This year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has been kicked around in Congress since the middle of the summer and the window for getting it resolved is starting to grow a bit slim. This has traditionally been considered a fairly nonpartisan, “must-pass” measure since it funds some of our most sensitive military and intelligence activities. This year’s version has a particular significance for me (for reasons I’ll get to below), but the whole package revolves around funding for things that really aren’t optional in most cases. We’re still on hold at the moment, however, largely because of one provision that was endorsed in both chambers, with a few minor differences, but could wind up sinking the whole thing. Congress, for better or worse, is including provisions to rename America’s military bases that are currently named after Confederate military figures and leaders. The President has threatened to veto the bill if that provision is included, so some sort of deal will need to be made. (The Hill)
House Democrats are backing a Senate-passed provision to rename military bases named after Confederates in three years as part of negotiations over the annual defense policy bill, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said Friday.
The timeline is slower than the one-year deadline the House approved, but House Democrats adopting it as their negotiating stance puts Senate Republicans in the position of arguing against something they already approved.
“This is a simple provision that was in the Senate language,” Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) told reporters at the Capitol on Friday. “What we are insisting — this is the irony — the House is insisting that the conference report accept the Senate language.”
As most regular readers already know by now, I think this call for scrubbing the names of Confederate leaders from the annals of history is an unwise, misinformed effort. Erasing history doesn’t work, and these types of SJW maneuvers continue to pretend that there were horrific losses on both sides in the Civil War. Congress gets to decide on such things, however, and it appears that there is sufficient bipartisan support for the proposal that it’s going to happen. But not only is the President threatening to veto the bill, Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, is threatening to pull the base renaming language out of the bill entirely. Either of those factors could tie things up further.
I have a particular interest in the NDAA this year because of language that Marco Rubio and the members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence put into the Senate version. It deals with instructions for the Pentagon UAP Task Force (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, or UFOs, if you prefer) to restructure how they share intelligence and prepare a report on their findings for public consumption. I wrote about this at length back in June if you’re not familiar with it. This would be a very big deal in terms of disclosure, transparency and potentially ending UAP secrecy on the part of our government.
That House version does not contain the UAP Task Force directives, but there has been no specific objection to it put forward. As such, the language should make it into the vinal version, but now it would remain trapped along with the rest of the included provisions. I was reminded of this earlier this week when a friend on Twitter pointed out the issues with this bill being stalled.
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's directive seeking a mid-2021 report on UAP is now a small piece of cargo tucked deep in the hold of a very large legislative vessel– and that vessel is in danger of sinking because of a dispute about Confederate generals.#ufotwitter https://t.co/RhCfiVv5OC
— D. Dean Johnson (@ddeanjohnson) November 20, 2020
Whether you give a hoot about the UAP Task Force or not, this is one of those bills that really shouldn’t be turned into a political football. If there is sufficient bipartisan support among our elected representatives for renaming the bases, we should probably just get on with it, whether I personally care for it or not. Either way, the NDAA needs to be addressed, even in the midst of all the political and electoral chaos that’s engulfing the nation.
EDIT: (Jazz) The original version of this article incorrectly stated that the UAP Task Force language appeared in the House version of the NDAA. That has been corrected.