WASHINGTON, DC:Yesterday, Congresswoman Jen Kiggans (VA-02) introduced the Securing the Chain of Command Continuity Act following reports that essential members of the U.S. government, including the President, were left in the dark over the Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s recent absence due to health challenges. At a time when our nation is facing countless global threats, this bipartisan legislation ensures a continuous chain of command among members of the National Security Council (NSC) to preserve America’s nation defense superiority. Congressman Don Davis (NC-01) has joined Congresswoman Kiggans in this important effort to protect the integrity of the national security apparatus.
Specifically, this legislation would amend the Federal Vacancies Reform Act to require all members of the NSC to provide notification to the Executive Office of the President, the Comptroller General of the United States, and to each chamber of Congress within 24 hours of any planned or emergent medical incapacitation. In the event this notification does not occur, the respective agency would be required to submit a comprehensive report providing transparency surrounding the incapacitation and related notification failure to the above entities within 30 days.
“I’m concerned for Secretary Austin’s health and wish him well, however, the Department of Defense’s lack of transparency surrounding his hospitalization is very concerning,” said Congresswoman Kiggans. “As someone who served in the Armed Forces for nearly 10 years, I’m alarmed by reports that those in the chain of command were not informed about Secretary Austin’s status for days. At a time when our nation is facing threats around the world, we cannot afford for those who are critical to America’s national security to disappear without explanation and a clear delegation of their consequential responsibilities. I’m hopeful my bipartisan legislation will receive a vote soon so that we can prevent any similar chain of command breakdowns in the future and preserve the integrity of our national security.”
“If we have learned anything from the past several months, it is that we live in a dangerous world,” said Congressman Don Davis. “As tensions and threats rise across the globe, timely responses are vital to safeguard the American people. Congress must require National Security Council agencies to provide a notice of the incapacitation of its agency head within 24 hours. We owe this to the American people.”
The full text of the Securing the Chain of Command Continuity Act can be found here.