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.

This Week in Civil Liberties (5/18/12)

This Week in Civil Liberties (5/18/12)

By Rekha Arulanantham, ACLU at 3:22pm
Which law could be used to restrict the right to protest at next week’s NATO summit?
One Thing Maine, Virginia and Arizona Have in Common: Opposition to the NDAA

One Thing Maine, Virginia and Arizona Have in Common: Opposition to the NDAA

By Allie Bohm, Advocacy & Policy Strategist, ACLU at 10:46am

This week, the House Armed Services Committee has turned its attention back to the National Defense Authorization Act and began working on this year's bill. You remember last year's perversion that, for the first time in American history, codified…

A Slick Trick on the NDAA and Indefinite Detention; Don't Be Fooled!

A Slick Trick on the NDAA and Indefinite Detention; Don't Be Fooled!

By Chris Anders, Senior Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:36pm

H.R. 4388, the "Right to Habeas Corpus Act," sounds like something good, but it's meaningless.

36 Hours Left! Tell Congress to Pass the Smith-Amash Amendment to the NDAA

36 Hours Left! Tell Congress to Pass the Smith-Amash Amendment to the NDAA

By Chris Anders, Senior Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:26am

The amendment makes clear that the U.S. is off-limits to indefinite military detention and that military commissions cannot be used for civilians in the United States.

Have You No Shame? Torture Memo Author to Testify Against Blocking NDAA Powers in USA

Have You No Shame? Torture Memo Author to Testify Against Blocking NDAA Powers in USA

By Chris Anders, Senior Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 6:39pm

At today's NDAA hearing, torture memo author Steven Bradbury will advise the Senate not to block the use of the NDAA indefinite detention powers in the United States itself.

Reid Detains Defense Bill over Problematic Detention Language

By Sam Milgrom, Washington Legislative Office at 2:57pm

Earlier this month, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) made it clear that significant changes to the detention provisions in the Defense Authorization bill are in order. In a letter to Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and John McCain (R-AZ), Reid…

On the Agenda: Week of May 14–18, 2012

On the Agenda: Week of May 14–18, 2012

By Suzanne Ito, ACLU at 12:39pm

This week the House will debate the NDAA for fiscal year 2013. We'll be monitoring the debate and pulling for an amendment that fixes the terrible detention provisions in last year's bill.

Behind Closed Doors: Congress Trying to Force Indefinite Detention Bill on Americans

Behind Closed Doors: Congress Trying to Force Indefinite Detention Bill on Americans

By Chris Anders, Senior Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Chris Anders, Senior Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:45pm

For most of America, the end of the year is a busy time. In Congress, this is a season usually spent trying to jam through bad bills while they hope no one is looking.

Seriously? Senate Considering Repeal of Anti-Torture Measures

By Ateqah Khaki at 11:16am

Yesterday, the ACLU and over 30 other organizations sent a letter to the Senate asking them to oppose an effort in Congress that threatens to revive the use of torture and other inhumane interrogation techniques. If passed, an amendment introduced…

Will the Senate Forget the Lessons from Japanese-American Internment?

By Amanda Simon at 1:02pm

The U.S. Senate is considering the unthinkable, changing detention laws to imprison people – including Americans – indefinitely and without charge. Before they proceed, they should review our own history by listening to the voices of…

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