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Rubio Joins Shaheen, Colleagues to Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Help Americans Affected by Directed Energy Attacks & Direct Unified Government Response

Aug 3, 2021 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Susan Collins (R-ME), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) in introducing a bipartisan bill to reform the U.S. government’s investigation and response to suspected directed energy attacks, also referred to as “Havana Syndrome,” and improve access to care for impacted individuals. The legislation would require the President to designate a senior national security official to organize a whole-of-government response and direct the heads of agencies involved in the interagency response to designate a senior official to be responsible for their agency’s response. It would also create workforce guidance to increase awareness of these attacks and strengthen avenues for reporting symptoms. The bill would authorize $45 million to support these response efforts through the U.S. Department of Defense – $30 million of which would be used to improve access to care for impacted individuals. 

Rubio is Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and a senior member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

“Building off of the Senate’s passage of the HAVANA Act, which I was proud to introduce with Senator Collins, it’s important we have a whole-of-government effort,” Rubio said. “This bill is an important step in the right direction.”

“U.S. public servants injured by directed energy attacks should be treated with the same urgency as any other American injured in the line of duty. They shouldn’t have to jump through bureaucratic hoops to access the care they need, which compounds the suffering they’ve already endured,” Shaheen said. “I’m proud to help right that wrong today by introducing new bipartisan legislation, which would strengthen interagency coordination and create a whole-of-government response that prioritizes victims. U.S personnel and their families who have been affected by these attacks should be able to seek the care they need as swiftly as possible – access to urgent medical services should not be adversely impacted by government holdups. This legislation builds on my work to get to the bottom of these attacks and help those who are suffering. I urge lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to join me in this effort to put U.S. public servants first to ensure their best recovery outcomes.” 

“The injuries that many victims of probable directed energy attacks have endured are significant and life-altering. I have talked with many of these victims about the debilitating symptoms they have experienced. While they are focusing on their health, they should not have to battle the bureaucracy in order to receive the support they deserve,” Collins said. “This bipartisan bill would build on the HAVANA Act I authored by improving care for victims and coordinating a whole-of-government approach to identify the adversary who is targeting our American personnel.” 

“As anomalous health incidents continue to wreak havoc in the lives of affected diplomats and intelligence officials, it is our responsibility to ensure that any response is commensurate with the arduous work and sacrifices that these individuals have made for our nation,” Warner said. “This legislation will ensure a coordinated, whole-of-government response to what unfortunately remains an ongoing threat to the people of our intelligence community, and to our national security.”  

“We must act urgently and swiftly to investigate the cause of these brazen attacks and better protect our personnel at home and abroad,” Menendez said. “This bill will help ensure we are connecting the dots and taking critical steps to improving the care and treatment for those who have been injured.”

Specifically, the Directed Energy Threat Emergency Response Act would:

  • Direct the President to designate a senior official on the National Security Council as the Anomalous Health Incidents Interagency Coordinator to organize the whole-of-government response;
  • Require the designation of a senior official at relevant agencies involved in the U.S. government response to serve as their agency lead for the coordination of the interagency response, reporting directly to the head of their agency;
  • Mandate the development and issuance of workforce guidance to increase awareness of the threat, share known defensive measures and promote processes for individuals to self-report suspected exposure;
  • Establish a secure, interagency mechanism for personnel across all agencies to self-report suspected exposure and improve access to care;
  • Authorize $45 million in funding to support government response efforts – $30 million of which is required to be used strictly on the provision of care for impacted personnel and medical capacity enhancements.