President Trump signed the $717 billion fiscal 2019 defense authorization bill on Monday during a visit to Fort Drum, marking the first time the annual defense policy measure has been enacted before the start of the fiscal year since 1996. Trump was joined by Vice President Mike Pence, Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a number of lawmakers. After arriving at the post, the president watched an air assault exercise with troops dismounting from helicopters and taking up firing positions, reported the Watertown Daily Times. Trump noted the persistence of Rep. Elise Stefanik (R) in inviting him to make the trip to New York’s North Country. The president had insisted he had a scheduling conflict. “That didn’t stop [her], and here I am,” Trump said. Read the Hill story for an overview of the legislation. … DOD said Monday it is extending eligibility for benefits from Military OneSource — resources and other tools designed to support active-duty, National Guard and reserve service members, their families and survivors during their transition to civilian life — from the current 180 days to a full year after separation. Services include help with relocation, tax support, financial planning, health and wellness coaching, as well as confidential non-medical counseling and specialty consultations for spouse employment, education, adoption, elder care and special needs, according to a news release. The change went into effect with the enactment of the defense authorization bill.
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