U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a combat veteran and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, proudly supported the final passage of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This year’s bipartisan defense bill includes a number of Ernst’s priorities, including her work to provide additional support for our troops and their families, address military sexual assault, and harness Iowa’s critical contributions to our nation’s defense.
“As a former company commander, I understand just how important it is for our servicemembers to be equipped for the battlefield,” said Senator Ernst, the first female combat veteran elected to the United States Senate. “With my efforts, this bipartisan package helps protect our troops, promote new technologies, preserve tax dollars and ensure Iowa’s role in helping maintain our national defense.
“We’re also taking the much-needed step to secure our national security supply chain from adversaries like China, and provide our military families with resources they need. What we do here, in this defense bill, matters to our warfighters who are on the front lines defending our nation and way of life.”
Below are a few of Ernst’s provisions that were included in the FY21 NDAA that will:
- Provide hazard pay for National Guard troops on the front lines to fight COVID-19
- Develop and field proper-fitting body armor for female soldiers and safer, more survivable military combat vehicles
- Stop sexual assault in the military before it happens and lower the barriers for reporting by victims
- Make military courts handling sexual assault efficient and professional
- Fund proven and effective medical treatments for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Improve survivability and safety for military combat vehicles
- Expand access to quality affordable child care by allowing non-profit child care providers in Iowa and across the nation to use Small Business Administration (SBA) programs.
- Supports groundbreaking COVID-19 vaccine research through Iowa State University
- Invest in the Metals Affordability Initiative at Iowa State University to improve America’s supply chain, help reduce costs of hypersonic weapons, additive manufacturing, and engine repairs
- Increase manufacturing of ammunition and artillery at the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant, which employs nearly 1,000 Iowans
- Improve the U.S. supply chain for rare earth metals and battery components so we don’t rely on China
- Deploy counter-drone weapons to stop unmanned attacks on our Special Forces troops
- Field Artificial Intelligence technology and capability for Special Operations Forces
- Advances technology for heads-up displays and wearable tech for our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines
- Requires grant recipients of the Pentagon getting millions of taxpayer dollars to include a price tag disclosing the cost to taxpayers for their military research
- Investigates expensive cost overruns in weapon systems and forces the Pentagon to disclose to Congress their top 10 most expensive weapons to fix and maintain
- Determines if billions of dollars in bonuses paid to defense contractors, for projects that are over budget or behind schedule, are warranted