Haaland Secures Wins for New Mexico, Servicemembers’ Health, and Climate Resilience During NDAA Mark-Up
Washington, D.C. – After a late-night unanimous bipartisan vote Wednesday, Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM-01) reported major wins for New Mexico in the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). During the U.S. House Armed Services Committee markup, Haaland secured provisions that support jobs in New Mexico, fight for equality in the military, protect the health of military service members and their families, and address the greatest national security threat the country faces today: Climate change.
"The NDAA is an opportunity to lay the groundwork for a future where New Mexico is at the forefront of innovation, everyone who seeks a long military career has access to success, and our military is ready for the challenges climate change presents. I’m proud that I successfully included provisions in this year’s NDAA that will ensure military service members and their families will be better protected, equality and climate change will be prioritized and jobs in New Mexico will be supported,” said Congresswoman Deb Haaland.
During the House Armed Services markup, Haaland rallied to include her “Rent the Camo” pilot program in the NDAA. Haaland’s mom, a Navy veteran, was forced to leave the service when she became pregnant. Upon hearing about the struggles women in the military face accessing maternity ware and items, she worked on a bill to create a “Rent the Camo” program. The program, fashioned after Rent the Runway, would issue maternity uniforms and maternity uniform related items to pregnant military members at no cost to the Servicemember while ensuring that uniforms are free of toxic chemicals that may harm the baby or mother.
In addition, Haaland worked to provide a fairer balance of student loan repayment benefits offered to National Guard and Reserve soldiers when compared with their active duty counterparts. Her bill, the Selected Reserve Education Loan Repayment Program (LRP) Enhancement Act ensures service members can realize 100% of qualified education benefits within their six-year contract while providing a strong recruitment tool for the National Guard. The bill was included in the NDAA that passed committee the House Armed Services Committee last night.
Adding to the military family housing protections she included in the NDAA last year, Haaland included $135 million for the oversight, maintenance, and management of privatized and government-owned military family housing in the 2021 NDAA. The extra funding comes after Haaland heard about unsafe housing conditions from Kirtland Air Force Base (KAFB) families last year and demanded answers during a House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness hearing that covered the mismanagement of housing programs for military families. She later introduced a comprehensive bill along-side U.S. Senator Warren (D-Mass.) to address unsafe military housing.
Haaland received confirmation that capabilities at Kirtland Air Force Base would be on the shortlist for Space Force research and development during a House Armed Service Committee hearing in March of 2020. To create new jobs and build on the missions at Kirtland Air Force Base, the Air Force Research Lab and Sandia National Labs in Albuquerque, Haaland included several provisions that will bolster space capabilities in New Mexico’s First Congressional District. The new funding and projects have the potential to make New Mexico the home of jobs in cutting edge space research and development.
Haaland has worked to make sure that the United States Military is prepared for climate change threats and building climate resilience. Last year, Haaland hosted the Chair of the House Armed Services Committee Adam Smith and visited a pilot solar grid solar model being used as an innovative neighborhood energy system where every building generates its own electricity, greatly increasing resilience. During this year’s NDAA, Haaland worked to bolster that program and make it a model for the country.
A breakdown of Haaland’s priorities included in the 2021 NDAA is below:
Supporting Jobs & Missions At New Mexico’s Military Installations & National Labs
- $5 million to expand the Combined Research and Development Agreement solar-pv microgrid pilot project at Kirtland Air Force Base (KAFB)
- $50 million for Defense Community Infrastructure Program at KAFB that helps improve schools, daycares, roads, and energy upgrades and other infrastructure projects in the surrounding Albuquerque communities
- $46.6 million for a military construction project to update an administrative building at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico
- Unit Equipped Army to utilize the 150th Special Operations Wing to establish a mission capability to meet aircrew training requirements on critical platforms
- $5 million for Holloman High Speed Test Track
- $4.8 million for Sandia National Labs Facility Upgrade
- $120 million for LANL Facility Upgrade
Creating New Jobs by Making New Mexico the Home of Future Space Industry
- $20 million for hybrid space architecture to meet the quickly changing needs of the US Space Force
- $9 million to increase funding for the Small Satellite Mission Operations Center to sustain space innovation to drive developing new technologies, doctrine and operational talent for our nation's critical space assets
Fighting for Equality & Opportunity in the Military
- Rent the Camo: Access to Maternity Wear Act creates a “Rent the Camo” pilot program, fashioned after Rent the Runway, that issues maternity uniforms and maternity uniform related items to pregnant military members at no cost to the Servicemember while ensuring that uniforms are free of toxic chemicals that may harm the baby or mother
- The Selected Reserve Education Loan Repayment Program (LRP) Enhancement Act will adjust the LRP Program so that Selected Reserve component service members can realize 100% of qualified education benefits within their six-year contract while providing a strong recruitment tool for the National Guard
- Paid Parental Leave benefit updates to include FAA, VA, and other civilian employees
- Request to enhance existing community family planning outreach and consultation provisions in Title X utilizing Kirtland AFB Honorary Commanders Program as a best practice model
- $3 million to preserve the memorial to include managing the archive of artifacts, historic memorabilia and documents related to servicewomen, maintaining the women veterans’ oral history program and conducting other education programs related to women in military service
- Pilot program to help address sexual assault at academies
- Establishment of service pilot under the Department’s Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Defense Education Program for students at Minority Institutions to diversify and strengthen the national security workforce
Promoting the Health of Military Service Members & Families
- $135 million for the oversight, maintenance, and management of privatized and government-owned military family housing
- Audit of the medical conditions and association of adverse exposures due to unsafe or unhealthy housing units
- PFAS health screening and blood tests for Servicemembers during their annual Physical Health Assessments to ensure service members are screened for suspected or known exposure to PFAS while the member was based or stationed at the military installation with PFAS contamination
- $1.5 billion for environmental remediation and clean-up, of which $190 million will go to PFAS response
- Study to ensure military families have consistent access to appropriate and quality education resources for children with special needs
Addressing Climate Change Threats & Improving Military Resilience
- Pilot program for expansion of microgrids reducing costs and emissions
- Direct Energy Research Microgrids for Energy Assurance and Mission readiness Report on the impact of diesel generation with regard to the unit cost, fuel cost, load supplied per unit, start-up reliability, supply chain costs and reliability and dependence on foreign suppliers
- $20.5 million to expand test program for solar powered unmanned aerial system
- Report on water resiliency at military installations, to include the degree to which the Department has assessed the resiliency, opportunities for public-private partnerships, and barriers to addressing water and sewage resiliency gaps
- Report to protect New Mexico’s solar development by identifying vulnerabilities that result in security gaps, predatory pricing and unfair trade practices for other countries
- Reports on fuel consumption, distribution, etc., to reduce consumption
- Strengthen use of electric and hybrid vehicles for official business on military installations
- Energy Metering requirement to ensure resilient power sources