Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21), member of the House Armed Services Committee and Vice Chair for the Subcommittee on Readiness, released the following statement after H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act for 2016, was passed by the full House by a bipartisan vote of 269-151.

“The federal government has no greater role than providing for our national defense, and I am very proud that the House has passed this vital piece of legislation,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “I commend Chairman Thornberry for his leadership and our Subcommittee Chairs for their exhaustive efforts on this legislation that makes important steps to enhance and strengthen our military.”

$30 Million Provided for East Coast Missile Defense Site

“Specifically, I am very proud that $30 million for the planning, design and construction of an East Coast Missile Defense Site was included in the NDAA,” added Stefanik. “Missile defense shields our nation from hostile incoming warheads, and with the escalation of threats by rogue nations, like North Korea and Iran, the United States must be ready -- not just to retaliate -- but to actually stop an attack.”

In addition, Congresswoman Stefanik successfully added an amendment to the MilCon Appropriations bill that passed the House to include this funding as well. Fort Drum has been identified as one potential location for an East Coast Missile Defense Site and the Pentagon estimates that the base would employ up to 1,800 military and civilian personnel and contractors if it were selected.

Stefanik Amendment on Army’s Force Structure Passes House

The House also included an amendment offered by Congresswoman Stefanik and Congressman John Fleming (R-LA-4) that would require the Department of Defense to analyze further reductions to the U.S. Army’s Force Structure.

“Since September 11th, 2001, the 10th Mountain Division has been the most actively deployed division to Iraq and Afghanistan and are currently there serving our nation in these highly kinetic combat zones,” added Stefanik.

“We are asking our brave service men and women to do more with less over and over again. Representing such a high operational tempo unit, I am truly concerned about long-term impacts on force structure due the budget cap constraints, on what the Department of Defense referred to as severe deployment demands.”

Stefanik Leads on Including $19 million for Fort Drum NCO Academy

“I am also pleased that this legislation provides funding for the NCO Academy at Fort Drum. This project is required to provide adequate barracks, instructional, and operational space meeting current standards for NCO training.

“More must be done to strengthen our national defense, but this legislation is a step in the right direction and I am proud to see it pass the House,” said Stefanik.

Stefanik Fights for BRAC HUBzones

Congresswoman Stefanik also successfully had an amendment added to the NDAA in Committee that will adjust the requirements of the Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) program under the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Act. This amendment extends the length of time for eligibility to either eight years or until the next census data is released, whichever is longer, giving the former military base adequate time to take advantage of the HUBZone program.

“The North Country community knows all too well the devastating effects that base closures can have on local economies after the Plattsburgh Air Force Base closed in 1995,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “I was pleased to introduce this important amendment to the NDAA that would expand access to the HUBZone program to the communities of recently closed military bases and help protect local economies.”