Murphy Measure to Help Departing Servicemembers Successfully Transition to Civilian Life Becomes Law
Legislation will better prepare former members of military to attend college, learn a trade, or start a small business
President Donald Trump today signed into law the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (NDAA), which includes a provision spearheaded by U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park, Fla, that will help the nearly 250,000 servicemembers who leave the military each year achieve their professional and personal goals once they transition to civilian life.
President Donald Trump today signed into law the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (NDAA), which includes a provision spearheaded by U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park, Fla, that will help the nearly 250,000 servicemembers who leave the military each year achieve their professional and personal goals once they transition to civilian life. Murphy, who serves on the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), successfully advocated for the provision as a member of the NDAA conference committee, which was responsible for reconciling the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill in order to produce the final legislation. Murphy was the first freshman Democratic Member of HASC appointed to the NDAA conference committee in nearly 20 years.
“Our nation’s men and women in uniform are some of the most skilled, best trained, and hardest working individuals, yet many of them struggle with their transition to civilian life,” said Murphy. “I’m incredibly proud that my bipartisan initiative to improve the training these departing servicemembers receive is now law. Whether these servicemembers want to attend school, learn a trade, or start a small business—this law will empower them to succeed.”
Departing servicemembers are currently required to participate in the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP), which aims to prepare servicemembers for life after the military by providing them courses on financial management, VA benefits, and job-searching skills. The provision spearheaded by Murphy will ensure servicemembers also take workshops that are tailored to each servicemember’s individual goals. Specifically, Murphy’s provision ensures that servicemembers will have the option to attend at least one specialized, two-day workshop on (1) accessing higher education, (2) career and technical training, or (3) entrepreneurship. Because these targeted courses are optional under current law, very few servicemembers take advantage of them. Murphy’s provision will add these courses to TAP’s mandatory curriculum, thereby guaranteeing that more men and women in our military will benefit from these courses and, as a result, will be better prepared to make a successful transition to civilian life.
This provision is rooted in a bipartisan bill Murphy introduced in February along with U.S. Representative Jack Bergman, R-Mich., a retired three-star Marine Corps general. Murphy’s bill, H.R. 4954, the BATTLE for Servicemembers Act, earned the endorsement of several influential veterans service organizations, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Student Veterans of America, and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
With the passage of the NDAA, 13 Murphy-led measures are now law, and an additional 12 have been approved by the U.S. House.