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Obama signs defense bill, criticizes Congress' Guantanamo restrictions

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Defense bill signedPresident Barack Obama Thursday signed legislation to fund the nation's defense, a measure that includes a small military pay raise and changes in how the military deals with sexual assault allegations.

Congress approved the legislation with bipartisan votes juse before ending its 2013 session last week.

The bill would provide about $625 billion for defense operations, slightly less than last year.

It includes a 1 percent military pay raise, and continues the current ban on transferring detainees at Guantanamo Bay to the United States.

Obama called the restrictions "unwise," and said he continues to "oppose these provisions, as I have in years past, and will continue to work with the Congress to remove these restrictions."

The bill also makes changes in how sexual assaults are handled. Here's a rundown from Congressional Quarterly about those changes:

"The agreement would strip commanders of the authority to dismiss a finding by a court-martial. Under the measure, commanders also would be prohibited from reducing guilty findings to guilty of a lesser offense. It also would require a civilian review if a commander declines to prosecute a case.


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