Office of Rep. Marilyn Strickland announcement.
On. Dec. 27, Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (WA-10), a Member of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement after President Biden signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022 into law. The Defense Budget includes 17 priorities and provisions Strickland secured to support service members and their families at Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM) and across our nation to address housing security, hunger, military spouse employment and more.
“Investments in military personnel and their families are an investment in our nation’s readiness. Every defense budget must demonstrate that we value service members and their families, like those at Joint Base Lewis McChord, who sacrifice so much to keep us safe and secure,” said Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland. “I am pleased to have secured several provisions in this year’s NDAA to address housing security, hunger, and help all service members and their families thrive. The wins in this agreement will serve as a strong foundation to build on as we continue to address housing in high-cost regions, food insecurity, racial equity, extremism and more. As this budget is signed into law, I’m proud to have worked with Chairman Smith and my colleagues in crafting a defense budget that supports our national security, military survivors of sexual trauma, a much-deserved pay increase for service members, and critical steps forward to address housing and hunger.”
“Thanks to the leadership of Congress and the Biden-Harris Administration, the NDAA now enters its seventh decade as the bipartisan legislative foundation for U.S. national security priorities and policy. I want to thank Congresswoman Strickland for her tireless work in our Committee to ensure a defense bill which addresses crucial needs of service members and their families, including military hunger, housing security and other priorities, in Washington and across our nation,” said Chairman Adam Smith (WA-9). “There’s a lot to be proud of in this bill. The FY22 NDAA supports a well-deserved pay raise for our service members, diversity and inclusion initiatives across our military, and the Department of Defense’s role in the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government response to the climate crisis. Ultimately, this year’s NDAA focuses on what makes our country strong: our economy, diversity, innovation, allies and partners, democratic values, and our troops.”
“We applaud the United States Congress for their hard work in championing a new study and taking this important step in supporting our military spouses,” said Kathy Roth-Douquet, Chief Executive Officer and Board President of Blue Star Families. “Our mission is not only to provide resources and support directly to military families, but to make sure their voices are heard and concrete actions are taken by decision makers. We thank Senators Warnock and Blackburn and Representative Strickland for answering that call.”
17 Strickland wins were included in the bicameral, bipartisan FY22 Defense Budget and signed into law:
- Helping Military Families Make Ends Meet: The bill contained compromise language related to the Military Hunger and Prevention Act which Congresswoman Strickland co-led. The compromise language authorizes the Secretary of Defense to pay a basic needs allowance to a qualified service member, and take into account those who are in high-cost areas. The DoD is required to conduct a study on food insecurity in the Armed Forces. This is a step towards tackling food insecurity among service members and military families, but this is only a first step.
- Supporting an Equitable Housing Allowance For Military Families: Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is a U.S. based allowance intended to provide uniformed Service members equitable housing compensation based on housing costs in local civilian housing markets. Strickland’s amendment would commission a study that would determine whether BAH is currently sufficient to support the average family size for service members disaggregated by Armed Force, rank, and military housing area.
- Supporting off-base housing solutions by examining the Rental Partnerships Program: Strickland’s amendment directs the Department of Defense to evaluate the Rental Partnership Program, which provides off-base housing information and resources, including participation and awareness of the program among service members and their families, and whether Congress should provide dedicated funding for the program.
- Shielding service members from unreimbursed moving expenses: Service members and their families move every 2-3 years and military families can spend thousands of dollars on moving expenses, some of which are not reimbursable. Strickland’s amendment directs the Secretary of Defense to submit a report on unreimbursed moving expenses incurred by members of the Armed Forces and their families by branch, rank, and military housing area, examine the root causes of the unreimbursed expenses, and establish a policy regarding this issue.
- Shortening Wait Times for On-Base Housing: Strickland’s amendment responds to the wait times military families are experiencing to get into housing at JBLM and on bases located in competitive housing markets across our nation, and directs the Department of Defense to provide a briefing on wait times for housing located on military installations in competitive housing markets, create a strategy to address housing demand, and determine the threshold for acceptable wait times.
- Connecting Military Families with Local Nonprofit Services: Within many communities near military installations there are nonprofit providers who can assist military families find affordable housing and provide other necessary wraparound services. However, families are not always aware of these services, or may have trouble accessing them. Strickland’s amendment directs the Secretary of Defense to submit a report on how and the extent to which commanders of military installations connect military families with local nonprofits and government entities that provide services to the military, including assistance with housing.
- Examining Temporary Lodging Reimbursements when relocating to competitive housing markets: Strickland’s amendment directs the Secretary of Defense to submit a report regarding the extent to which military families are aware of and access Joint Travel Regulation reimbursements when searching for new housing ahead of a Permanent Change of Station. It also examines whether giving service members and their spouses a maximum of 10 days reimbursement per diem is appropriate based on the time it takes to secure housing in highly competitive housing markets, such as the area around JBLM.
- Supporting Military Spouse Employment and Addressing Employment Discrimination: Strickland secured language requiring a report on employment discrimination against military spouses in the civilian job market and any policy solutions that could prevent such discrimination.
- Securing $4.8 million for Procurement Technical Assistance Programs (PTACs): This funding will help the Thurston County Economic Development Council and other programs across our nation as they support businesses pursuing contracts with the Department of Defense, other federal agencies, state and local governments and with government prime contractors.
- Supporting Local Employers: Congresswoman Strickland supported language that ensured that advanced degaussing system is incorporated into any Arleigh Burke class destroyer procured in fiscal year 2025 or any subsequent fiscal year pursuant to a covered contract.
- Supporting Tribal Nations: Congresswoman Strickland supported language that directs the Secretary of the Army to provide a briefing to the House Committee on Armed Services not later than February 1, 2022, on the status of negotiations, and, if agreed, a specific timeline for the exchange of land.
- Supporting National Guard Readiness: Congresswoman Strickland supported a whole host of issues including the total cost and any barriers to convert 1,000 traditional Guard positions to Active Guard positions every year for the next 10 years, for a total of 10,000 nationwide.
- Ensuring Timely Emergency Response on Military Installations: Provisions ensure that the Defense Information Systems Agency will provide a briefing to the House Committee on Armed Services by February 15, 2022 on an update of ongoing efforts and plans to modernize emergency alert systems on domestic installations; a discussion on the specific challenges to modernizing emergency alert systems on domestic installations; an assessment of the possible use of an outside project manager or consulting service to assist in Department efforts to modernize emergency alert systems on domestic installations; and a description of next steps for the implementation of this program.
- Supporting an Equitable Military Justice System: The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations, and Environment will submit a report to the House Committee on Armed Services by February 15, 2022, assessing the use of body cameras by military law enforcement.
- Supporting the Health of Service Members and Dependents: The Secretary of Defense will provide a briefing to the House Committee on Armed Services not later than March 1, 2022, on how the Department of Defense can optimize medications and reduce adverse drug events (ADEs) among service members and dependents.
- Modernizing Forms: The committee directs the Department of Defense Chief Information Officer to provide a briefing to the House Committee on Armed Services not later than February 15, 2022, on its current trajectory toward form modernization.
The FY2022 NDAA also:
- Secures a 2.7 percent pay increase for service members
- Expands parental leave, child care, and improves mental health care services
- Makes historic and significant changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice to combat sexual assault and related crimes in the military
- Invests in Historically Black Colleges and Universities to help build a more diverse Armed Services
- Makes key investments to address the threat of climate change and bolster energy resiliency.
A summary of the provisions in the FY22 NDAA is available here.
Strickland is a strong advocate for service members, military families, defense communities, and veterans in Congress. In December, Strickland and Rep. Young led a bipartisan letter urging the Appropriations Committee to raise the base pay for service members. Strickland co-led the introduction of the bipartisan Military Hunger Prevention Act to help low-income military families living with food insecurity make ends meet. In June, Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland co-led the entire bipartisan Washington House delegation in sending a letter urging the US Department of Veterans Affairs to take immediate action to resolve the systemic issues plaguing the veterans’ health care system. In May, Strickland made a statement to the Veterans Affairs Committee, to shine a light on the delays and communications breakdowns that veterans living in Washington’s 10th Congressional District are experiencing through the VHA’s Community Care program. In March, Strickland co-led a letter to President Biden urging a boost in funding for the Defense Community Infrastructure Program (DCIP), which would enable investments to enhance military family quality of life, resilience, or military value – including at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. In July, Strickland secured inclusion of $75 million in funding for DCIP in the FY22 Defense Appropriations bill. She also led her fellow Korean American Members of Congress in introducing legislation to award the Congressional Gold Medal to Colonel Young Oak Kim in recognition of his extraordinary heroism, leadership, and humanitarianism.
U.S. Representative Marilyn Strickland serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and is the only African-American woman who serves on the House Armed Services Committee. She is a member of the New Democrat Coalition, is one of the first Korean-American women elected to Congress and is the first African-American elected to represent the Pacific Northwest at the federal level.