Bennet Secures Measures to Strengthen National Security and Defense Efforts, Applauds Paid Parental Leave in Final Defense Bill

Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, announced four of his measures to strengthen national security and defense efforts were included in the final version of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed by the Senate today. Also, included in the NDAA was the Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA) for Fiscal Years 2018, 2019, and 2020 which passed out of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on a bipartisan vote in May. 

The 2019 NDAA was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last week. It now heads to the president’s desk to be signed into law. 

“Language we secured in this year’s defense authorization bill – from improving our understanding of China’s artificial intelligence strategy and progress to ensuring American satellites don’t get in the wrong hands – will help our military address the complex national security and defense challenges facing our country,” said Bennet. “It will also deliver long-awaited paid parental leave for federal workers and ensure spouses of fallen servicemembers receive the full benefits they are due. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure these measures are fully implemented.” 

Also included in the final bill were two Bennet-backed measures to secure paid parental leave for federal workers and end the military “widow’s tax,” ensuring the spouses of fallen servicemembers receive their full benefits. 

The final bill includes the following Bennet-led measures:   

  • Strengthening Our Understanding of Chinese Artificial Intelligence: An amendment introduced with U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) to understand the artificial intelligence capabilities of China and the path forward for the United States to maintain superiority in this emerging technology.
  • Ensuring Senior Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Programs Are Available in Underserved Areas: An amendment to ensure our officer corps represents the regional and demographic diversity of the country by examining access to Senior ROTC programs and possible expansions of the ROTC structure.
  • Ensuring American Technology Stays in Safe Hands: An amendment to examine the national security effects of the sale of American satellites to entities that could transfer use of our satellites to adversarial nations.
  • Increasing Transparency of American Efforts in the War in Afghanistan: An amendment with U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to increase public transparency on the war in Afghanistan by including key metrics for success in Department of Defense reports. 

Bennet-backed measures in the IAA, which improves the Intelligence Community’s ability to defend the United States, include:  

  • Addressing technological threats from China and other nations by requiring assessments of the threat to U.S. national security posed by global adoption of 5G technology built by foreign companies and possible U.S.-led mitigation efforts, and of predatory and anticompetitive foreign economic influence.  
  • Enhancing access to innovation by supporting the development of multi-use sensitive compartmented facilities where multiple companies can securely work on multiple projects at different security levels and on options for co-use and shared workspace environments such as: innovation, incubation, catalyst, and accelerator environments.