WASHINGTON (AP) – The comprehensive, $632.8 billion defense bill heading to President Barack Obama for his signature would crack down on sexual assault in the military, authorize combat pay for the troops and cover the cost of new ships, aircraft and weapons.
Sen. John McCain of Arizona said in a released statement that he was pleased with the passage of the bill and “urged President Obama to sign this important legislation into law as soon as possible.”
A look at the legislation:
_Authorizes $552.1 billion for the core budget, including $17.6 billion for defense programs within the Energy Department and $80.7 billion for the war in Afghanistan and other overseas operations.
_Provides a 1 percent pay raise for military personnel.
_Authorizes the size of the force at 520,000 for the Army; 323,600 for the Navy; 190,200 for the Marine Corps and 327,600 for the Air Force.
_Authorizes funds for the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria.
_Strips military commanders of their ability to overturn jury convictions.
_Requires a civilian review if a commander declines to prosecute a case.
_Requires that any individual convicted of sexual assault face a dishonorable discharge or dismissal.
_Provides victims of sexual assault or rape with legal counsel.
_Eliminates the statute of limitations for courts-martial in rape and sexual assault cases, and criminalizes retaliation against victims who report a sexual assault.
_Changes the military’s Article 32 proceedings to limit intrusive questioning of victims, making it more similar to a grand jury.
_Requires the Pentagon to deploy an additional missile defense radar to protect the United States from long-range missile threats from North Korea, and authorizes $30 million for initial costs toward deployment.
_Prohibits the transfer of terror suspects from the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the United States and bars construction of detainee facilities in the U.S. Gives the president more flexibility in transferring prisoners overseas.
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