Shaheen Adds Numerous Measures to Annual Defense Bill to Aid Americans Suffering from Directed-Energy Attack Injuries

June 16, 2022

(Washington, DC) -- U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement after successfully including numerous provisions in the fiscal year (FY) 2023 National Defense Authorization Act to assist U.S. personnel and their loved ones suffering from anomalous health incidents (AHI) – also known as Havana Syndrome or directed-energy attacks – to get the medical attention they deserve.  

Specifically, Shaheen successfully secured $10 million in funding to support the work of the Anomalous Health Incidents Cross Functional Team, which was established in the FY2022 NDAA, to investigate and mitigate AHIs and to provide care for those impacted. In addition, Shaheen also included a $20 million increase to address the threat characterization and treatment of certain uniformed members, federal civilian employees and their family members affected by AHIs, who’ve faced stigmatization and adverse experiences following their ailments. The annual defense legislation includes a provision that directs a report on the history of AHIs recorded by the Department of Defense, a description of U.S. and adversary technologies that could cause AHIs and recommendations for adapting the military to the threat of AHIs. Shaheen also included language to direct the Director of the Defense Health Agency to brief Congress on efforts to improve victim care. Finally, Senator Shaheen directed the Government Accountability Office to undertake a comprehensive review of the use of the Department of Defense’s Joint Trauma System to fully catalogue personnel and dependents’ exposure to ensure children in particular are being cared for, as well as a review of other processes related to victims’ ability to access care. 

"No American injured in the line of duty should be forced to fight for or justify their need for medical attention. That’s why I've worked across the aisle for years to secure medical benefits for those suffering from ailments as a result of directed-energy attacks. I appreciate the desire from members on both sides of the aisle to make this a priority in the fiscal year 2023 defense legislation cleared by the committee, which will provide substantial funding to investigate the nature of these injuries so we can better care for those afflicted,” said Shaheen. “I also appreciate the inclusion of my provision requiring the Pentagon to produce a report on anomalous health incidents to inform and improve our military’s ability to respond to the threat of AHIs. We need to have confidence in the safety we provide to U.S. personnel and their loved ones when we station them around the globe, which is why it is paramount that we get to the bottom of these attacks to prevent future instances and ensure care to those recovery.” 

Shaheen’s leadership on this issue follows her successful effort in the FY2022 national defense law, which included a Shaheen provision based on her standalone legislation to require the President to designate a senior national security official – now filled by Maher Bitar – to organize a whole-of-government response and direct the heads of relevant agencies to designate senior officials to lead their agency’s response to AHIs. The FY2022 law also included a measure Shaheen supported to ensure wounded officers and their families have immediate access to specialized facilities at Walter Reed. 

In FY2022 government funding legislation signed into law, Shaheen added language to allow the Department of Commerce and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to address the medical needs of their employees or dependents who are likely victims of these attacks. Absent this language, neither the Department of Commerce nor the FBI would be permitted to provide funding to assist their employees who are AHI victims. Senator Shaheen has been a leader in supporting American public servants who have incurred brain injuries likely from directed energy attacks. In October, the President signed legislation Shaheen helped lead, the Helping American Victims Afflicted by Neurological Attacks (HAVANA Act), into law. In the FY2021 NDAA that became law, Shaheen successfully included language to expand a provision in law that she previously wrote to provide long-term, emergency care benefits to all U.S. Government employees and their dependents who were mysteriously injured while working in China and Cuba.