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.

President Obama Should Listen to the American People – Not His Advisors – on the NDAA.

By Ateqah Khaki at 2:43pm
Last night, the House of Representatives voted to pass the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a bill that contains harmful provisions that some legislators have said could authorize the U.S. military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians, including American citizens, anywhere in the world.

ACLU Lens: Senate Takes Up New Detention Authorities Again Tonight – We Need Your Help!

By Amanda Simon at 11:21am

The Senate’s back in session today, ready to begin once again on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Perfectly timed for the Senate’s return, the San Jose Mercury News ran an incredibly compelling op-ed today by Floyd Mori,…

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…

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…

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.

President Obama: Veto Indefinite Detention

President Obama: Veto Indefinite Detention

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:03pm

As I write this, the Defense Authorization bill is on its way to President Obama's desk. The bill contains dangerous, sweeping worldwide indefinite detention provisions.

Leading members of Congress have already indicated that they believe that…

Help Us Stop Congress From Passing Indefinite Detention Bill!

By Ateqah Khaki at 4:24pm

Earlier this week we told you about Congress trying to rush a bill to the President’s desk that would authorize the military to go literally anywhere in the world to imprison civilians — even American citizens in the United States itself…

Thank You Sen. Baucus for Opposing Indefinite Detention

By Amy Cannata, ACLU of Montana at 3:24pm

We are heartened that Montana Sen. Max Baucus is opposing two provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which strike at the heart of our constitutional protections for a fair justice system.

Those two provisions would authorize…

Senate Armed Services Committee Says "No" to Worldwide War; Overreaches on Indefinite Detention

By Sam Milgrom, Washington Legislative Office at 5:12pm

Hooray! With your help, we prevented the Senate from authorizing the president to engage in worldwide war.

For months, we have been pushing to prevent Congress from passing legislation that would give this president (and any of his successors)…

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