Defense Bill, Saving Joint Base, Signed Into Law

Photo courtesy The Joint Base

FORT DRUM, JEFFERSON, NY – President Donald Trump signed into law a $716 billion defense bill which removed the Base Realignment and Closure provisions for the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

Local congressmen supported the bill for what it would mean for the Joint Base. According to press releases sent by Tom MacArthur (R-3rd) and Chris Smith (R-10th) after they sent the budget to the president’s desk, the act leaves out Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), the federal process to realign and/or close military bases.

It would also authorize $10.2 million for Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst to replace the Hot Cargo Hydrant System, for aircraft that require hazardous cargo parking, according to Smith. The project is needed in preparation for the arrival of the KC-46A refueling tankers, which are expected to begin arriving in FY 2021.

President Donald Trump (Photo courtesy Royalty Free Archive)

“These authorizations will provide an essential boost to the employees at JB-MDL, continuing to upgrade the base and making it the premier refueling hub on the East Coast,” Smith had said. “I am also glad we were able to keep a new round of Base Realignment and Closure out of this legislation.”

The president and vice president addressed the bill, known as the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019, at Fort Drum in New York. According to the White House, the NDAA does several things, including:

  • Adds 15,600 troops across the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps
  • Procures 77 F-35 fighter jets and funds the construction of 13 new battle force ships and accelerates funding for several future ships
  • Increases pay by 2.6 percent

There were, however, several aspects that Trump challenged as “unconstitutional.” They are related to the powers and authority of the office of the president.

For example, a White House press release said the act purports “to restrict the President’s authority to control the personnel and materiel (sic) the President believes to be necessary or advisable for the successful conduct of military missions. While I share the objectives of the Congress with respect to maintaining the strength and security of the United States, my Administration will implement these provisions consistent with the President’s authority as Commander in Chief.”

A full list of challenges is available at