WASHINGTON, D.C.– Today, Rep. Robin L. Kelly (IL-02), voted to pass the FY2022 National Defense Authorization Act, annual legislation specifying expenditures of the U.S. Department of Defense. The NDAA includes three of Rep. Kelly’s bipartisan amendments to establish a Transition Assistance Program for military spouses, to improve interagency communication, and to create a National Digital Reserve Corps.

“I am proud to vote to advance the NDAA, which includes provisions to ensure that our Department of Defense is suited to meet the national security demands of the next year,” said Congresswoman Kelly. “The amendments I offered will contribute to protecting and improving our national security while also establishing innovative public-private partnership through the National Digital Reserve Corps and increase opportunities and resources available for our servicemembers’ spouses. In addition to meeting the needs of our Department of Defense in combating urgent security threats, our defense funding should also meet the needs of the brave men and women who keep us safe.”

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Congresswoman Kelly submitted the following amendments, which were included in the final NDAA as an En Bloc vote:

  • Kelly/Gonzales (TX) Amendment #217 will create a pilot program to support military spouses through their partner’s transition out of the armed forces. Under current law, spouses are allowed to participate in standard Transition Assistance Program courses, but they are assigned the lowest priority and often not encouraged to attend. This pilot program would establish a separate transition program tailored to spouses at 12 military bases throughout the United States.

The courses will focus on job readiness programs, guidance on resources for veterans and their family, and mental health first aid training to help spouses recognize the warning signs of mental illness or substance abuse concerns.

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  • Kelly/Gonzalez (OH) Amendment #218 will ask the Department of Defense to provide its assessment to the civilian agencies responsible for certain aspects of the U.S. civilian and commercial space activities of the threats posed by nation states, in particular China’s activities in space on U.S. civilian and commercial space systems.

This amendment will ensure that the DoD is assessing this threat and that the appropriate civilian agencies are informed of the threat – with the ultimate goal of making sure those agencies are equipped with the right information to help civilian operator mitigate any threats to the greatest extend possible.

  • Gonzales(TX)/Kelly Amendment #158 will include H.R. 4818, the National Digital Reserve Corps Act, which creates a digital reserve corps based at the General Services Administration to recruit tech talent into the government services for 30 - 130 day stints per year at various agencies. This program will help the federal government meet its cyber and digital security needs by bringing in new talent to assist agencies and modernize existing cybersecurity programs and serve as a wonderful opportunity for cyber and AI workers to give back to their country while allowing them to hone critical skills and further develop their careers.

The National Digital Reserve Corps will be comprised of civilian individuals with relevant skills and credentials to address digital, AI, and cybersecurity needs across the federal government. Members of the National Digital Reserve Corps will serve for at least 30 days per year to lend their expertise as advisors, instructors, or developers for federal executive agencies. The National Digital Reserve Corps has been endorsed by industry groups including the National Security Commission on AI, Internet Association, San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, and TechNet.

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