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Sen. Cruz: Final 2016 NDAA Reaffirms Our Commitment to Our Men and Women in Uniform

Major reforms in bill include several Cruz amendments to strengthen U.S. military and readiness

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) issued the following statement regarding today’s final vote on the conference report of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

“The Fiscal Year 2016 NDAA provides the minimum necessary funding authorities for the Department of Defense,” said Sen. Cruz. “While I would like to see additional funding dedicated to our military, this bill points us in the right direction and begins to address the damaging deficiencies that were created by the irresponsible priorities of this Administration.

“This bill provides much-needed financial support to the men and women in our Armed Forces by reforming and expanding their compensation plans. It also provides funding for training and lethal assistance to counter Russian aggression in Europe as well as additional funding for our Iraqi and Kurdish allies to ensure they can continue to fight ISIS. And the NDAA improves our ability to counter Iran’s radical Islamic theocracy by including information about Iran’s cyber capabilities in future versions of the Annual Report on the Military Power of Iran. Despite these laudable objectives, I could not vote for this bill because I made a promise when I was elected to office that I would not vote for any NDAA that continued to allow the President to violate the constitutional rights of American citizens by indefinitely detaining them without due process.”

The following amendments were authored by Senator Cruz and accepted:

●Taiwan Military Capabilities and Training. Expresses Congress’ belief that the Unites States should support the integration of Taiwan into training exercise opportunities and should continue to make defense articles and services available to Taiwan.

●Iranian Cyber Capabilities. Expands the existing Annual Report on the Military Power of Iran to include an assessment on Iran’s rapidly developing offensive and defensive cyber warfare capabilities so that the United States fully understands the threat of the Iranian regime and how to effectively counter it.

●Space-Based Missile Defense. Concept development of a space-based ballistic missile intercept capability that will layer with existing missile defense components, improving engagement timelines and intercept opportunities in order to better protect the United States and our allies.

●National Guard Full Time Operational Status. Language directing the National Guard to consider the actual manning level of each state when it allocates Full Time Operational support duty personnel in order to account for those states that recruit in excess of baseline authorizations at the request of the National Guard Bureau.

Sen. Cruz also cosponsored the following amendments that were adopted by the conference committee:

 ●Report on Potential Support for Vetted Syrian Opposition, cosponsored with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah). Directs the Department of Defense (DoD) to provide a detailed report on the assistance and support that would be required to ensure the vetted and trained Syrian opposition elements are able to continue operations after returning to their country. Sen. Cruz is deeply concerned that this program has failed and believes any future discussions of its validity must start with an honest assessment of its current limitations.

●Streamline Commercial Space Launch, cosponsored with Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) Streamlines the process of commercial space launch and reentry operations by eliminating duplicative requirements among the Department of Transportation, DoD, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and other executive agencies.

●U.S. / Israel Anti-Tunnel Cooperation, cosponsored with Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). Authorizes the Secretary of Defense to jointly conduct research, development, test and evaluation with Israel in order to develop tunnel detection and countermeasures that improve both nations’ defensive capabilities.

●Guantanamo Bay Detainee Transfer Prohibition, cosponsored with Sens. Ayotte, James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.). Prevents terrorists in Guantanamo Bay from being transferred to Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and Syria.

●Special Victims Counsel Program Reforms, cosponsored with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). These reforms ensure that the Special Victims Counsel programs is more effective and able to provide better representation to victims of sexual assault.