December 13, 2013


San Antonio, TX–Congressman Joaquin Castro [TX-20] released the following statement in support of the reauthorization of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014, which provides necessary authorities and important funding provisions for our nation’s military. Congressman Castro originally voted in favor of passage of the House version of NDAA bill on June 14, 2013. 
“As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I worked closely with my colleagues to ensure San Antonio—Military City USA—is well represented in the re-authorization of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). 
The first hearing I ever went to in Congress hit very close to home. The hearing was a review of sexual misconduct at Lackland Air Force Base, which I represent. As we learn of the sexual assault incidents in the military in areas as far ranging as the Pentagon, it is critical to stress that we must we must implement reforms to prevent future transgression and never let this happen again. This legislation makes a substantial step toward eliminating sexual assault in our armed services. As Chairman McKeon pointed out, I worked with my colleagues on the armed services committee to include provisions to confront this issue head on. the NDAA bill now requires an independent progress report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the implementation of measures to prevent sexual assault incidents at military basic training facilities. I will continue to work with my colleagues and the Department of Defense to ensure that the honorable work our men and women in uniform are doing to protect our nation is not be overshadowed by these cowardly acts of assault.
Another issue encompassed in the NDAA process is the possibility of Base Realignment and Closures, or BRAC rounds. San Antonio was once home to 5 military bases, now it is only home to 3 bases. That sort of cutting back often has a deep and negative economic impact on the communities where it happens.  On this issue, I had the chance to follow in the footsteps of a fellow Texan, former Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. In her absence, I was able to pick up where she left off and direct the Department of Defense to ensure with the same rigor as domestic BRAC rounds that our military assets abroad were still needed. Importantly, this bill does not authorize another round of BRAC for the coming year. This bill helps ensure troop pay and benefits are provided for;  and does not raise Tricare fees for military families.
Finally, as with every community, education is key for children with parents in the military. This bill will provide funding for program supports STEM education for at risk fifth graders in military installations. 
I will continue to work to ensure that what I do in Congress continues to reflect the needs of San Antonians and supports our military families and communities in San Antonio, Texas, and across the nation.”
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) noted the important contributions Congressman Joaquin Castro (D-TX) made on the NDAA process to combat sexual assault in the military. This is a recognition by the Chairman reserved for leaders on key issues. REPORT LINK