Rep. Crawford Introduces EOD Legislation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sara Robertson (Sara.Robertson2@mail.house.gov)

Rep. Crawford Introduces EOD Legislation

5/22/2024

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Rick Crawford (AR-01) introduced a series of bills this week that will improve the welfare of our military’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) personnel. Crawford, the founder and chairman of the House EOD Caucus, worked with caucus members on the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) to include each of these bills in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which should receive full committee approval this week. 

“The concerns and challenges within the EOD community are unique and deserve adequate solutions. As a former Army EOD tech, my position in Congress allows me to be a vocal proponent for the betterment of our nation’s active, National Guard, and retired EOD service members and their families. Initiatives that improve our techs’ incentive pay, address the issue of suicide within our community, ensure superior protection here at home, and designate a key official to add to the representation of EOD in the Pentagon are reforms we all can support. I’m thankful to have several of my HASC colleagues championing these important topics in the FY25 NDAA,” Rep. Crawford said.

H.R.8474 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Incentive Pay Improvement Act of 2024

Co-led with EOD Caucus member Representative Trent Kelly (MS-01), this bill eliminates the paygrade factor and makes EOD incentive pay DOD-wide solely based on the years of EOD duty and training. This bill models the format for Army Aviation incentive pay. Rep. Kelly, a member of HASC, has championed this bill in the FY25 NDAA.

“Threats don’t discriminate based on paygrade and neither should the EOD incentive pay,” said Rep. Crawford.

“EOD personnel undertake some of the most dangerous and critical missions within our armed forces. Through this bill, we aim to improve incentive pays for these brave individuals, ensuring their compensation reflects the immense risks and vital importance of their duties. I am very pleased to see this bill included in the House’s version of the NDAA. This legislation acknowledges their unparalleled expertise and dedication, and it reinforces our commitment to supporting those who protect our nation from explosive threats, both at home and abroad,” said Rep. Kelly.

H.R.8475 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Brain Health and Suicide Report Act of 2024

This bill directs the Secretary of Defense to report to Congress on the correlation between explosive ordnance disposal and post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and suicide. Currently, our lack of data on these critical issues is a debilitating blind spot that poses incredible hardships for the efforts to address EOD suicide. Representative Ronny Jackson (TX-13), a member of HASC, has championed this bill in the FY25 NDAA.

H.R.8473 Total Army Analysis Explosive Ordnance Disposal Domestic Response Act of 2024

Co-led with EOD Caucus member Representative Austin Scott (GA-08), this bill directs the Secretary of the Army to report to Congress if the Army EOD forces required for state-side missions like Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) and Very Important Personnel Protection Support Activity (VIPPSA) are not incorporated in the Total Army Analysis (TAA) force structure. The caucus has reviewed this closely and knows that we do not have the number of Army EOD personnel we need to complete all required missions. DSCA missions, which are required by law, include response to natural disasters like hurricanes, preparing for special events like presidential inaugurations, or filling local law enforcement capability gaps in addressing threats like school bomb threats. During times of conflict, EOD forces are often designated for the fight overseas and minimal personnel are allocated to respond to DSCA missions state-side. This leaves our homeland vulnerable and places a burden on the EOD forces that are state-side to work overtime. Similarly, under DOD’s VIPPSA required mission, DOD provides EOD support to the U.S. Secret Service and Department of State related to the protection of certain U.S. and foreign officials and persons, including the President of the United States, the Vice President, their spouses, and visiting dignitaries. Demand for EOD forces for VIPPSA missions can be manpower-intensive and frequent. This bill requires the Secretary of the Army to report to Congress on the risks of not including these missions within TAA and any reasoning why they are being left out. Rep. Scott, a member of HASC, has championed this bill in the FY25 NDAA.

“Rep. Rick Crawford, a former EOD Technician, is the right man to listen to regarding EOD policy. I appreciate his expertise and am proud to support his EOD initiatives,” said Rep. Austin Scott.

H.R.8476 Department of the Army’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Enterprise Act of 2024

Also co-led with EOD Caucus member Representative Scott, this bill designates a principal official in the Army Secretariat responsible for EOD. Similar to previous NDAA provisions that have established new positions for EOD in the Army Staff, this bill seeks similar representation for EOD in the Army Secretariat. The Army Staff is responsible for executing the policies and programs set forth by the Army Secretariat, and without a Principal Official in the Army Secretariat, the EOD personnel in the Army Staff are fighting an uphill battle. “If you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re often on the menu,” said Rep. Crawford. Army has the most EOD personnel out of all the services, and this bill will ensure Army EOD members has the representation they deserve. Rep. Scott has also included this bill in this year’s NDAA.

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