North Country Congressman Bill Owens, a member of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, says he supports the National Defense Authorization Act for 2013 that was approved in the House of Representatives by a vote of 315-107 Thursday night.
“This legislation will help us supply America’s men and women in the field, protect critical training installations like Fort Drum and continue to maintain the world’s best fighting force,” said Owens.
“I am pleased Congress was able to come together and agree on a path forward in support of America’s military and hope to see this bill signed quickly into law.”
The bill funds Fort Drum, the Army base in Owens’ 21st Congressional District, with $95 million for an aircraft hangar fir combat aviation brigade, $17.3 million for a soldier specialty care clinic, and $25.9 million for data terminal complex at Drum for the Missile Defense Agency.
The bill authorizes a 1.7% pay increase for military men and women. It also caps the number of troops that can be cut from the Army and the Marine corps in a single year.
The bill requires DOD to develop a comprehensive policy on suicide prevention to protect service members. In addition, the bill creates a position within the Office of the Secretary of Defense responsible for overseeing suicide prevention programs throughout the services.
The Senate approved a version of the bill Dec. 4 on a 98-0 vote.