Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21), member of the House Armed Services Committee and Chair of the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, released the following statement after the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY2018 was passed by the Committee by a vote of 60-1:
“I thank Chairman Thornberry and all my colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee for their work on this critical national defense legislation,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “Our most important job in Congress is to provide for our national defense, and this year’s NDAA is an important step to repairing the damage that has been done to our military readiness.
“This legislation strengthens our defense capabilities and gives our brave men and women in uniform the resources they need to keep us safe. Throughout the process of writing this bill, I was pleased to ensure our district had a pivotal seat at the table as I fought for initiatives to protect and strengthen Fort Drum, increase our readiness, and help families in our district.”
Stefanik Demands Transparency and Progress for Missile Defense
Congresswoman Stefanik introduced an amendment that demands a full spectrum of factors be considered in the determination of a potential additional continental United States interceptor site. These include existing infrastructure at the location, economic impacts, public support, and the cost to construct and operate. The decision should be made 30 days following the release of the Ballistic Missile Defense Review.
Congresswoman Stefanik stated, “Increasing our missile defense capabilities is critical to securing our nation as rogue regimes like North Korea seek to do us harm. I was pleased to have an amendment included in this bill to require the decision for the location of a future missile defense site need to be made transparently and in a timely manner. I remain steadfast in my belief that Fort Drum would make an ideal site for this installation.”
Stefanik Votes in Favor of 2.4 Percent Service Member Pay
Congresswoman Stefanik supported a 2.4 percent pay raise for those serving in our military.
“We ask so much of our brave men and women in uniform, and I was pleased to support this well-deserved pay raise for our troops. This is the largest pay raise in five years,” added Stefanik.
Stefanik Fights for Military Spousal Licensing
Military spouses must relocate every few years due to their spouse’s job and requirements in the military. Congresswoman Stefanik was able to include her legislation, the Lift Relocation Burden from Military Spouses Act, in the FY18 NDAA. This will require the Department of Defense to provide a reimbursement for licensing fees up to $500 for each Permanent Change of Station and expedite license portability.
“Military spouses serve too – and this language will help alleviate unnecessary stress and expenses, help make job changes easier, and will give these spouses and their families some deserved predictability as they serve their nation. This has been a legislative initiative of mine since last Congress and I am pleased to have it included in this bill. For a district that is home to so many military spouses, this is an important change to ease their burden,” added Stefanik.
Brooke Goldberg, the director of Military Family Policy and Spouse Programs from the Military Officers Association of America stated, “Too often, military spouses face cost prohibitive application or processing fees, testing requirements and other administrative barriers as a direct result of accompanying a service member to their next permanent duty station. These costs affect the entire family’s budget. MOAA is greatly appreciative of this legislation – it is recognition that military families perform the military mission together, supporting each other’s careers, and dealing with the service sacrifice together. We believe this is a valuable retention tool, and a smart way to offset negative impacts of moving to servicemembers and their families.”
Stefanik Requires Stability for Military Family Members
Rep. Stefanik added her legislation, The Military Family Stability Act, to the FY18 NDAA. This legislation improves the transition process for military families when they receive orders for a permanent change of station report date. It would provide military families with the flexibility they need to make a successful transition to their new jobs, schools and communities. Additionally, it will allow military spouses to work up to six months in their current job, or, if they choose, move up to six months early to their next location in order to secure or begin new full-time employment. This bill would also allow military spouses to extend education they may be pursuing, or allow children in military families to smoothly transition to their new school before or after a new term begins.
“As the home of Fort Drum and the Kesselring Navy nuclear site, our district knows firsthand the critical role military families play in supporting our troops and providing for our national defense,” said Stefanik. “Military families make great sacrifices when relocating and transitioning to new schools, jobs and communities, and we must do all we can to help ease their burden.”
Stefanik Includes Additive Manufactured Parts
The legislation recognizes new technological capabilities that revolutionize the industrial supply chain. The ability to utilize new materials in new ways, such as titanium, has the potential to transform how the Department does business. This report language creates the potential for increased opportunities for companies within NY-21 who perform additive manufacturing or 3-D printing.
“Our district continues to grow as a home to many companies that work with cutting edge technology, and I was pleased to include this language that will benefit the Department of Defense and these manufacturers,” added Stefanik.
Stefanik Hails the Fort Drum Health Care Ecosystem as a Model for DoD Installations Nationwide
Congresswoman Stefanik supported language that maintains the unique relationship between the Army and the Fort Drum Health Care Model and warned Members of the Committee against changes that could impact it. The model relies on Army understanding and their ability to synchronize efforts with the North Country Community.
“It is important we work together to maintain the model that provides such great care to our Fort Drum and North Country families,” said Stefanik. “Furthermore, this is a successful model that other military communities can look to and learn from, and I was pleased to support this amendment. I will continue to work with my colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee to fight for rural hospitals like Carthage Area Hospital that face reimbursement challenges with the Defense Health Agency.”
Stefanik Requires Reports to Increase Fort Drum Readiness
Congresswoman Stefanik successfully added a provision that requires reports on unmanned aerial systems and Army power projection platforms. Fort Drum is a critical military installation and we must continue to support the 10th Mountain and our military units as they train to face our future adversaries.
“This report language will help identify gaps with power projection platforms and unmanned aerial systems to ensure that Fort Drum remains a highly relevant and capable military installation, with units ready to face our adversaries,” said Stefanik.
Stefanik Strengthens Cyber Warfare Capabilities
Congresswoman Stefanik included in her Chairman’s mark items that strengthens cyber warfare capabilities and enhance congressional oversight.
Cyberspace is a critical front on the 21st Century Battlefield,” said Stefanik. “Our adversaries – including North Korea, China, Iran, and Russia – are actively investing and developing their cyber capabilities, and we must continue to modernize and develop ours as well. This important legislation is a major part of an overall effort to strengthen our cyber warfare capabilities, enhance our international partnerships, and enhance congressional oversight of sensitive cyber operations and the technical and operational capabilities needed to conduct them.
Stefanik Measure Reinforces Counterterrorism and Unconventional Warfare Capabilities
“The bill includes language our Subcommittee developed that reinforces counterterrorism and unconventional warfare capabilities by fully resourcing U.S. Special Operations Command’s programs and activities, including ongoing efforts in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Eastern Europe,” added Stefanik. “And it strengthens congressional oversight of ongoing CT and unconventional warfare operations and programs, including various Intelligence activities.”
“To provide for the families of Special Operations Forces, we grant permanent authority for family support programs within U.S. Special Operations Command, a proven program that now merits codification to ensure continued support for families and the force.”
Stefanik Supports Defense Innovation, Emerging Technologies, and Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs
“The FY2018 NDAA included our language to support Defense innovation to ensure technological superiority and overmatch for our warfighters against current and future threats,” said Stefanik. “We also include provisions that would advance hypersonics weapons research, development, and transitional efforts within the Department.”
“I thank all of my colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee for their important work on this critical national security document.”