President Trump Signs National Defense Authorization Act
The bill, formally named the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act, but referred to by President Trump as the National Defense Authorization Act will introduce thousands of new recruits to active duty, reserve and National Guard units and replace aging tanks, planes, ships and helicopters with more advanced and lethal technology, President Trump said.
“Hopefully, we’ll be so strong we’ll never have to use it. But if we ever did, nobody has a chance,” he said.
The bill also authorizes billions of dollars for military construction, including family housing.
Besides setting policy and spending levels, the bill weakens a bid to clamp down on Chinese telecom company ZTE. It allows Trump to waive sanctions against countries that bought Russian weapons and now want to buy U.S. military equipment. The bill provides no money for Trump’s requested Space Force but authorizes the military parade he wants in Washington in November. The White House has said it will outline a budget for the space force next year.
The measure also addresses child-on-child sexual assault at US military bases worldwide.
The measure also includes provisions designed to improve how the Defense Department handles reports of sexual assaults among the tens of thousands of children and teens who live and go to school on the military bases where their parents serve.
The bill creates new legal protections for students at Department of Defense Education Activity schools and requires the school system and the Pentagon to develop new policies for responding to reports on bases more generally. Schools and the armed services also must start tracking incidents.
The annual measure sets policies and a budget outline for the Pentagon and will be followed by a later appropriations bill.
President Trump and Senator McCain (R-AZ) have strained relationship and during his election campaign, President Trump declared that John McCain was not a war hero, and he has publicly and privately blamed Senator McCain for torpedoing the Republican healthcare bill last year.
Monday, McCain expressed pride in the bill signing in a statement he issued afterward.
“I’m proud the NDAA is now law & humbled Congress chose to designate it in my name. As Chairman of the Armed Services Cmte, I’ve found high purpose in service of a cause greater than self_the cause of our troops who defend America & all that she stands for,” he tweeted.
His wife, Cindy McCain re-Tweeted a Tweet from CBS News that noted President Trump neglected to mention Senator McCain at the signing.
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