House Passes NDAA Conference Report with Important Measures for Fort Drum and the North Country
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, voted in support of the Conference Report to H.R. 1735 – the FY16 NDAA. Congresswoman Stefanik was the sole freshman negotiator on the bipartisan, bicameral NDAA conference committee and continues to be a leading voice in Congress against sequestration. She released the following statement upon House passage:
“The federal government has no greater role than providing for our national defense and I am proud of the bipartisan hard work of the Conference Committee,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “Every day seems to bring a new headline from around the world reminding us of increasing instability, and it is imperative that we pass an NDAA to give our military the resources they need to keep our country safe. I urge the President to put our national security ahead of politics and sign this NDAA.”
$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.”
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 NDAA conference report also included language 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 conference report 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,” said Stefanik.
Stefanik Fights for BRAC HUBzones
Congresswoman Stefanik also successfully had language added to the NDAA that will adjust the requirements of the Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) program under the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Act. This 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.”
NDAA Includes On Time Apache Transfer to Fort Drum
“This is a big win, as any delay would prevent this transfer to Fort Drum and consequently have grave consequences on 10th Mountain’s readiness, deployment schedule and dwell time,” added Stefanik.