United States Senator Cortez Masto Secures Privatized Military Housing Reform, Prioritizes Needs of Nevada Service Members in 2020 NDAA

Media Release from the Office of U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) released the following statement on the Senate passage of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020, which includes reforms Senator Cortez Masto introduced to improve the management of privatized military housing installations, prioritize the needs of Nevada’s service members stationed at Fallon Naval Air Station and Nellis and Creech Air Force bases, and cut wasteful Department of Defense spending.

“I’m proud to fight for Nevada service members and secure significant reform of privatized military housing in the NDAA. It’s long past time we addressed the unacceptable housing conditions on bases across the country, and these reforms will bring much-needed transparency and accountability, while putting us on the path to guaranteeing every military family has a safe place to call home. I’m also proud to have fought to ensure that the Department of Defense is prioritizing the quality of life for service members on our remote bases, and that we’re addressing pilot shortages throughout the country. With the passage of the 2020 NDAA, I will continue to fight for programs and reforms that put our service members and the resources they need first.”

The following are Senator Cortez Masto’s legislative initiatives that were included in the Senate passage of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019:

Senator Cortez Masto worked closely with her colleagues to craft the most significant privatized military housing reform in the past 20 years. This reform legislation  will create more accountability and improve overall living conditions through the inclusion of:
        Language Senator Cortez Masto proposed in her Better Military Housing Act of 2019, including:
o   Increased oversight of privatized military housing contractors.
o   Strengthened advocacy options for military families facing maintenance backlogs and mismanagement.
o   Improved communication and transparency between the Department of Defense (DoD), contractors and families.
o   Streamlined work order systems and increased information for tenants on work order status and the history of the housing unit’s maintenance.
o   Creation of a Tenant Bill of Rights to attach to all housing agreements.
        Additional provisions to standardize quality assurance programs, create greater accountability for breaches of contract and mandate access to a work order system.

Senator Cortez Masto also worked to include legislation to improve the quality of life for service members on Nevada’s military installations. This includes:
• Legislation to ensure families at remote bases have access to services: Directs the Comptroller General to identify the types of services available at various remote military installations, how the services offered differ between the military branches, and how the Department of Defense determines whether the services provided at remote locations meet the needs of the stationed service members.
• Legislation to address the Air Force pilot shortage: Directs the Air Force to regularly review their billeting processes to ensure they are using their pilots most effectively.
• Legislation directing the Department of Defense to cut wasteful spending: Requires the Department of Defense to define the roles and responsibilities of their Chief Management Officer (CMO), whose role was designed to ensure the DOD is eliminating wasteful spending.

In addition, Senator Cortez Masto cosponsored several pieces of legislation included in the Senate version of the NDAA to protect Americans against cybersecurity attacks and other threats from China.