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|State of Pennsylvania||November 2, 2010 Election|
By Joe SestakCandidate for United States Senator
This information is provided by the candidate
Congressman Joe Sestak's National Security Accomplishments/Future ProposalsNATIONAL SECURITY
Even as we draw down our forces in Iraq, our gains remain fragile and we must ensure stability until we complete withdrawal at the end of 2011. In the months ahead we will begin major new deployments to Afghanistan to ensure that Al Qaeda can never again have a safe haven there. The situation in Pakistan also remains highly unstable and demands our full attention. All of these threats must be addressed with the utmost transparency for the taxpayer and fairness to the brave servicemen and women who defend us overseas.
In the years to come, Congress must ensure that:
I. 31 YEAR DISTINGUISHED NAVY CAREER
I am a former 3-Star Admiral who successfully ran for Congress in 2006, after completing my 31-year military service to our country. I am the most senior military veteran in history to be elected and serve in the U.S. Congress. I served as President Clinton's Director of Defense Policy at the White House and after 9/11, the Navy selected me to become the first Director of the Navy's anti-terrorism unit. The son of a first-generation Navy Captain, I followed in the footsteps of my father and attended the U.S. Naval Academy where I graduated 2nd in my Class. I currently serves as a Member of the House Armed Services Committee and was recently appointed by Chairman Ike Skelton to serve on the Defense Acquisitions Reform Panel, a select group of seven Congressmen.
II. EQUIPPING THE WAR FIGHTER
1. VOTED FOR DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION
o Passed H.R. 4986, the final version of the FY 2008 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), by a bipartisan vote of 369-46, with 187 Republicans voting YEA. The bill contains numerous readiness initiatives to strengthen our military, contains the Wounded Warrior Act to improve the care of returning wounded troops, and contains a 3.5% military pay raise. o Passed H.R. 5658, the FY 2009 NDAA, which contains numerous provisions to help restore our nation's military readiness; provides additional equipment to protect our troops in harm's way; provides a 3.9% military pay raises and contains provisions to reform military contracting. o Passed H.R. 2647, the House version of the FY 2010 NDAA. It directs the Government Accounting Office to review the Department of Defense's approach to balancing the dueling requirements of troop deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan with our troops' training needs. The bill includes increases for Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense and Theater High Altitude Area Defense by a total of $900 million. It requires DOD to establish a joint program office for cyber operations capabilities and provides all service members a 3.4% pay raise.
III. CARING FOR OUR SERVICE MEMBERS
1. AUTHORED LEGISLATION TO PROVIDE TREATMENT OF AUTISM UNDER TRICARE
o Successfully introduced an amendment to the FY 2010 NDAA which would mandate full treatment of autism under TRICARE, the military's primary healthcare provider. Builds on amendment I introduced which was signed into law last year that increased Autism coverage 20% under TRICAREs' Extended Care Health Option from $2,500/month to $36,000/year ($3,000/month).
2. AUTHORED LEGISLATION TO ESTABLISH THE NATIONAL COMBAT CASUALTY RESEARCH CENTER
o Establishes Research Center at the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (MRMC). o The Center will upgrade the MRMC's Combat Casualty Care Research Program and act as both a national center for all combat casualty care research and a center for civilian-military collaboration. o The language was successfully submitted as an amendment to the House version of the FY 2010 NDAA.
3. SUCCESSFULLY SUBMITTED LEGISLATION TO CONDUCT AN ASSESSMENT OF POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD) TREATMENT
o Inserted provision into the House version of the FY 2010 NDAA directing the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of Veterans Affairs, in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to submit to Congress a report evaluating and comparing effectiveness of programs designed to diagnose, treat, and PTSD.
4. AUTHORED LEGISLATION ESTABLISHING A NEUROSCIENCE FELLOWSHIP
o Successfully submitted an amendment to the House version of the FY 2010 NDAA to establish a Visiting NIH Senior Neuroscience Fellowship Program at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Defense Center of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury. It will be an important part of an effort to promote sponsorship of state-of-the-art neuroscience research.
IV. PROVIDING ACCOUNTABILITY TO THE TAXPAYER
1. VOTED FOR AND PASSED THE WEAPON SYSTEMS ACQUISITION REFORM ACT OF 2009
o Designates oversight functionaries who serve as principal advisors for cost estimation, systems engineering, and performance assessment on each program. o Contains provisions which place more scrutiny on certification requirements and review of programs which have experienced critical cost growth, allowing such programs to be restructured to minimize further cost growth. o Seeks to prevent organizational conflicts of interest in the acquisition of major weapons systems and creates incentives for superior performance by defense acquisitions personnel.
2. SUCCESSFULLY SUBMITTED TWO AMENDMENTS TO THE WEAPON SYSTEMS ACQUISITION REFORM ACT
o Mandates disclosure of the specific percentage of confidence levels for cost estimates of major defense acquisition programs. If the level is below 80%, the legislation requires the official designated to perform cost estimation oversight provide a justification, creating pressure to budget estimates as accurately as possible. o Significantly strengthens the review system for programs that experience "critical" cost growth, meaning they project to cost at least 25% more than previously predicted. Requires that before one of these programs can be restructured, the Secretary of Defense must assess the need to reduce funding for other programs to cover the cost overrun and must certify to Congress that the troubled program is a higher priority than other programs.
3. AUTHORED LEGISLATION MANDATING A STUDY ON JOINT CYBERSPACE ACQUISITION
o To understand the scope and challenges inherent in acquiring transformational military capabilities in cyberspace, this amendment, which was successfully enacted in the House version of the FY 2010 NDAA, o Would commission two Department of Defense studies to analyze alternative models and recommend changes from the present Service-based approach for acquisition and funding of inter-connected cyberspace systems. o When possible, procurement by the Joint forces should be favored because it is in the best position to address cyber security needs with a smoother acquisitions process.
4. AUTHORED STUDY ON THORIUM-POWERED NAVY
Successfully enacted in the House version of the FY 2010 NDAA, the provision directs the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to jointly carry out a study on use of thorium-liquid fueled nuclear reactors for naval power. While our nuclear Navy has thrived with a continuing record of zero reactor accidents, thorium may be more efficient than uranium as a fuel source. While I is not yet convinced that nuclear power for Naval ships is always cost-beneficial in the long term, if there are nuclear-powered vessels that continue to be built under Congressional mandate, then all options for the fuel source are worthy of consideration.
SUMMARY OF FUTURE INITIATIVES
Looking forward, I will continue working to ensure that:
1. Our readiness remains peerless, and our military is able to respond to a full spectrum of threats, both conventional and asymmetrical, at moment's notice;
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