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Defense Policy Bill Should Require Reporting of Ex Gratia Payments

The House Armed Services Committee voted on Thursday morning to send the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2020 to the House floor. Like the NDAA of 2019, the chairman’s markup of the bill contains a provision—Section 1215—authorizing up to $5,000,000 for ex gratia payments “for damage, personal injury, or death that is incident to combat operations of the United States Armed Forces” in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen. But a continuing loophole allows the Department of Defense (DoD) to skirt public reporting requirements, a gap that should be addressed as debate proceeds.…

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