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Frankel Priorities Advancing Gender Equality Included in National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023

Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Lois Frankel (FL-21) voted to pass the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2023, a strong, bipartisan bill that strengthens America’s national security, upholds our values, supports our service members and their families, and advances our leadership around the world.

“This bill promotes women’s safety and equality in the U.S. military and around the world. It advances women in the U.S. military by expanding access to child care for service members, strengthening parental leave policies, investing in women-specific body armor, and allowing survivors of sexual harassment to seek the justice they deserve by taking the decision to prosecute out of the chain of command,” said Rep. Frankel. “It also promotes the inclusion of women in security forces around the world, uplifts the voices of women and girls in the rooms where decisions are made, and ensures the needs of the most vulnerable communities are met.”

The bipartisan NDAA for FY23 included a number of Frankel priorities:

Working for Women in National Security:

  • Takes the Decision to Prosecute Sexual Misconduct in the Military out of the Chain of Command and clarifies that the new independent investigations of sexual harassment must be conducted by trained investigators who are outside the chain of command of the victim and accused.
  • Supports victims in abusive relationships by disseminating healthy relationship guidance and establishing a pilot program to provide financial assistance to survivors in existing an abusive relationship in the military.
  • Provides Contraception Coverage Parity for Military Families by eliminating copays for FDA-approved contraception.
  • Accelerates Production of Modern Body Armor by providing funding to field advanced body armor specialized for women and small-statured males.
  • Strengthens parental leave and access to child care for servicemembers.
  • Improves Implementation of the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Act to make American national security more inclusive for women and expand gender equity in foreign military training programs.
  • Evaluates Title IX Compliance at DoD Schools and establishes a fellowship program to boost attendance of women, especially women of color, in military academies.

Bans pre-dispute nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) covering sexual harassment or assault as a condition of employment in major federal contracts and grants.

Supporting for Military Servicemembers and Families:

  • Provides the largest pay increase in decades for members of the military.
  • Improves financial security of low-income military members and those with family members living with a disability.
  • Protects military communities from Per- and Polyfluorinated Substances (PFAS) chemicals, commonly known as ‘forever chemicals’.
  • Strengthens access to mental health care.

Strengthening our national security: 

  • Extends DoD authority to collaborate with Israel on the development of counter-drone technology and increases its authorized funding.
  • Includes $1 billion for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which provides support and assistance to the Ukrainian Armed Forces — an increase of $700 million above the budget request.
  • Combats reliance on Russian energy on main operating bases. 
  • Requires reporting on Russian atrocities in Ukraine, operations pertaining to Russian “filtration camps,” and threats caused by the global food security crisis.

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 passed by a vote of 329-101. The bill now heads to the Senate for their approval.