Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21), member of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement after H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act for 2016, was passed by the Committee by a vote of 60-2. 

“I am very proud of the work my colleagues and I on the House Armed Services Committee have done on this vital piece of legislation,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “The federal government has no greater role than providing for our national defense, and I am very pleased that this legislation makes important steps to enhance and strengthen our military.”

$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.”

In addition, yesterday Congresswoman Stefanik successfully added an amendment to the MilCon Appropriations bill that is pending before the House to include this funding as well. 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 Leads on Including $19 million for Fort Drum NCO Academy

“I am also pleased that this legislation 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.

“More must be done to strengthen our national defense, but this legislation is a step in the right direction. I look forward to seeing it come to the House floor in the coming weeks,” said Stefanik.

Stefanik Fights for BRAC HUBzones

Congresswoman Stefanik also successfully had an amendment 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 amendment 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. I thank my colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee for passing this important amendment.”