Inhofe Votes to Advance NDAA in Senate, Announces Oklahoma Provisions

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Thursday voted to advance the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2017 (FY17). The legislation passed out of the Senate Armed Services Committee by a vote of 23 to 3 and is expected to be considered on the Senate floor in May.

“It is Congress’ constitutional responsibility to provide for our national defense and to care for the men and women in uniform who play the leading role in protecting our nation and its interests,” Inhofe said. “This year’s NDAA provides critical funding to improve the combat readiness of our military and support the service members and families who make countless sacrifices to serve our country. This bill also takes significant steps to reform the DOD, modernize the military health system, and reform the defense acquisition system to harness American innovation. Most importantly, this bill includes many provisions advancing the military presence in Oklahoma, to include securing funding for the AWACS and KC-46A, protecting Impact Aid dollars supporting Oklahoma’s education system in military communities, and supporting research dollars that will be accessed by the state’s universities. However, I have some concerns with the bill that I intend to address when the legislation is considered on the Senate floor. I intend to file amendments that address the need to protect the promised commissary benefit, require DOD to look at varying Basic Allowance for Subsistence rates in response to the new commissary pricing plan, put more safeguards in place to mitigate the threat created by the release of high risk Gitmo detainees, and eliminate burdensome restrictions on the sale or donation of excess defense property to State or local agencies for law enforcement activities. 

“Finally, our military readiness is at all-time lows. Our modernization is not keeping pace with requirements, military infrastructure is crumbling, and force size is inadequate to meet growing worldwide threats. We must pass an amendment on the floor to increase funds or our military will not be able to meet ongoing national security requirements.”

The FY17 NDAA authorizes $602 billion in funding for the Department of Defense and the national security programs of the Department of Energy and $59 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations.

The following are provisions Inhofe authored or supported, many of which support the military presence in Oklahoma:

Provisions with a specific impact to Oklahoma:

E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS)
Inhofe addressed the need to continue the full funding of the Air Force’s block 40/45 upgrades to the technologically aging E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS).  AWACS have been in constant demand, supporting overseas contingency operations as well as supporting homeland defense for over the past two decades. The AWACS fleet, based entirely at Tinker Air Force Base, entered the service in the late 1970s and in order to remain ahead of the threat the internal systems need to be upgraded. Inhofe also ensured the restriction on retiring AWACS, Compass Call and J-STARS platforms was maintained through 2017.

Paladin Integrated Management (PIM)

The PIM program is critical to the US Army. Assembled in Elgin and operated on Fort Sill, the Paladin Integrated Management (PIM), the primary indirect fire weapons platform in the US Army’s Armored Brigade Combat Teams (ABCT), is necessary to the modernization of the Paladin Self-Propelled Howitzer and the U.S. artillery force. The PIM program upgrades both the M109A6 Paladin howitzer and its companion ammunition resupply vehicle, the M992 Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicle (FAASV).  PIM incorporates many new survivability enhancements to greatly increase the force protection levels of the crewmembers. It significantly improves force protection and survivability and reduces a logistics burden for the Armored Brigade Combat team field artillery Soldiers.  Inhofe included language in the bill that voiced strong support for the PIM upgrade to the M109A6 Paladin and successfully supported legislation in the NDAA that authorizes full funding at $469.3 million to acquire 36new PIMs.

B-21 Long Range Strike Bomber

The DOD continues to pursue the acquisition of the B-21 for operating in anti-access/area denial environments, a bomber that will be capable of carrying both precision-guided conventional and nuclear weapons. This aircraft, once fielded, could be sustained at Tinker Air Force Base, like it does for the B-1 and B-52.  Inhofe supported fully funding the B-21 program at $1.1 billion. Inhofe supported an amendment in the committee that would require the Air Force to disclose the value of the B-21 Long Range Strike Bomber Engineering, Manufacturing, and Development (EMD) contract award to congressional defense committee members.

MC-12W Liberty

Inhofe worked to ensure full funding for the beddown, training and operations of the MC-12W aircraft flown by the 137th Special Operations Wing, Oklahoma Air National Guard, at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base. The MC-12 is a medium-to low-altitude, twin-engine turboprop aircraft that provides intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) support directly to military forces on the ground. The 137th will help fill the growing worldwide requirement for ISR.

KC-46A Procurement and Basing

Our nation’s air refueling fleet is crucial to the future of our national security. The KC-46A will replace our aging KC-135 tanker aircraft. The KC-46 helps ensure the viability of our Air Force as a global force.  Inhofe supported legislation that fully funds the KC-46 program for $121.7 million for FY17. Altus Air Force Base will be one of seven bases to receive the KC-46 starting March 2017 and will receive $11.6 million to complete the KC-46 Simulator Facility Phase 2. Tinker Air Force Base, selected to provide all depot maintenance for the KC-46, will receive $17 million in military construction for a KC–46A Depot System Fuel Laboratory. Inhofe also ensured the KC-46 was fully funded in the bill to ensure no impacts on the delivery of future aircraft.

Other Military Construction Projects for Oklahoma

Tinker Air Force Base will receive $26 million for an AWACS Mission and Flight Simulator Training Facility. Ardmore will receive $22 million for a new National Guard Readiness Center.

Impact Aid

Inhofe was again successful in ensuring language that authorizes $25 million in supplemental Impact Aid to local educational agencies and schools with military dependent children as well as an additional $5 million in Impact Aid for schools with military dependent children with severe disabilities.

A provision Inhofe authored also fixed language affecting Impact Aid that was in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in December that resulted in an error that inadvertently disqualified some districts from the program. His provision also delays a provision in ESSA related to the formula for qualification for the heavily impacted section of Impact Aid to provide additional time to collect data on the effects on participating school districts, and it and modifies language regarding the heavily impacted program to align with congressional intent to ensure annual payments to one district experiencing changing demographics were not beyond congressional intent.  This was necessary to ensure other districts in the program didn’t experience hundreds of millions of dollars in payment reductions due to unexpected payments to another district, which would have resulted in Oklahoma’s Impact Aid being cut by $450,000.  

Troops to Teachers

Troops to Teachers is a program that allows former military personnel to begin a new career as teachers in public schools where their skills, knowledge and experience are most needed. Inhofe supported full funding at $14.8 million.

Cyber Security

Inhofe supported language in the bill that increases focus, support and funding of DOD cyber efforts to include authorities for offensive and defense operations, vulnerability assessments, development of new technologies, and growth and retention of our cyber force. Improving our cyber capabilities and understanding our vulnerabilities will enable the DOD to protect our nation against a growing cyber threat.  The University of Tulsa (TU) continues to be a center of excellence in cyber security and research and will play a critical role in understanding and countering this threat to every American and our nation.

Depot Maintenance

In response to a request by the Air Force to address funding shortages for readiness, Inhofe supported increased funding for depot maintenance of nine separate Air Force aircraft to include the KC-135, E-4B National Airborne Operations Center (NAOC), E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS), B-52 and B-2 aircraft that are all sustained at Tinker Air Force Base.

Weapons Sustainment Strategy

One of DOD’s most pressing concerns is the readiness of its weapon systems and the cost to sustain readiness. The Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009 directed a GAO review of the growth in operating and support costs of major weapon systems, which found key information missing to manage life-cycle costs. Inhofe authored an amendment that was adopted and directs the Secretary of Defense to submit a report on the strategy for weapon system sustainment to the congressional defense committees in the House and Senate no later than Jan. 2, 2017. The strategy should cover the entire logistics lifecycle from production through battlefield use, retrograde and organic repair or modification, or disposal. The Sustainment Center at Tinker Air Force Base will play a critical role in the development and implementation of this strategy.

Advanced Weapons Technology

Recognizing the risks of exposure to chemical and biological agents faced by deployed U.S. forces and the ability to expedite collection and characterize the agents in real time is critical.  At the request of Inhofe, the NDAA includes a provision encouraging the Secretary of the Air Force to accelerate the fabrication, prototyping and testing of capabilities to detect and classify chemical and biological agents that will provide needed battlefield intelligence and increase the protective posture of our forces. Oklahoma State University continues to be a leader in sensor and platform technology that can assist the Air Force in developing and fielding these new capabilities.

Conformal phased array antennas and digital polarimetry radar development

Substantive improvements in antenna and radar technology is providing enhanced capabilities to aircraft and unmanned aerial systems.  At the request of Inhofe, the NDAA includes provisions encouraging the research and develop of super-adaptable conformal phased array antennas as well as research opportunities to create an all-digital polarimetric phased array radar for future use in small object sensing and tracking. Oklahoma University, a national leader in research and development of radars and antenna technologies, is perfectly situated to work with the Navy in development of new antennas and radars for the DOD.

Directed Energy Weapons

Countless reports and studies have articulated the value of directed energy (DE), but DOD has yet to successfully field an operational directed-energy weapon system despite having invested heavily in the technology. The FY17 NDAA includes language from Inhofe’s Directed Energy Weapon Systems Acquisition Act introduced on April 12, which would accelerate the development and transition of directed energy technology capabilities for our nation’s military. The provision also authorizes the Secretary of Defense to use rapid acquisition authorizes for directed energy weapon systems development and fielding. Oklahoma universities have been working on electromagnetic wave systems, devices and applications as well as assessing the vulnerability of electronic systems to high intensity electromagnetic field, which all have direct relevance to directed energy weapons systems and this initiative.

National Defense Stockpile

Inhofe supported measures to direct the Secretary of Defense to report to congressional committees in February of 2017 an assessment that designates which rare earth elements (REE) are critical to national security, analyzes the effect of unavailability of REE designated as critical, and defines reliable and secure sources for REE.  The National Defense Stockpile locations across the United States are located across 13 states, including Oklahoma.

STARBASE

The purpose of STARBASE is to improve the knowledge and skills of students in kindergarten through 12th grade in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects and to motivate them to explore STEM as they continue their education. STARBASE currently operates at 76 locations in 40 states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, primarily on military installations. To date, nearly 750,000 students have participated in the program. STARBASE is a highly effective program run by our dedicated service members and strengthens the relationships between the military, communities and local school districts. While the president’s budget eliminated funding for the program, Inhofe co-sponsored language that will provide $25 million for STARBASE in FY17. The Oklahoma Air National Guard runs the state’s STARBASE program out of two locations, the Will Rogers Air National Guard Base and the Tulsa Air National Guard Base, with over 4,500 students participating every year.

Sea Cadets

The U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps (USNSCC) makes significant contributions in the development of our nation’s youth, the recruitment efforts of the U.S. Navy and the awareness of the Navy and its mission.  Since its inception in 1958, the USNSCC has trained over 170,000 young Americans since its creation. Inhofe included language in this year’s NDAA that fully funds the program at $1.7 million. This support will help grow the program to 410 units across all 50 states, to include cadets in Oklahoma.

Civil Air Patrol

Civil Air Patrol is a congressionally chartered, nonprofit corporation serving as official auxiliary of the Air Force, and continues to play a role in Oklahoma. With operating locations in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Lawton, Norman, and Muskogee, volunteers perform emergency and disaster relief ops, aerospace, counter-drug and homeland security and courier service missions. Inhofe supported legislation that provided an additional $4.3 million to fully fund the Civil Air Patrol operation at $30.2 million for FY17. This additional funding will provide for crucial aircraft and national communications upgrades.

Civilian Hiring

Our military, and specifically our depots, are suffering from a shortage of civilian skilled workers.  This workforce is the backbone of the sustainment and combat capability of our entire military – every service and every weapon system.  This workforce maintains aging equipment, adopts new technologies, and is consistently recognized by industry as the benchmark of success. Because of their abilities, the workload demands continue to grow along with the need for higher levels of technological skill sets. Our ability to recruit and hire this workforce is being impacted by an ineffective and inefficient hiring system.  Inhofe authored language in the bill that allows for direct hiring of civilians for DOD, hiring of uniquely qualified civilian personnel, and hiring flexibility for term and temporary civilian employees. This will help Tinker Air Force Base and the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant.

Provisions of national interest:

Base Realignment and Closure Prohibition

Inhofe supported language that makes clear that nothing in the FY17 NDAA shall be construed to authorize a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round next year, which was included in the president’s proposed budget. Inhofe believes that the United States has reduced force capability to an unacceptable level, and that it should not be brought down any further in the near term. The reported excess infrastructure of our military is based on a force structure too small to provide for the security of our nation at a time where global threats are greater than any on our lifetime. Inhofe also recognizes the announcement of a BRAC round will negatively impact every military community due to uncertainty of their future and cost the taxpayer billions in this tough economic climate for savings that will not be realized for another 20 years.

Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

The bill extends the prohibitions on transferring Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo) detainees to the United States, as well as using funds to close Gitmo and restrictions on transferring Gitmo detainees to certain foreign countries. Inhofe also supported language that prohibits any further transfers or release from Gitmo until the Secretary of Defense provides an unclassified report on the remaining detainees to include their previous terrorist activities and any involvement in attacks against the United States or our allies. By law, the administration is required to give Congress 30-days advance notice of the transfer or release of terrorists held at Guantanamo, but this information is kept classified. With 80 terrorists remaining in Gitmo, most of which have been labeled 'too dangerous to release,’ the additional requirement will give Americans a greater voice in how an administration is handling enemy combats while our country remains in a global war against terrorism. This reflects the objective of Inhofe’s Detainee Transfer Transparency Act on April 13. However, Inhofe believes the provision needs to go further by requiring a public announcement of detainee transfers prior to their actual release and will offer an amendment on the floor to establish this requirement.

Military Health Care Reform

The bill begins a multi-year modernization of the military health care system, turning it from a ‘system-first’ culture to a ‘patient-first’ culture.  It includes organizational changes at the Defense Health Agency through each of the services and down to the Military Treatment Facilities, and also modernizes TRICARE by establishing three options to better fiscally meet the needs of our servicemembers and veterans. Due to concerns about how the DOD would institute the proposed changes to the military health care system, Inhofe authored two amendments that were adopted that prevent any actions being taken to consolidate the defense and services medical departments or realign any infrastructure of and health care services provided by the military treatment facilities (MTF) until a comprehensive report is provided to Congress that details how these changes will impact health care being provided to our service members, their families and our veterans.

Inhofe also authored language that is included in TRICARE reform that requires “medically necessary food” to be covered under the TRICARE program. Specialized food is often medically necessary for the safe and effective management of many digestive and inherited metabolic disorders that impact digestion and absorption of nutrients. Although medically necessary food is essential for patients, it is often expensive and not uniformly reimbursed by health insurance, leaving many families with an insurmountable financial burden. Coverage under TRICARE will allow our military families the certainty and stability they need if they suffer from this issue.

Commissaries

Last year in the FY16 NDAA, Inhofe authored an amendment, which garnered the support of 24 senators and over 40 organizations, that protected commissaries from being privatized without an assessment to first study the benefits and costs of privatization. The study would allow congress to fully understand whether privatization could directly impact military members’ ability to provide for their families as well as the potential for it to affect retention. The amendment was adopted by unanimous consent on the Senate floor and maintained in the conference bill signed into law. Unfortunately, despite the fact that the assessment and follow on Comptroller General review has not yet been completed, this year’s NDAA includes language that would privatize up to five commissaries on major military bases. Inhofe is also concerned about language included that changes the funding of the commissary system and institutes a variable pricing program, which could impact the purchasing power of our military families. He intends to file an amendment to address the commissary provisions when the NDAA is considered on the Senate floor.

Military Installation Security

The security of our military installations is paramount in ensuring the safety and capability of our soldiers and airmen on base. In concern for the safety of our military installations, Inhofe authored language to update DOD policy and guidance concerning internally developed credentialing and physical access control system efforts to ensure that commercial systems are utilized to the fullest extent possible to keep our soldiers and families are kept safe.

Counter-ISIL operations

Over the past two years, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has continued to spread its control over Syria and Iraq, and it has reached out to Islamic extremist groups in Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Yemen, Somalia and Tunisia. Most recently, the group has claimed responsibility for the attacks in Paris, killing over 130 civilians; the attack in Brussels, killing at least 30; the shooting down of a Russian plane over Egypt, killing all passengers; and the attack in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 and wounding 20 others. The attack in California was the deadliest terrorist attack in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001. These recent events underscore the fact we face an enemy that has the weapons, skills and willingness to strike innocent civilians outside and within our own borders. Inhofe supported $1.3 billion in funding for counter-ISIL activities in Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon in FY17, including authority to train and equip military and security partners in the region.

Assistance to Ukraine

Inhofe, a long-time supporter of Ukraine, successfully worked to include a provision that authorizes up to $500M in security assistance to the country, including lethal assistance, to build its capacity to defend its territory and sovereignty. The language withholds half of the funds until the Secretary of Defense certifies that Ukraine has taken substantial action to make necessary defense reforms.

Missile Defense

Missile defense is a vital strategic tool that is necessary to defend the United States and its allies. An avid supporter of missile defense since its true beginnings under President Ronald Reagan, Inhofe continued to push and support language to improve missile defense for the United States and Israel. Inhofe supported increasing funding for the Missile Defense agency by $115 million, which will provide for necessary modernization of the U.S. ground based missile defense system needed to enhance protection of the homeland against the growing long-range ballistic missile threats from Iran, North Korea and other countries. Israel, our long-time ally, faces imminent threat from Iran. Inhofe supported increasing funding for U.S.-Israeli missile defense programs to include funding for continued development of Arrow, Arrow 3, and David’s Sling, as well as procurement of Tamir interceptors for Iron Dome.

Enlisted Representation

Inhofe authored language in the NDAA directing the Secretary of Defense to appoint a senior noncommissioned officer (in the pay grade of E7, E8, or E9) as a member on each DOD board, panel, or body of a similar nature, where the topic involves the consideration of compensation and benefits (including pay and allowances, healthcare, retirement and other benefits) of enlisted members of the Armed Forces.

Continued support for diagnosis and treatment of TBI

Over the past two decades, our service men and women have been injured in combat areas by Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), other military explosive devices and by head impacts leading to mild and moderate concussions, which have led to both physical and mental brain injuries. These injuries are disabling, as they may induce short-term memory loss, severe headaches, depression, loss of cognitive function, loss of impulse control, anger and – in extreme cases – suicide. Inhofe continued to support funding and language for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

Counter-Narcotics Program for National Guard

For 22 years, the National Guard Counter Drug (NGCD) program has had a partnership with federal, state and local law enforcement to safeguard our communities from drugs and drug violence. Inhofe supported language that funds the FY17 program at $87 million.

Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2

The NDAA includes Inhofe’s bipartisan Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2, which has 70 cosponsors and first passed the Senate by unanimous consent on Dec. 15, 2015. This legislation would reform the third class medical certification for recreational pilots and broaden the protections in the original Pilot’s Bill of Rights authored by Inhofe and signed into law in 2012.

Africa Free Trade Initiative Act

The National Defense Authorization Act includes Inhofe’s bipartisan Africa Free Trade Initiative Act, legislation he introduced on May 19, 2015. This legislation would require the president to establish a plan outlining what steps and resources are needed by sub-Saharan African countries to enter into Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with the United States and would require the United States Trade Representative, the Millennium Challenge Corporation and USAID to coordinate and collaborate together on how to provide assistance to nations developing free trade readiness.

Repatriation of American made rifles

Currently there are 80,000 U.S. made M1 Garand rifles in the Republic of Korea that they no longer required and intends to dispose.  These rifles were received from the United States through sales and grants. The U.S. Army has the authority to coordinate repatriation for these rifles but no funds to do so. Inhofe authored an amendment that was adopted that will allow the Army to use a third party to recover these rifles and bring them back to the U.S. under the supervision and disposition by the Army, at no cost to the Army. The Army would take possession of as many of the rifles as require to meet military ceremonial needs and provide the remainder to the Citizen’s Marksmanship Program (CMP). The non-profit Citizen’s Marksmanship Program, known for their firearm safety courses, marksmanship competitions and scholarship program, have offset their costs through a congressionally approved program of selling surplus rifles for two decades.

Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)

Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) continue to spread terror and lawlessness in Eastern Congo and Central Africa. In 2015, LRA forces were active in the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo), South Sudan and in Sudanese-controlled areas of South Darfur and the disputed Kafia Kingi enclave. The LRA abducted 612 people in 203 attacks in 2015, a slight reduction compared to 2014, though the number of abductions was higher than in both 2012 and 2013. The instability created by the LRA enables the spread of other extremist and terrorist organizations that are expanding operations throughout the African continent. Continued funding for the counter LRA mission and bringing to an end Joseph Kony’s reign of terror in Eastern Congo and Central Africa is critical to restoring stability in the region. Inhofe continues to support funding to ensure their defeat and the ultimate capture and imprisonment of Joseph Kony.

Access to Banks and Credit Unions on Military Installations

The NDAA includes Inhofe’s amendment that would ensure banks and credits unions have equal access to serve their customers on military installations. Federal law provides rent-free access to credit unions on military installations, but conflicting federal law prevented banks from being provided the same benefit. The legislation requires that the DOD to treat all financial institutions – whether they’re banks or credit unions – exactly the same when it comes to lease terms of their branches on military installations.

Preventing Contractor Blacklisting

The Obama administration has implemented Executive Order 13673 (EO 13673) which would effectively blacklist companies from participating in government contracts if they have had allegations of labor law violations, even if they have not been substantiated for proven. If allowed to move forward, EO 13673 would slow down and increase the cost of the acquisition process, hurting defense contractors. In 2015, Inhofe offered legislation to the FY16 NDAA, which would have blocked EO 13673 from applying to defense contractors unless it is debarred or otherwise suspended under federal labor laws. This amendment was not adopted then; however, this language was included in the base text of FY17 NDAA at Inhofe’s request.

DOD Transportation Protective Services

The FY15 NDAA required TRANSCOM to submit a report that examines the data limitations of the Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Safety and Accountability Program and what changes should be made to DOD’s process to determine hazardous material carrier eligibility and evaluate performance of carriers. Inhofe included language in the FY17 NDAA that will require the Commander of TRANSCOM to brief the defense and commerce committees on the report and any updates to the existing plan to ensure that TRANSCOM and DOD have the ability to move hazardous TPS cargo.  

Commanders’ Emergency Response Program (CERP)

Inhofe supported language in the bill that extents Commanders’ Emergency Response Program (CERP) for three years. This program has proven to be a vital resource for combatant commanders around the world for conducting stability, development, and humanitarian assistance operations where Congress has specifically authorized its use.

Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Fund

Inhofe supported language to authorize the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Fund and provide the Secretary of Defense with the authority to investigate, develop and provide equipment, supplies, services, training, facilities, personnel and funds to assist in the defeat of improvised explosive devices for operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and other operations or military missions designated by the Secretary.

European Deterrence Initiative

Inhofe continued to support funding for our European Deterrence Initiative that bolsters efforts to deter Russian aggression. This NDAA authorizes $3.4 billion to increase the capability and readiness of the U.S. and NATO forces to defend territorial integrity, preserve regional stability and improve the agility and flexibility of military forces to address growing threats in the region.

Integration of nanoscale techniques for improved battery technology

For the past five years, the University of Tulsa has been using nanotechnology to advance battery technology. Inhofe supported a provision supporting the efforts of the DOD and the U.S. military’s efforts to improve battery technology.  The continued research and development of nanoscale techniques to improve battery technology as it relates to improving military capabilities on the battlefield is a distinct enabler and has numerous civilian possibilities.

Improvement of prosthetic care outcomes

In 2015 the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) deployed advanced, proven lower limb prosthetic digital health technology to provide real-world data documenting activity in the community for veterans with lower limb prostheses.  By documenting how patients with limb loss function with their prosthetic devices, this digital health technology offers new opportunities to prosthetic outcomes, increase activity and improve the quality of life for those who have lost limbs.  Currently the DOD has not provided this technology to servicemembers who have lost lower limbs or to veterans who receive prosthetic care from DOD. Inhofe authored an amendment that was adopted that encourages DOD to utilize technology that captures real-world activity data for amputees to improve prosthetic outcomes for servicemembers and veterans.

Permanent extension of payment of Special Survivor Indemnity Allowances under the Survivor Benefit Plan

Inhofe worked to include language that amends section 1450 of Title 10 of the United States Code to permanently extend the authority to pay the Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance at the monthly rate currently payable for fiscal year 2017when it was set to expire.  SSIA is a program for surviving spouses who are the beneficiary of the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuity and their SBP annuity is partially or fully offset by the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). SSIA also applies to the surviving spouses of members who died on active duty whose SBP annuity is partially or fully offset by their DIC.

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