Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) announced today that she has introduced four amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and worked with Senate colleagues on the Senate Armed Services Committee to protect remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) personnel. The amendment’s Senator Cortez Masto offered address our country’s cybersecurity defense readiness, safeguards funding for scholarship opportunities for minority serving institutions that educate soldiers of color, invests in jobs and helps to develop a cyber-workforce at the Department of Defense, and calls on the Departments of Defense and State to report to Congress their plan to stabilize the territories liberated from ISIS in Iraq and Syria:
“I am proud to offer four amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that prioritize the concerns of Nevada’s service members, create jobs, provide scholarships to our soldiers, and demand accountability from this Administration on its strategy in Syria and Iraq,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “Our soldiers deserve every bit of support we can offer them in the battlefield and when they return home. I am proud to work with my colleagues on the Senate Armed Services Committee to also ensure that RPA pilots receive the appropriate level of rest to ensure their combat effectiveness.”
“Our national cybersecurity strategy is of deep concern to every American. That’s why I am asking the Department of Defense to provide updates on the benefits, necessities and risks of separating the U.S. government’s cyber intelligence organizations,” Senator Cortez Masto continued. “Our country must also invest in a cybersecurity workforce. The challenges the Department of Defense faces in recruiting and retaining cyber personnel quickly and reliably is a direct threat to our national security. This is a high priority for me and I will make sure our armed forces have the resources they need to keep our country safe and defend against cyber-attacks.”
Senator Cortez Masto has offered the following amendments to the NDAA:
- Army Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) Scholarship
- Senator Cortez Masto’s amendment directs the Secretary of the Army to set aside a certain number of ROTC scholarships for students at minority serving institutions.
- Cyber Workforce Development Pilot Program
- The Senator’s amendment directs the Department of Defense to establish a pilot program to improve recruitment, training and retention of cyber professionals at the department.
- Cyber Security: Update on NSA-CYBERCOM Split
- Senator Cortez Masto’s amendment protects U.S. cyber warfare capabilities by requiring the Department of Defense to provide an update on the benefits, necessities and risks of separating the U.S. government’s cyber intelligence organization, the National Security Agency, from its cyber warfighting organization, the U.S. Cyber Command.
- Iraq and Syria Stabilization Plan
- The Senator’s amendment directs the Departments of Defense and State to provide a report to Congress detailing the plan to stabilize territories liberated from ISIS in Iraq and Syria, including the roles and responsibilities of U.S. allies in the effort.
Senator Cortez Masto worked closely with Members of the Armed Services Committee to ensure that language protecting RPA pilots was included in committee markup:
- Require the Air Force to Develop a Plan to Improve Services Available to Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) Pilots at their Duty Stations
- This substitute bill language requires the Air Force to implement a combat-to-dwell policy for members of the remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) community to reduce stress on the RPA community and ensure that service members receive adequate noncombat time between tours of duty in combat zones. The policy is intended to mitigate the mental and physical fatigue associated with combat duty.