H.R. 5515 known as the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019. contains two significant provisions for the Military Working Dog (MWD) community. H.R. 5515 has been passed by both the Houses of Congress and is awaiting President Trump's signature to become Law.
The primary purpose of the NDAA is to provide appropriations authorization for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, along with prescribe military personnel strengths.
Transporation for Retired K9s to the Continental U.S.
The first major provision is the amendment to Section 2583(f) of title 10, United States Code by adding a new paragraph. This new paragraph obligates the Secretary of the military department to provide and fund transportation for Military Working Dogs (MWDs) located outside the continental United States at the time of retirement as long as they are suitable for adoption. One caveat to this requirement is if transportation to the continental United States is not in the best interest of the canine for medical reasons.
Military Working Dog - Guardians of America's Freedom Medal
The second provision is the establishment of the "Guardians of America's Freedom Medal". This medal is to recognize the valor and meritorious achievement of military working dog handlers and military working dogs.
While some MWDs have been awarded traditional commendation medals for their service, most do not get recognized in the same manner as their human counterparts. These piece of legislation addresses this gap by establishing the first commendation medal for Military Working Dogs.
For those in the working dog community, it is past due to properly recognize the service of the fur covered heros.