NDAA

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is a federal law specifying the budget and expenditures of the United States Department of Defense (DOD). Each year's act also includes other provisions, some related to civil liberties.

The FY14 NDAA includes language that will make it easier to transfer detainees at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, home or to third countries that agree to accept them. The language, however, prohibits the transfer of any detainee onto U.S. soil for any reason. The bill also does not include funds for building new, or upgrading old, facilities at Guantanamo—an acknowledgement that the facilities are temporary. The ACLU supports the language as a necessary but incomplete step for beginning to close the military prison for good.

The bill also includes important anti-discrimination protections for service members, including one that requires the DOD to submit a report to Congress that assesses whether its personnel policies for those living with HIV or Hepatitis B reflect an evidence-based, medically accurate understanding of both diseases. This review is welcome because service members have been penalized for behaviors and activities in which no transmission occurred or where there was no meaningful risk that transmission could occur. The FY2014 NDAA also repeals the prohibition on some expressions of private, consensual intimacy by military personnel – regardless of whether they are an opposite-sex or same-sex couple. With the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," this prohibition was stigmatizing and discriminatory.

In December 2011, President Obama signed the 2012 NDAA, codifying indefinite military detention without charge or trial into law for the first time in American history. The NDAA's dangerous detention provisions would authorize the president — and all future presidents — to order the military to pick up and indefinitely imprison people captured anywhere in the world, far from any battlefield. The ACLU will fight worldwide detention authority wherever we can, be it in court, in Congress, or internationally.

For how you can help resist these dangerous provisions, click here.

Under the Bush administration, similar claims of worldwide detention authority were used to hold even a U.S. citizen detained on U.S. soil in military custody, and many in Congress now assert that the NDAA should be used in the same way again. The ACLU believes that any military detention of American citizens or others within the United States is unconstitutional and illegal, including under the NDAA. In addition, the breadth of the NDAA's detention authority violates international law because it is not limited to people captured in the context of an actual armed conflict as required by the laws of war.

Counting the Days at Guantánamo

Counting the Days at Guantánamo

By Zak Newman, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:15am
The U.S. government took its first prisoners to Guantánamo Bay 12 years ago today.
VICTORY! Military Ban on Consensual Intimacy Ends

VICTORY! Military Ban on Consensual Intimacy Ends

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:33am

In the late hours on Thursday evening, the U.S. Senate, by a vote of 84-15, passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), sending the measure to President Obama for his signature.  Included within the sprawling annual defense authorization…

The Good, Bad, and Ugly for Religious Liberty and LGBT Rights in Defense Bill

The Good, Bad, and Ugly for Religious Liberty and LGBT Rights in Defense Bill

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:15pm

A sure sign of early summer in Washington, besides the sticky, humid air, is the House and Senate Armed Services Committees kicking off the annual process to pass the defense authorization bill – known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).…

The Sweeping License to Discriminate Hidden in the NDAA

The Sweeping License to Discriminate Hidden in the NDAA

By Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:58pm

With Congress having recently approved this year’s NDAA, we think it is important to draw attention to a provision (Section 533(a)(1)), which, though hidden away, is unprecedented, sweeping, and could invite dangerous claims of a right to discriminate against not just lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members, but also women, religious minorities, and in the provision of health care.

Hey Chairman Levin, the Michigan House Says You Should Fix the NDAA

Hey Chairman Levin, the Michigan House Says You Should Fix the NDAA

By Merissa Kovach, Field Organizer, ACLU of Michigan at 4:22pm

As Michigan continues to navigate the ugly partisan shenanigans surrounding the so-called “right to work” legislation currently being jammed through the legislature, at least one beacon of light deserves recognition.

Last week,…

Tweet to Restore Fairness to Servicewomen

Tweet to Restore Fairness to Servicewomen

By Alicia Gay, ACLU at 3:12pm

We are defending a Constitution that doesn’t apply to us.

Those are the words that a young servicewoman, Jessica Kenyon, shared with us last year.  Jessica joined the U.S. Army in 2005, and while she was stationed in Korea she…

Don't Be Fooled by New NDAA Detention Amendment

Don't Be Fooled by New NDAA Detention Amendment

By Chris Anders, Senior Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:14pm

The Senate is once again debating the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and is within a day or two of voting yet again on the issue of indefinite detention without charge or trial in the United States itself.

Last year, Congress…

At DADT Repeal’s One-Year Anniversary, Refusing to Turn Back the Clock

At DADT Repeal’s One-Year Anniversary, Refusing to Turn Back the Clock

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:09am

This Thursday, September 20, marks one year since the discriminatory policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) finally came to an end, opening the door to service in the Armed Forces to individuals regardless of their sexual orientation.

Please Tweet for Torture Awareness

Please Tweet for Torture Awareness

By Allie Bohm, Advocacy & Policy Strategist, ACLU at 6:44pm

June: best known for school ending, kids’ going to camp, longer days, and increasing temperatures. Also known for being Torture Awareness Month. And, tomorrow, June 26, is International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (as declared…

And Now Rhode Island

And Now Rhode Island

By Allie Bohm, Advocacy & Policy Strategist, ACLU at 2:29pm

Rhode Island’s state legislature adjourned on Tuesday – or, according to their floor calendars, sometime after 2 am on Wednesday morning. (Ouch!) As in most state legislatures, the last day of session saw a flurry of activity,…

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