Jefferson County, NY – Today, President Donald Trump traveled to Fort Drum to sign into law the FY’19 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). President Trump made this trip at the invitation of Rep. Stefanik. The NDAA, co-written by Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21), includes several provisions she authored.
“I am honored that President Trump accepted my invitation and traveled to our district to sign into law the most important national security legislation that Congress writes,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “President Trump’s visit was an important opportunity to thank our brave men and women in uniform for their service as he signed into law the largest pay raise for our troops in nine years.
“This bipartisan bill also strengthens our military readiness, which will help military installations around the country -- including Fort Drum. 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 on 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 employment 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
“Before today, Members of Congress were 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 signed into law today that 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 is ensuring 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 National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence 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 vital that the United States leads on this issue.”
The language Rep. Stefanik 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 Commission, and conduct a thorough review of the wide-ranging military applications of this decisive technology.
Stefanik Initiative to Counter Russian Propaganda Included
During House floor debate, Congresswoman Stefanik successfully amended the legislation to include her bipartisan bill, the Countering Foreign Propaganda Act of 2018. This legislation demands greater transparency from foreign government owned media outlets in the United States by requiring outlets to disclose their ownership and government ties to the FCC and American people.
“This legislation is a critical initiative as we work to counter information warfare from adversarial nations, including Russia,” said Stefanik. “We must ensure transparency and public disclosure from foreign media outlets so that the American public knows where this information originated.
Stefanik Initiative to Improve Support for Military Families with Children with Special Needs Included
“The families of our Servicemembers make huge sacrifices for our freedom, and it is a priority of mine to support them as much as possible. This provision will help improve the quality of education for a group that has been inadvertently disadvantaged for a long time.” added Stefanik.
The language Rep. Stefanik included in the NDAA will establish common performance measures and outcome metrics to assess the quality of family support provided by the Exceptional Family Member Program. It also directs the Department of Defense to conduct a review and to report to the House Armed Services Committee on the feasibility of creating mandatory interstate compacts for schools supporting special needs children in military families. This will improve the continuity of learning for children of our Servicemembers, whose academic development does not follow the standard path of most school systems.
NDAA Authorizes $10.9 Million for Kesselring Site
The NDAA includes funding authorizations for five projects across Upstate New York, including a plant project at the Kenneth A. Kesselring Naval Nuclear Reactor Site.
“This funding is critical to ensuring the Kesselring Site remains a top-flight installation in our district, and I will work through the appropriations process to ensure this funding is delivered,” added Stefanik.
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 continue to be 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 Ceramic Capabilities 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. The briefing should include an overview of advances in ceramic production processes and technologies, the benefits ceramic capabilities provide, and any forecasted adoption of ceramic capabilities into current weapon systems.
“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.”