December 14, 2023

Warren Announces Legislative Priorities Included in 2024 National Defense Authorization Act

The defense bill includes several provisions Senator Warren fought for, including policies to close the revolving door between public and private employees, combat wasteful Pentagon spending, and strengthen civilian harm prevention efforts, among others.

Bill Text (PDF)

Washington, D.C. —  Today, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Chair of the Subcommittee on Personnel, announced key priorities secured in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24).

"After months of negotiations, oversight and legislation, I secured numerous improvements in the defense policy bill to better care for servicemembers, protect civilians during war, and crack down on price-gouging by defense contractors,” said Senator Warren. “As a nation, we still spend far too much on defense, enriching defense contractors at the expense of taxpayers. And we still have much more work to do to close the revolving door and fix military housing. I am going to continue conducting oversight and press for changes to protect students in JROTC programs from sexual misconduct."

The following provisions, which Senator Warren pushed for, are included in the FY 2024 NDAA: 

  • Closing the revolving door: The bill incorporates several reforms included in Senator Warren’s Retired Officers Conflicts of Interest Act, moving approval of officers working for foreign governments to a political appointee confirmed by the Senate who is an Assistant Secretary or higher and requiring them to determine that employment does not run contrary to the national interests of the United States. The bill also requires additional information about compensation and the former position held by that officer in a public annual report.
  • Combating wasteful and excessive Pentagon spending and contractor profiteering: The bill requires the services to provide more detailed information on its wish list requests, and requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review Department of Defense (DoD) wish lists provided in the past 10 years, including processes for developing the lists and whether appropriating funds for those lists impacts DoD’s long-term budget plan, requirements planning, and major weapons programs. It also includes an amendment to protect the DoD’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation Office, which creates independent cost assessments of major defense acquisition programs and technology development initiatives. Lastly, the bill keeps progress payments at pre-pandemic levels as directed by DoD and creates a pilot program that allows DoD to incentivize contractor performance through additional accelerated payments. 
  • Strengthening civilian harm prevention efforts: The act requires DoD to submit information on any denied or refused ex gratia payments or requests to make amends for civilian harm and to make those reports public. It also requires the Secretary of Defense to provide a briefing on its implementation of GAO recommendations to track and investigate misuse of U.S.-provided equipment. 
  • Keeping students in the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) program safe: The bill provisions from Senator Warren’s JROTC Safety Act, including enhancing JROTC program inspections and certification, requiring standardized memorandums of agreement (MOA) that includes notifying students the program is purely voluntary, notifying students of their rights under Title IX, and providing for the placing of units on probation or disestablishment for violating the MOA. It also requires annual reporting requirements pertaining to allegations of instructor misconduct. 
  • Housing worthy of military families: The bill limits payments in future agreements for companies if they have not fully implemented the tenant bill of rights, requires companies to disclose to tenants whether they are in compliance with the Tenant Bill Of Rights, and requires the DoD Inspector General to investigate allegations of retaliation. It also creates a working group of DoD officials and military families to ensure ongoing oversight of deficiencies in privatized military housing. The act also requires landlords presenting a nondisclosure agreement to notify tenants of their right to seek legal counsel with respect to the terms and implications of signing the agreement within 10 days and prohibits requiring them to sign an agreement before that period expires. 
  • Strengthening the industrial base: The bill requires DoD to be simultaneously notified and receive information when companies provide information to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on proposed mergers and acquisitions and requires DoD to assess the impacts of mergers and acquisitions of medium and smaller suppliers on the health of the industrial base. It also extends the employee-owned business pilot program for an additional three years. 
  • Taking care of service members: Senator Markey and Senator Warren’s Department of Defense Overdose Act is included in the bill, which requires DoD to track and publish overdose data for service members and their families while expanding access to treatment and prevention resources. The bill also requires DoD to provide a briefing on DoD’s progress in implementing the Suicide Prevention and Response Independent Review Committee’s (SPRIRC) recommendation to develop a substance misuse policy, and requires the GAO to conduct a study and brief on information regarding gambling addiction in the military.
  • Lowering costs for treatments developed with DoD funds: The bill requires a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) study on the current DoD process for granting an exclusive or partially exclusive license on a federally-owned invention associated with a DoD-developed medical device, drug, or biomedical invention. 
  • Improving understanding of sexual assault at U.S. military academies: The act mandates a FFRDC study on sexual assault, sexual misconduct, and sexual harassment at U.S. military academies to better understand the challenges to combating sexual misconduct in these environments.

The following investments for Massachusetts, which Senator Warren pushed for, are included in the FY 2024 NDAA: 

  • Child Development Center funding for Hanscom: The bill authorizes $37 million for construction requested in DoD’s budget.
  • Cape Cod Bridges: The bill requires a briefing from the Secretary of the Army on the impact to the base if the two Cape Cod bridges failed, contingency plans to respond to a collapse, and how a collapse would impact the resilience of the base.
  • Lincoln Lab: The bill authorizes $70 million for construction requested in DoD’s budget.
  • Natick: The bill extends Natick’s authority to use cash payments for land abeyance through 2027 and authorizes $18.5 million for a barracks addition requested in DoD’s budget. It also requires the Army to fund an enduring Organizational Clothing and Individual Equipment (OCIE) program for Arctic, sub-Arctic, and jungle environments.
  • Wearable neural biosensors: The bill encourages the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering to accelerate funding for developing dual-purpose wearable neural biosensor technologies via the National Network for Microelectronics Research and Development.
  • Critical infrastructure: The bill requires the Secretary of Defense to develop a plan to implement a standardized system to measure and report on non-privatized critical infrastructure systems located on military installations. 
  • Novel printed armament components: The bill includes language to encourage the Secretary of the Army to continue to develop advanced hybrid technologies for munition systems.