Congresswoman Wilson on the Passage of the National Defense Authorization Act
Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson issued the following statement after the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes her amendment that requires the Department of Defense to implement policy and operational changes to avoid deadly incidents like the ambush in Niger that led to the deaths of four American soldiers:
“Since learning of the catastrophic loss of my constituent, Sgt. La David Johnson, and his three comrades who were killed during an ambush in Niger, I have had a nagging feeling that if better prepared, these four heroes might still be with us.
“To help prevent the likelihood of another travesty like this from happening again, I co-authored an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which requires the Department of Defense to identify measures to mitigate operational risks and increases the preparedness of soldiers assigned to conduct missions, operations and other activities in Niger.
“Today the U.S. House overwhelmingly passed NDAA, which includes my amendment, by a vote of 359-54.
The Niger ambush made it tragically clear that improvements throughout the chain of command and military services are needed and that DOD must provide greater transparency, communicate to Congress its objectives in Niger and the broader region, and justify their relevance to U.S. national security.
“My inquiries about the circumstances surrounding Sgt. Johnson’s continue and earlier this week I received a briefing by top House Armed Services Committee staff to review material related to the incident. I also am working on ways to honor Sgt. Johnson, who left behind a loving wife, three young children, and an extended family, as well as an entire community that dearly loved him.”