September 22 2017

In this issue:

Senate Passed NDAA

HASC Chairman Concerned about NDAA Delay and Strained Military

Upcoming Changes to TRICARE
FRA 2018 National Convention



Senate Passed NDAA

This week the Senate passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA-H.R. 2810).The $700 billion defense policy bill passed by a vote of 89-8, and does exceed the statutory caps on defense spending enacted by the Budget Control Act (BCA). Because of this, the passage will put additional pressure on Congress to ease the 2011 BCA caps or face automatic across-the- board cuts, known as sequestration. Members are encouraged to go to the FRA action center to weigh in on this issue.


Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator John McCain (Ariz.) said, "My friends, for too long, our nation has asked our men and women in uniform to do too much with far too little. Much of the blame lies over the last administration, but we in Congress cannot escape responsibility." Senator McCain, pointed to the recent deaths of service members during routine operations to make the case the military needs more money to climb out of a readiness crisis. The problem, he said, was a result of years of budget instability. There were 130 amendments included in the bill, however, debate on hundreds of controversial amendments were blocked when lawmakers could not agree on which amendments should get floor votes.

In July, the House passed its annual defense authorization bill. The House and Senate will now appoint a conference committee to resolve the differences between the two bills. The final bill will be submitted to both chambers and if approved will be sent to President Trump to be signed into law or be vetoed.


HASC Chairman Concerned about NDAA Delay and Strained Military‚Äč

Rep. Mac Thornberry (Texas), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), recently expressed frustration that defense funding will likely get sidelined this month by other legislative priorities. Additionally, he expressed continued concern at the delay in funding in spite of the rash of recent and "shocking" Naval warship crashes operating without the proper resources. 

Speaking at a defense conference in Arlington, Va., Thornberry pointed out that four times as many service members have died this year in noncombat operations and training than troops in combat. "That is not a good trend," said Thornberry. Also adding that, "It reflects the stresses and strains that have been put on the military because of high operational demands, a series of dysfunctions in the executive and congressional branches and a world that is not slowing down to wait for us to catch up"


Upcoming Changes to TRICARE
The Military Health System (MHS) has been substantially changed by the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA-H.R. 2933-Public Law No: 114-328). These changes are intended to renovate TRICARE to better serve beneficiaries. Most provisions will go into effect on January 1, 2018, with full implementation occurring on January 1, 2019. For additional information on these upcoming changes visit the TRICARE website at:


FRA, Auxiliary Elect National Officers
This week FRA is holding its 2017 National Convention in Hunt Valley, Md. More information will be forthcoming on next week's edition of NewsBytes as to who was elected National President and National Vice President as well as other officers.

Additional convention details will also be included in the upcoming issue of FRAtoday.


NewsBytes is FRA's weekly legislative update. If you received this through a forward and would like to subscribe, please e-mail us  and include your name and contact information in the body of e-mail. If you are a member of FRA or LA FRA, please include your member number as well.

Follow FRA on Twitter (; Follow FRA on Instagram ( and "like" FRA on Facebook (use the shortcut of




Connect with Us