National Security

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. Also, in response to the rise in hate crimes, Senator Gillibrand has fought to increase the amount of funding for our local religious centers through the Non-Profit Security Grant program that helps these organizations install security for their structures. 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

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.  AT&T was selected by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) to build and manage the first broadband network dedicated to America’s police, firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS). The FirstNet network will cover all 50 states, 5 U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, including rural communities and tribal lands in those states and territories.

In addition to creating a nationwide, high-speed mobile communications network that will give first responders priority access, the FirstNet will help:

  • Improve rescue and recovery operations to help keep first responders out of harm’s way
  • Better connect first responders to the critical information they need in an emergency
  • Further improve the development of near real-time information on traffic conditions to determine the fastest route to an emergency
  • Enable advanced capabilities, like wearable sensors and cameras for police and firefighters, and camera-equipped drones and robots that can deliver near real-time images of events, such as fires, floods or crimes

Strengthening The U.S.-Israel Friendship

Senator Gillibrand is committed to strengthening 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, to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, to collaborate on renewable energy development, and to support Israel’s continued efforts to bring peace and security to its people. Senator Gillibrand has led the bipartisan effort to ensure that Congress fully funds U.S.-Israeli missile defense cooperative programs that create a multi-tiered defensive system over Israel, including Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow.

She will continue to fight to ensure that the U.S. will always stand with Israel, our historic and closest ally in the Middle East.

Protecting New York's Military Assets

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, Rome Air Force Research Lab, 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, the Kenneth A. Kesselring Site, Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory 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. Senator Gillibrand has opposed previous requests for another round of base closures, and she will continue to oppose new requests. 

As Congress has dealt with the results of the Budget Control Act, Senator Gillibrand has worked hard to ensure New York’s National Guard does not bear a disproportionate burden of defense cuts. She’s worked to attract new cyber security, refueling and remotely piloted missions for which New York is uniquely suited. She has been a leader in arguing for the use of the National Guard in cyber security, raising the issue at multiple hearings, briefings, and meetings, ensuring that the Guard cyber teams are fully funded and attracting a Cyber Protection Team to New York. 

Fighting For Those Who Fight For Us

As ranking member, of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Gillibrand has fought hard for service members, retirees, and their families. Military readiness is harmed when servicemembers are worried about their families’ healthcare, school or work. That is why Senator Gillibrand has pushed the Defense Department to provide proper care for dependents with autism and changed the law so that servicemembers and retirees can leave their Survivor Benefit Plan annuities in a trust for special needs dependents. She also has worked to pass the bipartisan Military Family Stability Act, which would provide families that move as often as every two or three years with the ability to move before or after their servicemember so that kids can finish school years or spouses can successfully transition jobs. Senator Gillibrand has fought hard for servicemembers with mental health injuries who received other than honorable discharges to be able to dispute their discharges and receive the care and benefits they deserve. She also limited what could be burned in burn pits and fought for more research on the impact of burn pits on the health of servicemembers.

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

On December 3, 2015, then-Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, ordered all positions in the military be opened to women. Women had already been serving shoulder to shoulder with male servicemembers, and dying in combat. Senator Gillibrand introduced the Gender Equality in Combat Act in 2012, to require the Department of Defense to report on implementation of the termination of the ground combat exclusion policy, which barred women from serving in combat units. and included a similar provision in the NDAA. Now that the exclusion has been lifted, and women can serve in all positions, Senator Gillibrand is focused on ensuring that the services put in place the systems to recruit and retain women for combat positions, and set them up for success.

Cybersecurity

Senator Gillibrand has fought to ensure that the United States has the cyber warriors it needs to protect our military and our country from cyber attacks. She has focused on recruitment and retention of the best cyber experts in the Department of Defense by ensuring that the National Guard plays a role in our cyber defenses – allowing for people with expertise outside the military to serve their country while also developing their skills in the private sector. Thanks to her efforts, the National Guard is building teams across the country, including New York, that can provide cyber support not only to the federal government, but also to their state governments. She also encouraged the services to create career paths for its cyber warriors and provided the Department and the military with special hiring authorities to bring in top civilian cyber talent.  

Senator Gillibrand has also focused on promoting policies that ensure small businesses, individuals, and governments are able to adequately assess and address cyber vulnerabilities. To accomplish this, she has focused on industry and sector specific information sharing, leveling the playing field for small businesses, and developing at 21st century workforce to fill the jobs that protect our data

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