WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate passed the final National Defense Authorization Act with a version of U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Mike Rounds’ (R-SD) bipartisan legislation, the Better Access to Technical Training, Learning, and Entrepreneurship for Servicemembers Act (BATTLE for Servicemembers Act). These provisions will better connect servicemembers with resources to secure quality education and good-paying jobs as they transition from military service to civilian life. Brown and Rounds were both appointed members of the NDAA Conference Committee. The House passed the final NDAA last week, and the measure is headed to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.
“Our men and women in uniform answered the call to serve, and we have a responsibility to make sure they have everything they need to land good-paying jobs when their service is over,” said Brown.
“The men and women who serve in the U.S. military are some of the smartest, brightest and best-trained individuals our country has to offer. I’m pleased our amendment to help them transition into civilian life was included in this year’s NDAA. It is but one way we can show our gratitude for their service,” said Rounds.
Brown and Rounds introduced the bill in April. The Senators’ legislation would increase participation in programs that help servicemembers transition to civilian life. Specifically, servicemembers will be able to choose a two day training session on either higher education, technical training, or entrepreneurship. Instead of continuing with an opt-in option, the initial bill would make the training opt-out to encourage greater participation by servicemembers. According to a 2017 GAO report, only 14 percent of servicemembers completed at least one additional two-day training program after completing the three day required portion of the Transition Assistance Program (TAP).
Currently, TAP training covers a curriculum that includes sessions on veterans’ benefits, financial planning, and post-service employment. The BATTLE for Servicemembers Act will now supplement the current training and better tailor the sessions to fit the needs of servicemembers.
The legislation was supported by Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Student Veterans of America (SVA), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the Millennial Action Project, and the Bipartisan Center Action.