National Defense Authorization Act

Burdie Henri /

Congress is poised to pass suicide-prevention measures for troops and veterans for a third straight year, in part thanks to an Indiana senator.

Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly says post-traumatic stress has always been a problem, but there's a better understanding of it now.

And he says the nature of the last 15 years of war has increased suicide risks, with many troops repeatedly redeployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.

He says some of them become so accustomed to living under a state of war that they have trouble readjusting to civilian life at home.

Kathy Swendiman /

A bill penned by Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly would seek to address doctor shortages in military hospitals by training physician assistants to administer psychiatric treatment to servicemembers.

The bill is attached to the 800-page National Defense Authorization Act, an annual piece of legislation that outlines military funding and expenditures. The Senate Armed Services Committee approved the NDAA last week.

“What we’re trying to do is in effect guarantee that there’s more than enough there for everyone who wants to talk to somebody,” the democrat says.

Courtesy Governor Mike Pence

Governor Mike Pence joins 39 other governors in a bid to keep more National Guard military technicians from becoming federal employees. Section 1053 of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act states that a portion of uniformed employees would need to transition into civilian roles.

Col. Frederic A. Drummond Jr., Chicago District commander, speaks to Sen. Joe Donnelly during a Congressional Staff tour at Brandon Road Lock and Dam, Joliet, Ill., April 22, 2014.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chicago District /

Indiana U-S Senator Joe Donnelly says legislation nearing passage will be an enormous help in preventing suicide among military service members. 

More than three thousand active duty soldiers have taken their lives since 2001.