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House Passes Meng Provisions to Assist Members of the Military

May 25, 2018
Press Release
Congresswoman’s six measures included in National Defense Authorization Act as Queens and the nation prepare to observe Memorial Day
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Queens and the rest of the nation prepare to observe Memorial Day, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) announced today that the House of Representatives passed several measures she authored which provide needed assistance to members of the military.  
Meng’s provisions include six separate amendments that were attached to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the legislation that sets funding levels and policies for the U.S. Department of Defense for fiscal year 2019. The Congresswoman’s measures include the following:
  • Allowing any member of the armed forces who gives birth to be exempt from deployment for up to twelve months following childbirth.
  • Requiring the Secretary of Defense to permit military parents flexible (non-continuous) maternity and paternity leave, allowing this time off to be spread out over time instead of being used all at once.
  • Authorizing the Secretary of Defense to develop a burn patient transfer system. This would include military and civilian burn centers that could be used in mass casualty events.
  • Authorizing the Jet Noise Reduction Program within the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research in order to reduce noise produced by high performance military jets.
  • Requiring the Department of Defense to create exit surveys on attrition levels for members of the military in order to better understand why attrition rates are higher for women than for men.
  • Adding oversight responsibilities to the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Policy and Oversight Council. The newly created Council currently has no oversight requirement in its mandate. The Council will be responsible for overseeing the research, development and deployment of artificial intelligence and autonomous machines used by the military. The provision was cosponsored by Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL).
“I’m thrilled that six of my provisions were included in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, particularly as we approach Memorial Day,” said Rep. Meng. “My measures would ensure that the Department of Defense is able to retain talent by strengthening family-leave policies and providing data on challenges that women face at various career stages. I’m also proud that my amendments will improve the Department of Defense’s ability to respond during crises and ensure proper oversight of artificial intelligence and machine learning. I now look forward to my provisions in the NDAA moving through the Senate.” 
“In looking towards the future, it is important to maximize the potential for artificial intelligence in a thoughtful and ethical fashion. That is why I’m proud to join efforts with Congresswoman Meng to add an oversight component to the newly created Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Policy and Oversight Council,” said Rep. Soto on his cosponsorship of Meng’s amendment. “Our nation’s economy will strongly benefit from artificial intelligence by helping to create higher paying jobs and improving our quality of life, and this measure will ensure we get there in the right way.”
Aside from one other Member of Congress, Meng secured the most amendments passed in this year’s NDAA. This year, 206 House members submitted 578 amendments for consideration to the bill.