonstrated that outdated financial management systems are a significant barrier to getting a clean audit opinion. Grassley led his colleagues in a letter to the leadership of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees urging them to include a requirement for the DoD to report on its spending on financial management systems, as well as a requirement for the DoD to establish incentives for each department to pass an audit. These provisions were ultimately included in the final FY 2021 NDAA.
Grassley also joined a bipartisan effort to modernize the real-estate management of the Army’s sprawling properties. The goal of the pilot program is to ensure that existing resources are being utilized well.
Grassley has been a watchdog against waste, fraud and abuse at the DoD for nearly four decades. Grassley’s extensive oversight work throughout his career has included a dogged pursuit for answers from the Pentagon over decades of wasteful spending and its inability to produce a clean financial audit.