Christopher Smith

Christopher Smith

NEW JERSEY's 4th DISTRICT

A Tale of Two Inaugurations

2017/01/19

As the U.S. prepares for the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States, half a world away in West Africa another President-elect will have to be sworn in at his country’s embassy in a foreign land. Current Gambian President Yahya Jammeh refuses to step down after first conceding his loss to duly elected Adama Barrow in the December 1st elections. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), Chairman of the House Africa Subcommittee, said the differences between the two inaugurations are telling.

     “The comparison between the power-grab in Gambia and more than two centuries of peaceful transitions of power from one political party to another here in the United States is stark,” said Smith.

     President-elect Trump will be sworn in, as per tradition on the West side of the Capitol building, with his former campaign opponent Hillary Clinton and current President Obama looking on. Yet Adama Barrow, a businessman like Donald Trump who had never before held public office, is being sworn in today in Senegal because of credible threats to his life from President Jammeh.

     The stable change of power is a hallmark of democracy. Tragically in Gambia, the democratically expressed voice of the people has been rejected by a leader who will not give up power after seizing office in a coup 22 years ago.

     “I call on President Jammeh to step down and allow Gambia to begin their own proud tradition of strong democratic transitions.”

     While he first announced he would step down as President, Jammeh has since reversed his decision and launched a series of actions to question the election results and call for new elections after word leaked of a likely investigation of his actions in office. The governments of neighboring countries have continued to negotiate with Jammeh to reach a peaceful political settlement, but their military forces are now poised on the border ready to oust their former colleague should he continue to refuse to leave office. The U.S. Embassy in Bajul, Gambia’s capital, called on Americans to shelter in place in expectation of possible violence.

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<span class ="kicker">Washington Free Beacon News Article</span>'GOP Congressman Fighting for Christian Refugees in Iraq and Syria'

2017/01/13

BY JACK HERETIK, WRITER FOR THE WASHINGTON FREE BEACON -

Rep. Chris Smith (R., N.J.) is fighting for Christian refugees who have been displaced by fighting in Iraq and Syria and demanding the United States do more to help.

The lawmaker serves as a senior member on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and is chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations. Promoting international human rights and religious freedom has been a staple feature of his tenure in Congress.

Christians are the largest religious minority group in the Middle East, yet Smith noted in an interview with TheBlaze published Friday that they receive little aid from the United States. Smith has now introduced legislation to attempt to rectify that with the Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act. The legislation will provide for emergency aid to the victims of crimes against humanity in the war-torn countries.

In an interview with TheBlaze, Smith lamented the situation of Christian leaders who are working without U.S. dollars, given USAID doesn’t benefit faith-based organizations, to help displaced minorities in the Middle East: “They’re getting no help from the United States government, and that is not just baffling–it is disturbing, disappointing, and, frankly, outrageous.”

Smith traveled over Christmas to Erbil, Iraq to visit many of these displaced civilians and meet with regional leaders. Smith noted the positivity of those he met and children singing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus at a Christmas gathering.

Smith’s legislation is cosponsored by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D., Calif.) and 15 other members of the House of Representatives.

This article can be found online at: http://freebeacon.com/issues/gop-congressman-fighting-christian-refugees-iraq-syria/


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<span class ="kicker">Trenton Times Page 1 article on New Jt. Base Planes, Rep. Smith: </span>'New tankers could help prevent Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst from closing'

2017/01/13

By JONATHAN SALANT OF NJ.COM -

Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst is receiving a new fleet of Air Force tankers, making it more likely to be protected against any future round of military base closings.
 
The Air Force on Thursday selected the joint base's 305th Air Mobility Wing to house 24 KC-46 tankers, which should arrive from 2020 to 2023. 

"It ensures the viability of the joint base," said Rep. Chris Smith (R-4th Dist.). "This is the most important protection we could have secured."

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) called the decision "a huge step" in ensuring that the base "remains a vital economic engine for New Jersey."

The National Defense Authorization Act will prevent a new round of base closings.

It contributes $6.9 billion to the local economy and is the second-largest employer in New Jersey, behind only the state government, Smith said.

"This is incredible news for Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, the state of New Jersey and the future of national security in the United States," said Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-3rd Dist.).

Gov. Chris Christie said that other bases with the KC-46 have experienced from 100 to 350 new jobs and military construction spending of $42 million to $267 million as a result.

"Gaining the KC-46A aircraft means securing the Joint Base's future for the next six decades," Christie said. "I'm proud of and excited for the base and with this news look forward to seeing it continue to grow as a beacon of strength, hope and security for our state, region and nation."

KC46 offloading fuel to a C17.jpg
A KC-46 (above) refuels a C-17 below. File photo. 
 

In June, the joint base was named as one of five finalists to house the tankers, and members of the state's congressional delegation have been lobbying the Air Force. Another of the finalists, Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, Calif., also will house a 24-tanker fleet.

"The KC-46 Pegasus will be one of the most elite air-refueling tanker planes in the world and provide vital support to Air Force missions across the globe," said Rep. Donald Norcross (D-1st Dist.). "The plane is designed to carry passengers, cargo and patients, and can defeat and survive threats using multiple layers of protection."

Trenton Times article: 'NJ Picked to Host New AF Tanker' Jan. 13 2017

The base's "strong track record in tanker and airlift operations, its prime location, and the thousands of military flight hours our service men and women perform each year ensures the base is the right choice for the KC-46," said U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

Lawmakers have worked to protect the joint base from any future cuts.

"The message over the years has been simple: McGuire has the location, the facilities, the experience and the workforce to ensure that the Air Force maintains its 'global reach,'" said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.), the new chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and former chairman of the subcommittee that drafted the Pentagon's budget.

The defense policy bill for the current fiscal year prevented another round of base closings, and Congress also has blocked the Pentagon from moving or retiring any of the KC-10 refueling tanker planes located at the base. Those tankers will be replaced by the KC-46s.

Great news for #NJ! We won the battle & @jointbasemdl will host next gen KC-46 air refuel tankers. Critical to nat'l security, local economy

-- Senator Bob Menendez (@SenatorMenendez) January 12, 2017

In 2005, the last round of base closings led to the creation of the joint base in Wrightstown, the only tri-service military facility in the U.S.

Twelve years earlier, the Defense Department wanted to scale back McGuire Air Force Base, now part of the joint facility, and shift operations to Plattsburgh AFB in New York. The base closing commission, led by former New Jersey Rep, Jim Courter, rejected the Pentagon's recommendations and decided expand McGuire and close Plattsburgh instead.

To prevent any future cuts to the state's military facilities, a task force chaired by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, recommended in July 2015 that the state encourage defense-related development around its military bases, produce well-trained employees to work there, and regularly lobby the federal government.

Guadagno said placing the tankers at the joint base will "provide financial and job security to the surrounding communities that depend on the base."

President Barack Obama used the joint base in December 2014 as the backdrop for announcing the end of combat operations in Afghanistan.

This article originally ran on Page 1 of the print edition of the Trenton Times, and published online at:
http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/01/new_fleet_of_tankers_to_land_at_njs_joint_base.html


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<span class ="kicker">NJ 101.5 News Article on Jt Base Planes, Rep. Smith:</span>'New aircraft coming to NJ military base means jobs are saved, officials say'

2017/01/13

BY ADAM HOCHRON, NJ 101.5 REPORTER -

Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst is one of the longest running military installations in the country, which also means having some of the oldest equipment on base. But the runways at the base will have some new traffic soon.

The Air Force on Thursday announced the base will be the home of the KC-46 Pegasus tankers. The 24 new planes will replace the aging KC-10 Extender planes which have played a key role in keeping aircraft of all sizes going around the world.

Officials said the decision will save many jobs in the region.

“Securing this vitally important air refueling mission not only significantly enhances U.S. military power, but will ensure the sustainability of the Joint Base from any future closures,” said U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J. 4th District.

Smith’s district includes a large amount of the base and its employees, who he said will continue to have jobs at the base thanks to the new aircraft.

The base, which straddles Burlington and Ocean counties, is also the largest employer in the region and contributes $6.9 billion to the regional economy on an annual basis.

Smith called it “quite a day in the history of Joint Base McGuire.

“Today’s decision is a big win for Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and a monumental step that will help maintain and secure the base — and its economic impact for New Jersey — for decades to come.”

Rep. Chris Smith's Office
Rep. Chris Smith’s Office

While the New Jersey base will be the home for the tankers on the east coast, Travis Air Force Base in California will also receive 24 to keep on the west coast. Unlike other military installations, McGuire is the only tri-service base that also includes active duty, reserve and National Guard units.

State Sen. Diane Allen whose district includes part of the base also lauded the decision. Allen had introduced a resolution which passed in the legislature urging the Air Force to bring the planes to New Jersey. “Joint Base MDL provides our state with thousands of great jobs,” she said. “This new mission will ensure the base remains a viable military installation for decades to come.

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who on Thursday announced she will run for governor and who serves as chairwoman of the New Jersey Military Installation Growth and Development Task Force, lauded the decision by the Air Force to bring the new planes to New Jersey.

“It is a great day for New Jersey and the Joint Base,” she said. “When the KC-46A mission is finalized it will potentially provide mission stability to the Joint Base and provide financial and job security to the surrounding communities that depend on the Base.”

Large aircraft at the base are nothing new, as in addition to the retiring KC-10s, they are also the home to KC-135 Stratotankers, and C-17 Globemaster III airlifters.

Because of this history of large aircrafts Allen said the new planes should fit right in. “The base is going to be an outstanding home for these new jets since it already has the infrastructure and facilities needed thanks to its existing contingent of older tanker aircraft.

This article originally ran on Jan. 13, 2017 and can be found online at:
New aircraft coming to NJ military base means jobs are saved, officials say | http://nj1015.com/new-aircraft-coming-to-nj-military-base-means-jobs-are-saved-officials-say/?trackback=tsmclip

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<span class ="kicker">Associated Press Wire Story on New KC-46s with Rep. Smith:</span>New Jersey Base to Get New Refueling Tankers''

2017/01/13

The Associated Press –

New Jersey’s second-largest employer is getting an extended lease on life now that the Air Force picked it to host its next generation of air refueling tankers, officials said Thursday.

Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst will receive 24 KC-46 Pegasus tankers to replace its current fleet of 32 KC-10 Extenders. The planes also will be stationed at Travis Air Force Base in California.

Lawmakers said securing the air refueling mission ensures the sustainability of the base from any future closure.

“Today’s decision is a big win for JB-MDL and a monumental step that will help maintain and secure the base, and its economic impact for New Jersey, for decades to come,” said Republican Rep. Chris Smith.

The base also hosts eight KC-135 Stratotankers and 13 C-17 Globemaster III airlifters, and other planes and helicopters.

Smith said the joint base contributes $6.9 billion annually to the regional economy and it is the nation’s only tri-service joint installation. It is home to over 80 mission partners that includes active duty, reserve and guard units.

Representatives Chris Smith, right, and Tom MacArthur, center, pushed for new tankers
at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (At left is Four Star General Gen. Carlton Everhart,
commander of the Air Mobility Command about Jt. Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst's
prospects for new tankers.)

“This is a monumental decision for Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and the people of New Jersey, including the tens of thousands of military families who dedicate their lives by serving at the base,” Republican Gov. Chris Christie said.

This AP article ran in the Jan. 13, 2017 print edition of the Trentonian and was published online at numerous other papers, including The Daily Progress; Courier-Post; The Eagle; The Dispatch; New Jersey Herald; The Progress; Bristol Herald Courier, and can be read online at:

http://www.trentonian.com/general-news/20170112/new-jersey-base-to-get-new-refueling-tankers

http://www.dailyprogress.com/new-jersey-base-to-get-new-refueling-tankers/article_1f73a61a-75f8-56ae-a542-49ed2e211c72.html

http://www.courierpostonline.com/story/news/2017/01/12/joint-base-new-refueling-tankers/96495578/

http://www.theeagle.com/news/texas/new-jersey-base-to-get-new-refueling-tankers/article_f0b66f6f-37cb-5900-a328-e16b36fe2046.html

http://www.ccenterdispatch.com/news/state/article_080f4e70-a606-5484-a160-05ad2ae8fb21.html

http://www.njherald.com/article/20170112/AP/301129736#

http://www.theprogressnews.com/news/state/new-jersey-base-to-get-new-refueling-tankers/article_18b05370-68cc-57bb-a70d-1ab8577a88f8.html

http://www.heraldcourier.com/news/new-jersey-base-to-get-new-refueling-tankers/article_ebec2b67-a587-5216-a357-3d89f362d292.html

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Smith Calls Easing of Sudan Sanctions Unjustified

2017/01/13

Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Africa, issued the following statement on the Obama Administration’s intention to ease sanctions on the Republic of the Sudan:

     The decision by the Obama Administration to ease sanctions on Sudan imports and exports of goods and services and related commercial activity is unjustified at this point since the Khartoum government has not ceased its violations of the human rights of its citizens.  Violent government actions continue against Sudanese citizens in Darfur, Nubia, the Nuba Mountains, Bejaland and Blue Nile, as does the persecution of Christians nationwide. Until the Government of the Sudan can halt this persecution of so many of their citizens, any easing of sanctions is inconsistent with U.S. principles

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<span class ="kicker">Asbury Park Press News Article on Coming NJ Military Planes, Rep. Smith:</span>'New tanker aircraft will keep Joint Base alive'

2017/01/13

By Kala Kachmar, APP Staff Writer -

Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst has been chosen to receive the Air Force's next generation of air refueling tankers, securing a future for the base that's been on the chopping block in the past.

The 24 new KC-46A Pegasus planes and the mission that comes with them are expected to ensure the economic viability of the base for decades to come, officials said Thursday. The Air Force will invest $154 million in new construction at the Joint Base to accommodate the planes, which is good news for local construction jobs, said  Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., who represents a large portion of the base.

PREVIOUS: USAF to announce whether Joint Base will get planes

The Boeing planes cost about $150 million each and currently are being manufactured. The planes will be delivered to the base between 2020 and 2023, Smith said. More details about the impact and logistics would be available later, he said.

"Economically, it'll be a huge anchor for the sustainability and stability of the Joint Base," Smith said.

The KC-46A Pegasus deploys the centerline boom for the first time Oct. 9, 2015.
The boom is the fastest way to refuel aircraft at 1,200 gallons per minute.
(Photo: John D. Parker/Boeing)

The base is the state's second-largest employer next to state government, employing about 42,000 people. Of those employed, more than 7,000 are civilian employees or contractors. The base is responsible for about $3.4 billion of New Jersey's gross domestic product and has a $6.9 billion economic impact annually.

Jan. 13, 2017 Asbury Park Press Page 1
on Jt. Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst on
getting New KC-46s
.

"The Air Force has recognized the base's strategic value and has expressed confidence in its ability to be part of America's national security strategy for decades to come," said U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J. "We've fought to improve and expand the base for years. This cements the base as part of the national security structure of the nation."

MORE: Bill saves planes at Joint Base

The base's   strategic location for reaching Africa, Europe and the Middle East is part what makes it ideal for the aircraft, officials said. In June, the Air Force announced the Joint Base was one of five finalists  for the planes.

Travis Air Force Base in California also was selected to receive 24 of the planes. The first base to get the planes will be McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas.

"This truly was a team effort, and because of that, over 42,000 New Jersey residents in my district who are employed at the base and the thousands of additional jobs in the surrounding area that rely on its survival can breathe easy knowing the Joint Base will remain our nation’s premier air mobility installation by becoming the new home of the KC-46 air-to-air refueling tanker,"  Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., said in a news release Thursday.

The KC-46A is intended to replace the Air Force's aging fleet of KC-135 Stratotankers and provide vital air refueling capability.  (Photo: Kevin Flynn)

READ: Joint Base could get newest tankers

The Joint Base has been considered for Base Realignment and Closure, which is a process the Department of Defense uses when budgets need to be cut. For years, public officials have tried to add missions and expand the base to keep it from being eliminated.

"It’s a significant new enhancement to the base," Smith said. "But most importantly, with the old (KC-10) tankers being mothballed, that would have diminished the viability of the base significantly.”

The 52-foot tall KC-46s, which are 165 feet long and have a 157-foot wingspan, will eventually replace the aging KC-135 Stratotankers that have been in use for about 50 years, according to the Air Force. The Joint Base has Stratotankers, but they belong to the 108th Wing of the New Jersey Air National Guard.

In 2015, KC-10 Extenders — larger refueling tankers that have been in use since 1981 — were set to be retired, which would have put the Joint Base at risk for closure. Thirty-two of the country's 59 KC10s are housed at the Joint Base, and they account for two-thirds of the base's flying mission.

The planes were saved in a final version of the nation's defense bill in 2015, but it's only a matter time of before they need to be replaced, officials said.

This story ran on Page 1 of the print editions of Asbury Park Press and the Camden Courier-Post on Jan. 13, 2017, and can be found at:

http://www.app.com/story/news/military/2017/01/12/kc-46-aircraft-save-joint-base/96492382/ Read More

<span class ="kicker">Smith, NJ Delegation Worked for Years to Back New Mission</span>Air Force: Joint Base MDL Will Host New Tankers

2017/01/12

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) announced today that the Air Force has chosen Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JB-MDL) to host the next generation KC-46 refueling tankers. With the designation of a Main Operating Base (MOB), JB-MDL is now slated to receive 24 new KC-46 Pegasus tankers to replace the current fleet of KC-10 Extenders.

Securing this vitally important air refueling mission not only significantly enhances US military power but will help the sustainability of the Joint Base from any future closure,” said Smith, Dean of the New Jersey Congressional Delegation who represents a large portion of the installation. “The servicemembers at the Joint Base have truly earned this mission. The skilled human capital that makes the base run, the proven track record of success in ensuring our military has the strategic ability to operate around the world and the strong support of our local communities brings unparalleled capabilities to the Air Force and our national security.

"Today’s decision is a big win for JB-MDL and a monumental step that will help maintain and secure the base—and its economic impact for New Jersey—for decades to come. It’s quite a day in the history of Joint Base MDL and in New Jersey.”

With this approval JB-MDL is one of only two bases named to receive the next generation tankers this round. The Air Force announced that Travis AFB in California will also receive 24 KC-46s. 

Smith, who led the delegation letter urging the Air Force to designate JB-MDL in July 2016, has repeatedly stressed that the installation is the ideal location for the new tankers: it is the nation’s only tri-service joint installation; is home to over 80 mission partners that includes active duty, Reserve and Guard units; and is Air Mobility Command’s premier East Coast refueling hub that enables U.S. global reach around the world.

“Our delegation has worked hard—with our partners in the State, including the Governor, the Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, and New Jersey National Guard Adjutant General Michael Cunniff—to highlight the Joint Base’s capabilities and strong record of demonstrating its mission-critical value to national security,” said Smith.. Click here to read a letter to the Air Force from Lt. Gov. Guadagno and Gen. Cunniff.   “The Air Force decision validates what we have said: the Joint Base is and will continue to be a critical asset to the Air Force and America’s ability to respond rapidly to humanitarian or military operations across the globe.”

“It is a great day for New Jersey and the Joint Base! When the KC-46A mission is finalized, it will potentially provide mission stability to the Joint Base and provide financial and job security to the surrounding communities that depend on the Base,” said Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno. “As the Chairwoman of the New Jersey Military Installation Growth and Development Task Force, I’m proud and honored to have worked so closely on this project with the New Jersey Congressional Delegation as well as local leaders from Ocean and Burlington counties.  Together, we are the best team in the Nation.”

The base’s current 32 KC-10s are continually targeted for retirement and will now be replaced by the new KC-46s.  The base also hosts eight KC-135 Stratotankers and 13 C-17 Globemaster III airlifters, and other planes and helicopters.

The base has traditionally enjoyed strong support from the local community. The Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders on Jan. 11, in a board resolution to the Air Force noted it fully supported the siting of the new KC-46A aerial refueling tanker aircraft at the Joint Base and urged the Air Force to consider all aspects of the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in its decision, including its current air mobility mission and its superior location for trans-Atlantic operations.

"I am very pleased that the Joint Base is the leader in this process,” said Freeholder John P. Kelly, who serves as liaison to the Joint Base. “I appreciate the work of Congressman Smith, who led our delegation in urging the Air Force to bring this mission here. Congressman Smith along with Congressman MacArthur deserve credit for helping us get to today’s announcement. The base is already home to the older KC-135 and KC-10 tankers, which are both being phased out. The men and women here have the knowledge and experience to work with this new generation of aircraft.”

Last January, the Air Force announced that JB-MDL was one of 11 installations in the running for MOB4, and then made the candidates list of the final five bases announced in June 2016—joined by Dover AFB, Fairchild AFB, Grand Forks AFB, and Travis AFB.

JB-MDL is the largest employer in the region, second only to the State of New Jersey as the largest employer in the Garden State, and contributes $6.9 billion annually to the regional economy.

 


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<span class ="kicker">BCT Page 1 Article on Smith Call to Bring New AF Planes to Jt. Base</span>'Air Force to announce decision Thursday on KC-46 tankers'

2017/01/12

By David Levinsky, BCT staff writer -

After months of lobbying and waiting, New Jersey officials expect to finally learn whether Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst will become the home of the Air Force's new KC-46 air-refueling tankers.

The Air Force plans to announce its decision Thursday. The joint base is one of five finalist installations the service was considering to accept between 24 and 36 of the new jets, which are being built by Boeing as upgrades for the Air Force's aging tanker fleet.

The other four bases are Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington, Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota, and Travis Air Force Base in California.

Members of New Jersey's congressional delegation are expected to be briefed by the Air Force on Thursday before the decision is made public.

“We are cautiously optimistic that we will hear good news (Thursday)," Rep. Chris Smith, the Republican dean of New Jersey's congressional delegation and one of the leading voices advocating for the joint base's selection, said.

"The delegation has repeatedly highlighted the strengths of JBMDL and the assets that make the joint base the ideal location to host new KC-46s," Smith said.

Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-3rd of Toms River, also expressed optimism that good news was forthcoming.

"Since I was elected to Congress, I have been laser-focused on ensuring that Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst becomes the new home of the KC-46 refueling tanker,” MacArthur said. “It has been great to stand with elected officials of both parties and all levels of government to be the strongest advocate for JBMDL, and I am optimistic we will prevail. The joint base is our nation’s premier air mobility installation and the perfect option for housing the KC-46. My constituents rely on the base, and I hope to give them good news soon."

Obtaining the new jets is considered crucial for the joint base's future, as midair refueling is the largest mission performed there. Currently, 32 KC-10s and eight KC-135 tankers are housed at the base, but the KC-46 is expected to eventually replace both.

The joint base was already passed over for basing the first batch of KC-46s due to be delivered to the Air Force by January 2018. The second batch isn't expected to be ready until 2020.

The KC-10 was previously targeted for early retirement by the Air Force to deal with spending cutbacks. If those planes are lost before KC-46 replacements have been assigned to the base, it would potentially put the installation at risk, particularly during another round of base closures.

MacArthur and Donald Norcross, D-1st of Camden, succeeded in getting language inserted into a defense bill signed into law last year that prevents the Air Force from retiring the KC-10s without assigning replacements. However, the prohibition is for only two years, making the decision on the newer planes all the more important.

With that in mind, New Jersey's congressmen have engaged in a fierce lobbying effort to convince Air Force brass about the advantages of locating the tankers at the nation's only tri-service installation.

A summer letter from the entire delegation, plus Reps. Peter King and Kathleen Rice, both of New York, and Mike Fitzpatrick and Ryan Costello, both of Pennsylvania, made the case, citing the installation's existing missions and facilities, strategic location, fueling system, cargo capacity, partnerships, and track record in tanker and airlift operations.

"We strongly support the selection of (the joint base) for this mission and believe that it represents the clear and cost-effective choice for the Air Force," the lawmakers wrote.

A subsequent letter signed by 282 state, county and local officials, including 148 from Burlington County, also expressed support, and MacArthur spoke personally with Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James about the base and KC-46 mission last month.

Norcross met with James on Wednesday and said he advocated for the mission.

"We're hoping to hear good news soon," said Matt Harringer, director of communications for the congressman.

http://www.burlingtoncountytimes.com/news/local/air-force-to-announce-decision-thursday-on-kc--tankers/article_b04aa5c8-d849-11e6-9a94-77b67e4426b5.html


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<span class="kicker">On National Human Trafficking Awareness Day...</span>Smith, Meng Bill to Prioritize Human Trafficking, Hold Countries Accountable

2017/01/11

As the U.S. marks Human Trafficking Awareness Day today, Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), along with Rep. Grace Meng (NY-06), introduced legislation to help combat the world-wide scourge of international human trafficking.

     “The Human Trafficking Prioritization Act will help keep the fight against human trafficking as a major priority in U.S. foreign policy,” said Smith, Chairman of the House panel on global human rights. “We must stop countries from gaming the system by limiting the amount of time repeat offenders can be on the Watch List before they reach an area of higher concern. It is also imperative that we elevate the TIP ‘office’ to that of ‘bureau,’ sending a strong signal that we as a country know that TIP deserves an equal voice at meetings with the other bureaus and the Secretary of State.”

     Smith’s bill, HR 436, will raise the profile of U.S. anti-trafficking efforts by redesignating the State Department’s current “Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking” (created by Smith’s TVPA) as the “Bureau to Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP),” while keeping steady the total number of staffers. The bill also would require an Assistant Secretary to head the new bureau, in lieu of the current Ambassador-at-Large. The bill will also limit the amount of time countries the State Department keeps on its trafficking watch list before being further demoted to Tier 3. Tier 3 countries face sanctions—including removal of non-humanitarian aid—among other penalties.

     Smith also reconstituted the Congressional Human Trafficking Caucus, which he originally founded almost a decade ago. The Caucus educates members and their staff on domestic and international anti-human trafficking policy and advocates for appropriate legislation in the House through cutting edge research and the tracking of best practices in the fight to end trafficking. It also coordinates letters and other action to ensure the battle against human trafficking remains a sustained priority for all agencies tasked with implementing human trafficking laws.

     “The U.S. and the international community have made great strides toward the eradication of human trafficking since the passage of the TVPA,” said Smith. “However, continued, educated efforts are undeniably needed to fully overcome human trafficking at home and abroad. The International Labor Organization estimates that more than 20 million adults and children are enslaved at any given time. Of these, an estimated 55 percent of forced labor victims and 98 percent of sex trafficking victims are women and girls.”

     Smith is already working on reauthorization of his landmark Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, which must be completed by September of this year. The original TVPA launched a bold strategy that includes sheltering, political asylum, and other protections for the victims; long jail sentences and asset confiscation for the traffickers; and tough sanctions for governments that failed to meet minimum standards prescribed in the TVPA. The reauthorization will build on this foundation, adapting our trafficking strategy to new research and new ploys by traffickers. 

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2016-09-06 20:44:55


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2016-07-14 19:30:46


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2016-07-14 19:03:31


Rep. Smith on the Conscience Protection Act

2016-07-13 17:35:57


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2016-06-22 19:20:17


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2016-06-22 18:20:53


Religious Freedom deserves protection everywhere for everyone- no exceptions

2016-06-17 21:25:35


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2016-05-19 21:48:57


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2016-05-16 22:54:37


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2016-04-28 16:34:27


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2016-04-13 13:44:56


Chris Smith on BBC World News: ISIS Genocide Against Christians and Yazidis

2016-03-21 19:34:19


Rep. Chris Smith condemning organ harvesting from prisoners in China

2016-03-16 20:29:00


Chris Smith on stopping President Obama's handover of Guantanamo Bay

2016-03-16 20:18:10


Contact Information

2373 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-3765
Fax 202-225-7768
chrissmith.house.gov

Committee Assignments

Foreign Affairs

Elected in 1980, Rep. Chris Smith (R-Robbinsville, N.J.) is currently in his 17th term in the U.S. House of Representatives, and serves residents in the Fourth Congressional District of New Jersey. Smith, 60, currently serves as a senior member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and is chairman of its Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organization Subcommittee. In 2011-2012 he chaired both the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. He also serves as “Special Representative” on Human Trafficking for the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, and as an executive member of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. Previously, he served as Chairman of the Veterans Committee (two terms) and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Human Rights and International Operations and the Subcommittee on Africa.

Smith has long chaired a number of bipartisan congressional caucuses (working groups) including the Pro-life (31 years), Autism (15 years), Alzheimer’s (13 years), Lyme Disease (nineyears), Spina Bifida (nine years), Human Trafficking (nine years), Refugees (nine years), and Combating Anti-Semitism caucuses, and serves on caucuses on Bosnia, Uganda and Vietnam.

According to the independent watchdog organization Govtrack, as of January 2014 Smith ranks fourth among all 435 Members of the House over the last two decades in the number of laws authored.

He is the author of America’s three landmark anti-human trafficking laws including The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, a comprehensive law designed to prevent modern-day slavery, protect victims, and enhance civil and criminal penalties against traffickers, as well as more than a dozen veterans health, education and homeless benefits laws, and laws to boost embassy security, promote democracy, religious freedom, and health care.

Smith is the author of the $265 million Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005 which established a nationwide program for ethical research and treatment using umbilical cord blood and bone marrow cells. That landmark law was reauthorized in September 2010 for another five years.
In October 2011, Smith’s bill, HR 2005, the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (CARA) of 2011, was signed into law (Public Law PL112-32), a follow-up to his Autism Statistics, Surveillance, Research, and Epidemiology Act (ASSURE) of 2000.

A lifelong New Jerseyan, Congressman Smith graduated from The College of New Jersey with a degree in business administration. Prior to being elected to Congress, he helped run a small business– his family’s wholesale sporting goods corporation. He is also the former Executive Director of the New Jersey Right to Life Committee.

The congressman is married to his wife of 35 years, Marie, and they have four grown children.


Serving With

Frank LoBiondo

NEW JERSEY's 2nd DISTRICT

Tom MacArthur

NEW JERSEY's 3rd DISTRICT

Scott Garrett

NEW JERSEY's 5th DISTRICT

Leonard Lance

NEW JERSEY's 7th DISTRICT

Rodney Frelinghuysen

NEW JERSEY's 11th DISTRICT

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