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Washington, D.C. - Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Chairman of the Airland Subcommittee in the Senate Armed Services Committee, released a statement on final passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020. Senator Cotton secured dozens of provisions in the annual defense bill to support Arkansas servicemembers and military families. For text of the bill click here.
"The National Defense Authorization Act passed today strengthens America's warfighters and military families. This bill will make our military a stronger fighting force, while protecting America from fentanyl traffickers, terrorists, and other enemies. I'm pleased that so many Arkansas priorities will now pass into law, including provisions to expand the Arkansas State Veteran's Cemetery and help military spouses transfer occupational licenses when they move across state lines," said Cotton.
Senator Cotton's provisions address a range of issues, including cutting the flow of fentanyl from China, expanding Arkansas's State Veterans Cemetery, easing the process of military spouse licensing transfers, supporting U.S. partners in the Indo-Pacific region, improving homeschool inclusion within JROTC programs, and updating burial honors for certain veterans.
- Cracks Down on Chinese Fentanyl: America is suffering from the worst drug epidemic in our history, which has been fueled by deadly fentanyl from China. The bipartisan Fentanyl Sanctions Act, which Senator Cotton sponsored with Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), imposes new sanctions and penalties on fentanyl traffickers.
- Allows Military Spouses to Transfer Occupational Licenses: Many Arkansas military spouses struggle with recertifying their occupational licenses as they move from state to state. The Portable Certification of Spouses amendment will improve the portability of occupational licenses. The bill will also help alleviate the burden military spouses bear when having to re-register a small business in a new state each time a service member changes station.
- Expanded Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery: Ensures we keep our promises to Arkansas veterans who choose to be buried alongside their brothers and sisters in arms by transferring approximately 141 acres from the Army National Guard to the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs.
- Includes Homeschool Students in Local JROTC Units: Mandates inclusion of homeschooled students residing in the geographic area served by a JROTC unit. The bill ensures that homeschool students who want to participate in JROTC can.
- Grants Full Military Honors Burial Rites: Allows Medal of Honor and Prisoner of War Medal recipients to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery with Full Military Honors, regardless of rank.
- Increases Security in Indo-Pacific Region: Encourages the Department of Defense to establish open-source intelligence fusion centers between the U.S. and the Pacific Island countries. These centers will strengthen our valuable partnership with Pacific Island nations. Arkansas is proud to be home to the largest Marshallese population in the country.