S. 316 (112th): Fort Hood Victims and Families Benefits Protection Act

112th Congress, 2011–2013. Text as of Feb 10, 2011 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

II

112th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 316

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

February 10, 2011

(for himself and Mrs. Hutchison) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Armed Services

A BILL

To ensure that the victims and victims' families of the November 5, 2009, attack at Fort Hood, Texas, receive the same treatment, benefits, and honors as those Americans who have been killed or wounded in a combat zone overseas and their families.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Fort Hood Victims and Families Benefits Protection Act.

2.

Findings; sense of Congress

(a)

Findings

Congress makes the following findings:

(1)

Fort Hood, Texas, has played a highly prominent role in the Global War on Terror, deploying more members of the Armed Forces into overseas theaters of combat since September 11, 2001, than any other United States military installation.

(2)

The members of the Armed Forces and community of Fort Hood have answered the call to service with honor and distinction, and the post has paid a steep price, suffering more combat casualties in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom than any other United States military installation.

(3)

In February 2011, the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate issued a report entitled A Ticking Time Bomb: Counterterrorism Lessons from the U.S. Government's Failure to Prevent the Fort Hood Attack, which stated the following: On November 5, 2009, 13 Americans – 12 servicemembers and one civilian employee of DoD – were killed and 32 were wounded in an attack at the military base at Fort Hood, Texas. This tragedy was the deadliest terrorist attack within the United States since September 11, 2001.

(4)

In the wake of the brutal September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, the Federal Government set a historical precedent when it awarded the victims of those attacks who were members of the Armed Forces with the Purple Heart medal and the victims of those attacks who were civilian employees of the Department of Defense with the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom.

(5)

In the aftermath of the attack that occurred at Fort Hood, Texas, on November 5, 2009, this precedent should be followed in accordance with current criteria for awarding the Purple Heart, as established in Executive Order No. 11016, and the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom.

(b)

Sense of Congress

It is the sense of Congress that—

(1)

any member of the Armed Forces or civilian employee of the Department of Defense who was killed or wounded in the attack that occurred at Fort Hood, Texas, on November 5, 2009, and the family members of those victims, should receive the same treatment and benefits as the victims and families of victims of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States;

(2)

these Americans have made tremendous sacrifices, and the United States should provide them with the maximum level of benefits available, identical to the level of benefits available to those who have been killed or wounded in an overseas combat zone such as Iraq or Afghanistan; and

(3)

the Department of Defense should duly honor the Americans who were killed or injured in the attack at Fort Hood with awards that serve to recognize their physical sacrifices, including the Purple Heart Medal for members of the Armed Forces and the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom for civilian employees of the Department of Defense.

3.

Treatment of members of the Armed Forces and civilian employees of the Department of Defense who were killed or wounded in the November 5, 2009, attack at Fort Hood, Texas

(a)

Treatment

For purposes of all applicable Federal laws, regulations, and policies, a member of the Armed Forces or civilian employee of the Department of Defense who was killed or wounded in the attack that occurred at Fort Hood, Texas, on November 5, 2009, shall be deemed as follows:

(1)

In the case of a member, to have been killed or wounded in a combat zone as the result of an act of an enemy of the United States.

(2)

In the case of a civilian employee of the Department of Defense—

(A)

to have been killed or wounded while serving with the Armed Forces in a contingency operation; and

(B)

to have been killed or wounded in a terrorist attack.

(b)

Exception

Subsection (a) shall not apply to a member of the Armed Forces whose death or wound as described in that subsection is the result of the willful misconduct of the member.