Washington, D.C. – During this week’s markup of the FY2020 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik’s requests regarding Fort Drum’s Railhead and an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Hangar were passed. Congresswoman Stefanik met with Secretary of the Army Mark Esper in March of this year to request that the Railhead be a top priority for the Army. Shortly after, the Army submitted an Unfunded Requirements (UFR) for military construction in FY20 with the railhead as their top infrastructure priority.
Fort Drum plays a critical role in national defense with its rapid deployment capability, and a fundamental element of this is Fort Drum’s railhead. Unfortunately, current limitations exist that severely restrict Fort Drum’s ability to support such requirements. For example, the existing railhead does not support simultaneous loading and unloading. Additionally, the limited rail area storage, restrictive maneuver area, and the limited marshalling area coupled with the harsh winter conditions severely hamper current railhead operations.
“First and foremost, I need to thank Secretary Esper and Major General (P) Piatt for their excellent advocacy for a top priority of mine – Fort Drum’s Railhead,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “Rapid deployment capability is one of the core features of Fort Drum’s critical role in our nation’s defense. I’m proud to have led the charge in Congress to deliver this win for Fort Drum and the North Country. I will continue advocating to strengthen and protect Fort Drum, and I am working to ensure this provision is authorized in the upcoming NDAA.”