"September 11th forever changed America. Protecting New York communities and working with America's allies to prevent terrorism worldwide is critical to our nation's security." - Kirsten Gillibrand, U.S. Senator
Guarding Against The Threat of Terrorism
Senator Gillibrand is fighting to protect New York’s share of antiterrorism funding through grant programs such as the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), and the transit and port security grant programs, which provide New York’s first responders with critical funding to secure our most vulnerable communities and infrastructure. Despite a nationwide cut to homeland security funding in Fiscal Year 2012, the amount of UASI funding for New York did not decrease. Senator Gillibrand will continue to work to ensure that federal antiterrorism funding is targeted to locations, such as New York, that bear the greatest threats against our safety and security.
Providing Critical Tools To First Responders
In 2011, Senator Gillibrand led the fight to pass into law legislation to create a national, interoperable broadband network for our nation’s first responders. This law fulfilled a major recommendation of the 9/11 Commission, and will ensure that all first responders will be able to communicate with each other in the event of an emergency. It will also provide critical broadband capabilities that will bring public safety communications into the twenty-first century.
Strengthening The U.S./Israel Friendship
Senator Gillibrand will continue to strengthen America’s close relationship with the State of Israel. In both the House of Representatives and the Senate, she has stood with Israel to protect its citizens against terrorist threats, strengthen sanctions against Iran to prevent them from developing nuclear weapons, and support Israel’s continued efforts to bring peace and security to its people. The U.S. and Israel have a strong and historic bond, and Senator Gillibrand continues to advocate for policies that strengthen their deep friendship. In the National Defense Authorization Act, Senator Gillibrand voted to add over $300 million to the budget for Israel missile defense, and will continue to fight to ensure that there is no doubt that the U.S. will always stand with Israel, our historic and closest ally in the Middle East.
Protecting New York's Military Assets
Over the next decade, the Department of Defense will need to cut at least $487 billion from the defense budget. With several key military installations across the State of New York, Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is working to ensure that these installations, which keep America safe and help power local economies, are kept strong. These facilities, including Fort Drum, Hancock Air National Guard Base, Stratton Air National Guard Base, Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, Watervliet Arsenal, Stewart Air National Guard Base, Gabreski Air National Guard Base, Fort Hamilton, and the prestigious United States Military Academy at West Point, are vital to not just our National Security, but also to our state’s economy. Despite the administration’s proposal to begin another round of base closures, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) supported by Senator Gillibrand did not include an authorization of a new round.
Senator Gillibrand has worked hard to ensure New York’s Air National Guard does not bear a disproportionate burden of defense cuts. She’s worked to attract new cyber security and remotely piloted missions for which New York is uniquely suited. The Senator has pressed the White House and the Defense Department to rethink the proposed cuts through both correspondence and in person. She raised these issues at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing with Secretary Panetta, General Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Comptroller Hale. She also raised these concerns at the Air Force posture hearing with Air Force Secretary Donley. Finally, she worked with her colleagues during the Senate mark-up of the Defense Authorization bill to ensure Air National Guard units across the country and in New York State were preserved. She will continue to work to ensure greater transparency in the base closure process in the future.
Fighting For Those Who Fight For Us
New York State is home to approximately 25,000 full and part-time members of the National Guard and Reserves. These men and women serve bravely to protect Americans both at home and abroad. However, these servicemen and women do not have the same access to military benefits as active duty service members. Senator Gillibrand continues her work to protect civilian jobs of Guard members who have been deployed, and strengthen the network of support services including health care services, marriage and financial counseling, and substance abuse treatment among other services. Senator Gillibrand has also fought for an increase in access to mental health benefits for those returning from deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan
Additionally, Senator Gillibrand is working to ensure service members who are victims of rape or sexual assault are receiving the necessary medical treatment, and that their cases are being properly investigated and prosecuted. That’s why as Chair of the Senate Armed Services subcommittee on Personnel, Senator Gillibrand held the first Senate hearing on sexual assault in nearly a decade. With sexual assault cases at an epidemic level, she is fighting ensure that victims’ voices are heard by working to pass the Military Justice Improvement Act, to ensure that decisionmaking in sexual assault cases is removed from the military chain of command.
Women In The Military
Women are already serving shoulder to shoulder with male servicemembers, and in fact are dying in combat. Our servicewomen work hard to protect our nation, and Senator Gillibrand is working hard to ensure that they are given every opportunity to advance in their military careers. Senator Gillibrand introduced the Gender Equality in Combat Act, which would require the Department of Defense to report on implementation of the termination of the ground combat exclusion policy, which bars women from serving in combat units. Senator Gillibrand included a similar provision in the NDAA. Senator Gillibrand is proud that Secretary Panetta lifted the ban on women serving in combat roles and our elite branches of service are preparing to implement this new policy.
Senator Gillibrand is also working to ensure that our service women have the same rights as civilian women when facing an unwanted pregnancy as a result of rape or incest. Senator Gillibrand introduced the MARCH for Military Women Act, which would provide women in the military access to abortion services in military hospitals in cases of rape or incest. No servicemember should face the risk to personal safety, particularly after having suffered sexual abuse, when she is in need of health services. Thanks to Senator Gillibrand’s leadership, a provision based on this bill was added to the NDAA.