Washington, DC –Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21), Member of the House Armed Services Committee and Chair of the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, spent 14.5 hours in Committee markup passing the FY’19 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) – the most important national security legislation Congress considers each year. The FY’19 NDAA passed out of the House Armed Services Committee by a vote of 60-1.

“I am proud of our Committee's bipartisan work to write the National Defense Authorization Act this year,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “This critical national security legislation authorizes funding for our Department of Defense, and it gives our brave men and women in uniform the resources they need to keep our nation safe.

“As the proud Representative of Fort Drum, I am pleased this legislation provides added funding to increase our military readiness and gives our troops the largest pay raise in nine years. And as a Member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am also pleased that this legislation includes several provisions to counter Russian aggression and to provide new sanctions to the Russian arms industry.”

Stefanik Legislation to Address Military Spouse Unemployment Included

“One of my key priorities for this must pass legislation was to add provisions from my bipartisan bill – the Military Spouse Employment Act of 2018 -- with Rep. Donald McEachin,” said Stefanik. “This aims to increase resources and expand job opportunities for military spouses, who frequently face challenges as a result of their spouses’ service. Military spouses serve too, and it's critical that we work to ensure these brave men and women have the jobs they need and deserve.”

Click here to read more about this legislation.

Stefanik Wounded Warrior Combat Notification Included

“Under current law, Members of Congress are only notified about a combat injury to one of our constituents serving in the military if the individual is transferred to a hospital in the United States,” said Stefanik. “I was pleased that sections from my bipartisan bill – the Expanding Wounded in Action Notification Act – were included that will require the Department of Defense to notify Members of Congress whenever a constituent serving in the armed forces is seriously wounded and hospitalized while on active duty. Many Members of our community are defending our freedoms around the world, and this legislation gives us a better chance to support their families in their time of need.”

Read more about this bill here.

Stefanik Initiative to Make U.S. Global Leader in Artificial Intelligence (AI) Included

As the Chair of the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, one of my key priorities has been to ensure that the United States is the global leader in developing cutting edge AI technology,” added Stefanik. “The provision I included in the NDAA will establish a policy and oversight council to review advances in AI and identify our nation’s AI needs. AI is a critical element of the 21st Century Battlefield, and it is critical that the United States leads on this issue.”

The language Rep. Stefanik had included on AI better organizes the Department of Defense to oversee, accelerate, and integrate Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning across the defense enterprise. The language will establish an AI policy and oversight council, and conduct a thorough review of the wide-ranging military applications of this decisive technology.

Stefanik Provision Continues Fight for East Coast Missile Defense

The East Coast is home to our nation's capital, the center of the world's financial system, as well as several significant population centers,” added Stefanik. “As our enemies' capabilities improve, it is reckless to leave the East Coast open to attack. I have been a strong advocate for an East Coast Missile Defense Site at Fort Drum and included language in this NDAA that supports looking at placing shorter range systems to defend the East Coast.”

Stefanik Provision Increases Transparency at the Defense Health Agency

Congresswoman Stefanik’s office recently helped Carthage hospital recover $6.8 million in reimbursement money owed to it by the federal government after a long dispute over reimbursement rates. “It’s inexcusable for a federal agency to deny a hospital funding that is rightly owed to them,” Stefanik said. The FY’19 NDAA will change the way DHA centralizes control of military healthcare. The language will prohibit the Secretary of Defense from closing or limiting services in any military medical treatment facility until a transition certification process is completed in order to protect and ensure access to care for our military families.

NDAA Supports Advancements in Smelting from Businesses Like Alcoa

The NDAA directs the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering to provide to the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives a briefing on dual-use ceramic capabilities.

“Advancements in smelting like those done at Alcoa have significant overlap with ceramic production methods and could lower ceramic production costs for our military,” added Stefanik. “Advanced ceramics can enhance our ability to protect our troops and equipment, and this language incorporates an important business in our district into the National Defense discussion.”