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Statement by the Press Secretary on the National Defense Authorization Act

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

December 19, 2013

The Administration appreciates the bipartisan work of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014, and their continued support of our service members and national defense.  The bill will, among other things, assist the Armed Forces in operating in unconventional and irregular warfare and countering unconventional threats, support capacity building efforts with foreign military forces, and support contingency or stability operations.  While the bill does not address all of the Administration’s concerns, its provisions regarding foreign transfers of detainees held at the U.S. Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba will provide the Administration additional flexibility to transfer detainees abroad consistent with our national security interests.  The Administration commends the Congress for its work to expand efforts to prevent sexual assault and significantly strengthen protections for victims as well as extending important compensation and benefits for our service members, which are important for recruitment, retention and morale of our Armed Forces.    Although the bill includes a number of provisions that restrict or limit the Defense Department’s ability to align military capabilities and force structure with the President's strategy and implement certain efficiencies, overall the Administration is pleased with the modifications and improvements contained in the bill that address most of the Administration’s significant objections with earlier versions regarding these issues.   The Administration supports passage of the legislation.