Rooney Amendment Included in NDAA
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Thomas J. Rooney (R-FL), a co-chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, successfully included a provision in the final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) directing the Department of Defense to include blast exposure history in servicemembers’ military records. The FY19 NDAA, which authorizes funding for our Armed Services and provides for our nation’s common defense, passed in the House of Representatives today by a vote of 351-66.
Rooney’s provision will direct the Secretary of Defense to include incidents of blast exposure as part of soldiers’ service records to ensure that if medical issues arise later, soldiers receive care for any service-connected injuries. Department of Defense (DoD) studies have found higher rates of concussion and post-concussion-associated symptoms among service members with a history of prolonged exposure to low-level blasts from breaching and shoulder-fired weapons.
“Our service members are exposed to many hazards in the line of duty. It’s not enough for us to ensure that they have the tools and equipment they need to safely accomplish their missions—we must do more to understand and document these hazards so that we may provide them the care they need,” Rooney said. “I am glad this amendment was included in this bill which makes key investments in our military and ensures our forces have maintain the capabilities to counter growing threats from adversaries around the world. Most importantly, this bill increases our troops’ salaries and assures them that we fully support their sacrifices and commitment to defending our great nation.”
The NDAA includes a 2.6 percent pay increase for troops – the largest in nine years – and increases the size of certain military branches. The legislation will increase the size of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and associated reserve components to rebuild the military and support readiness recovery.
The NDAA also makes critical investments in missile defense and nuclear deterrents, the cornerstones of national security.
The NDAA will also majorly reform Pentagon bureaucracy and places emphasis on policy and programs to advance innovative technologies.