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April 28, 2016

Aguilar Passes Critical National Security Amendments through House Armed Services Committee

This morning, the House Armed Services Committee approved the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 that included three amendments added by Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-San Bernardino). The NDAA is the annual defense policy bill and sets the parameters and direction of United States defense programs for the next fiscal year. Rep. Aguilar’s amendments request the Department of Defense (DOD) to do the following:

  1. improve veterans’ access to commercial driver’s licenses after they leave the military;
  2. further collaborate with Hispanic-Serving institutions to harness the talent and innovation from their science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education programs; and
  3. help sync the curriculum of our Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) education institutions and Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) with the DOD’s Cyber Training Equivalency programs, so that these graduates can help protect our nation and find work in this growing field.

CAE institutions were created by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and are institutions with distinguished cybersecurity education programs. Hispanic-Serving institutions are colleges, universities or systems with at least 25 percent Hispanic enrollment. San Bernardino Valley College, Crafton Hills College, Chaffey College and the University of California, Riverside are all Hispanic-Serving institutions. California State Polytechnic University, Pomona is a certified CAE institution. California State University, San Bernardino is both a CAE institution and a Hispanic-Serving institution.

“Strengthening our national security and our defense program is paramount. That’s why my amendments span across several important areas related to preserving and enhancing our national security, while supporting Inland Empire students and veterans,” said Rep. Aguilar.

He continued, “Supporting critical science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs like the ones offered at our community colleges, and helping returning veterans and students studying cyber defense and network security at schools like Cal State San Bernardino find work are all essential to our national and regional security.”

The amendments were agreed to unanimously during the House Armed Services Committee’s markup of the NDAA. This bill will soon go to the House floor, where it will be debated further by the entire House of Representatives. Last year, four of Rep. Aguilar’s amendments were added to the NDAA for FY 2016 and ultimately passed the House of Representatives. Rep. Aguilar serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the Subcommittees on Strategic Forces and Emerging Threats and Capabilities.