May 22, 2014


Washington, D.C –Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, applauds the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2015 (H.R. 4435), which provides necessary authorities and $513.4 billion in funding provisions for our nation’s military. The NDAA was adopted by the House of Representatives with overwhelming support, 325-98. 

“I’m particularly proud that this bill recognizes the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform by calling for a 1.8 percent pay increase for military personnel, while also preserving TRICARE, housing allowances, and commissary benefits.

This bill also prohibits another BRAC and calls on the Government Accountability Office to evaluate force structure options for the Army and National guard before a reduction of troops is implemented.  I look forward to working with the House Armed Services Committee in examining appropriate cost savings while ensuring that we maintain the right mix of active duty force and national guard to maintain our readiness.

In this year’s defense bill, I supported an amendment to make sexual assault prosecutions independent of the military chain of command.  Unfortunately, this measure was not adopted. I will continue to work with the Committee to address sexual assault in the military. The Defense bill does, however, require the military secretaries to include an assessment of how sexual assault cases are handled as part of commanding officers' performance evaluations. It also directs the Pentagon's Inspector General to review all members of the armed forces who were discharged after making reports of sexual assault since Jan. 1, 2002, to determine whether any discharges were in retaliation for reporting sexual assault.

Although my amendment to allow students with Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status to become eligible to apply to the U.S Military Academies was not allowed to be considered before the House, I will continue to work to ensure that the Senate considers this measure in their version of the NDAA.

Finally, as strengthening educational opportunities is always one of my top priorities, I worked to include $15 million for STEM education for Pre-K-12 students in school districts with high concentrations of military dependent families, like San Antonio.

Although this Defense bill does not include every provision I supported, I’m pleased to have worked closely with the House Armed Services Committee to include measures important to San Antonio—Military City USA—and military families across the USA. I look forward to continuing to work to best represent San Antonians with my work in Congress .”