Udall Cites Benefits for Colorado as Defense Authorization Act Passes Senate
Udall Amendments Limit Unilateral DOD Personnel Reductions, Allow Military Use of Alternative Fuels
Mark Udall acknowledged the passage today of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 and highlighted a series of amendments he championed on behalf of Colorado’s military community, veterans and residents. The NDAA establishes defense policy, budgets and priorities for the U.S. military.
Udall, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said while he is pleased with most of the bill, he remains concerned about amendments regarding military detention and the military prison at Guantanamo Bay.
"The National Defense Authorization Act is critically important for Colorado, the tens of thousands of military personnel and families stationed here and our national security," Udall said. "However, this bill isn’t perfect. We need to revisit some of its provisions during the conference committee, including one that could allow the military to conduct police actions within the borders of the United States and another that effectively prohibits the release or civilian trial of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Still, much of the bill does support a smarter national security that advances our energy security, helps to keep troops in Afghanistan safe and ensures that Congress is consulted before the Defense Department reduces personnel at Colorado’s military installations. Those are important victories for Colorado."
Udall sponsored or co-sponsored a series of successful amendments that will improve national security, support energy innovation, and ensure that Colorado’s military community, bases and other installations retain their robust missions. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Udall:
- Led the fight to ensure that the military can develop and use biofuels. His amendment, which passed the Senate by a 62-37 margin, removed provisions from the NDAA that limited military use of alternative fuels.
- Co-sponsored an amendment with Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), requiring that the Department of Defense give Congress three months’ notice before it can move units or significant numbers of civilian personnel. The provision also requires that the Defense Department submit a cost analysis to justify any proposed moves, helping to ensure that missions at bases throughout Colorado cannot be moved or cut without congressional oversight.
- Sponsored a provision requiring that the military study the cost and logistics required to clean up abandoned uranium mines, which often were used to mine materials in order to build nuclear warheads. Colorado is home to approximately 1,300 uranium mines that produced uranium for nuclear weapons.
- Co-sponsored a bipartisan amendment with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) requiring the military to conduct a detailed study on incidents of violence committed by Afghan personnel against American troops. The report would require an analysis on how those so-called “green-on-blue” attacks impact the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.
- Sponsored a provision requiring the Secretary of Defense to report on the recruiting and retention of defense cyber experts.
- Co-sponsored a bipartisan amendment to eliminate funding for the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), which has cost taxpayers nearly $2 billion since 1995 while only completing two test launches.
- Worked with Sen. Begich to add language encouraging the Defense Department to carefully consider the role of U.S. producers in supporting the development of rare earths materials that are critical for defense weapons systems and other important national priorities.
Udall, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Select Committee on Intelligence, has been a vocal proponent of pursuing a smart but tough national security policy.