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House passes defense bill, brings new mission to Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station

by jmaloni
Thu, Dec 20th 2012 09:10 pm

Representative Kathy Hochul, NY-26, applauded the passage Thursday of the National Defense Authorization Conference Report, which allows for a new mission to be brought to the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.

"I was proud to vote for the defense authorization bill, which not only ensures we have the resources to protect our country, but also creates the opportunity for a remotely piloted aircraft mission at the Niagara Falls Air Base," Hochul said. "Again, I thank my partners in our local delegation and my colleagues on the Armed Services committee who worked in a bipartisan manner to bring about this positive result for our region and local economy."

The new mission brings remotely piloted aircraft or drone missions to the air base. With the importance placed on remotely piloted aircraft, the mission assures the security of the reserve station. More than 1,900 insurgents in Pakistan's tribal areas have been killed by American drones since 2006.

This August, at the invitation of Hochul, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta visited the air base and, citing its strategic importance, committed to preserving the base.

Earlier this year, the Department of Defense announced a proposal to eliminate three C-130s and cut more than 800 positions from NFARS. These cuts represent nearly 16 percent of the total reductions nationwide. In recent months, Hochul has led the fight in the House to push back on these severe cuts. She has met regularly with senior military leadership, including Panetta, and has worked closely with the Western New York Congressional delegation to ensure the 107th Air Wing maintains a strong presence at NFARS.

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