Defense bill moves to ground floor and includes Central Coast priorities

Representative Carbajal calls the bill “a major victory for our military, our communities and our country”

– This week, the House Armed Services Committee completed its National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) markup for fiscal 2022. The bill advanced out of committee on a bipartisan basis, by a vote of 57-2. The sweeping measure includes several of Representative Carbajal’s proposals to meet central coast priorities and meet national security needs. The complete markup of the committee can be seen here.

“Each year, members of the House Armed Services Committee come together to pass a bipartisan bill to strengthen our national security and keep Americans safe. I believe this bill reflects the needs and values ​​of Central Coast families and I am proud that several measures I fought for have been included in the bill, ”said Representative Carbajal. “This must-see bill includes a pay rise for our military, helps us tackle the climate crisis, prevents extremists from serving in the military, and extends the FireGuard rescue program which uses Department of Defense resources to help us fight forest fires. This bill is a major victory for our military, our communities and our country. “

Forest fires and climate change

  • FireGuard Extension: Carbajal introduced and passed a bipartisan amendment that authorizes the FireGuard program for five years. The FireGuard program uses Department of Defense resources to help local jurisdictions detect and monitor forest fires. Previously, the program had to be reauthorized annually, so this provision would provide long-term certainty to emergency responders who depend on this program.
  • Wind power: Carbajal has spearheaded several bipartisan amendments that take steps to make our military assets more compatible with burgeoning wind power opportunities. Specifically, the changes require the Department of Defense to make significant progress in making surveillance radar sites, military training routes and airspace more compatible with wind power technology.

Members and Military Families

  • Basic Needs Allowance: Carbajal helped adopt a measure that allows the Secretary of Defense to provide a basic needs allowance to qualified military personnel, based on the Military Hunger Prevention Act (HR 2339 ) which Representative Carbajal co-sponsored.
  • Salary Increase: The bill includes a well-deserved 2.7% salary increase for the U.S. military.
  • Fight against racism: Carbajal led a bipartisan amendment to prevent those convicted of a hate crime from receiving a waiver to enlist in the military. Just as it is appropriate that those convicted of certain sexual offenses be banned from service, Congress should also prohibit on-duty secretaries from issuing waivers for those convicted of a hate crime from enlisting.
  • Resolving pay disparities: Carbajal supported an amendment, which is supported by the Association of Federal Government Employees (AFGE), to align the locality pay maps for the general schedule and the federal pay system to ensure that federal employees working the same job in the same location receive the same pay. Currently, hourly and salaried federal workers in the same location can be treated as if they worked in different locations when calculating local pay rates, resulting in a substantial wage gap.
  • Help Purple Heart Families Become Citizens: Carbajal co-sponsored an amendment to include Sergeant First Class Javier J. Gutierrez’s Naturalization Fee Relief Act Javier J. Gutierrez Purple Heart Survivor Naturalization in the bill. The amendment waives certain fees for immediate relatives of Purple Heart beneficiaries who are pursuing naturalization.

Advancing Vandenberg’s Space Capabilities:

  • Carbajal supported a $ 5 million increase in the Spacelift Range System, which would improve the infrastructure of ranges, including those at the Vandenberg Space Force Base.
  • Carbajal secured a disposition requiring the chief of space operations to present a plan to address the long-term challenges of long-term physical infrastructure in the launch zones of the US Space Force.
  • Carbajal co-sponsored an amendment that would prevent construction of the SPACECOM headquarters in Alabama until the GAO and DODIG site selection reviews are completed.

Support for local military-university partnerships

  • Aviation and Aerospace Technology: Carbajal helped raise $ 10 million for aerial platform technology and aerospace vehicle technology. These funds will advance research conducted at Cal Poly in partnership with the Air Force Research Lab.
  • Biotech Innovation: Carbajal helped secure $ 4 million for advancements in biotechnology at Affiliated University Research Centers (UARC). These funds would advance research at the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies, a military-sponsored UARC led by UC Santa Barbara.

Other national priorities included in FY22 NDAA

  • Takes action to close Guantanamo Bay by removing an arbitrary ban on the transfer of detainees.
  • Fund the programs needed to deal with threats posed by Russia and China.
  • Support for the SIV Afghanistan program.
  • Increases funding for continued use of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. During fiscal years 2020 and 2021, 69 companies on the central coast received SBIR contracts.
  • Institutes reforms of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and military investigative organizations to address the prevalence of sexual assault in military branches.

Additional details and summary of all provisions included in NDAA FY22 can be found here.

Representative Salud Carbajal represents the 24th Congressional District of California, encompassing Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and part of Ventura County. He sits on the House Armed Services Committee, Agriculture Committee, and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he chairs the Coast Guard and Marine Transportation Subcommittee.

About the Author: Staff News

Paso Robles Daily News press staff wrote or edited this story based on local contributors and press releases. News staff can be reached at [email protected]

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