WASHINGTON, DC — Last week, Congressmen Ronny Jackson (R-TX) and Henry Cuellar (D-TX) introduced H.R. 3769, the bipartisan Servicemember Safety and Security Improvement Act of 2021. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) introduced the companion bill in the U.S. Senate.
This bill would require military instillations to conduct a comprehensive review of its policies and procedures as it pertains to reporting service members AWOL or missing. It would also require the Secretary of Defense to conduct a Department-wide review. Finally, to ensure the safety of servicemembers, this legislation will work to improve communication and cooperation between military commanders and law enforcement at the local level.
Jackson said: “Ensuring the safety and security of servicemembers should not be a partisan issue. We should leave no stone unturned to protect and account for those who sacrifice so much in defense of everything this country stands for. In recent years we have seen examples where the processes in place to account for servicemembers here at home have failed, and my legislation seeks to address that. This means making sure military commanders have every resource at their disposal to protect servicemembers in and around military communities, and that they are able to bring local law enforcement into the fold early on when necessary situations arise. I will work with Republicans and Democrats alike to make sure these commonsense reforms are included in the FY22 National Defense Authorization Act.”
Cornyn said: “As a parent and the son of a veteran, I feel a sense of duty to protect the dedicated servicemembers who sacrifice so much to protect us. The recent deaths of soldiers at Fort Hood have shaken us all, and my hope is that this bill will help us prevent similar tragedies in the future.”
Cuellar said: “Service members protect our freedoms, which are constantly under attack from our adversaries. They put their lives on the line to ensure that the United States continues to be that beacon of hope, the light of democracy. As members of Congress, it is our duty to protect our service members at home and abroad. We must enact sweeping and widespread reform to safeguard military communities on-base. This includes the introduction of updated force protection, additional on-base security and enhanced collaboration with law enforcement. I encourage the House to pass this bill quickly for the safety and security of our service members who sacrifice and serve.”
Jackson serves as a member of the House Armed Services Committee. Bill text can be found here.