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National defense bill has $111.7 million for Fort Leonard Wood projects
National defense bill has $111.7 million for Fort Leonard Wood projects

Congressman Ike Skelton
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 28, 2010) — Congressman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, announced that the House-approved Fiscal Year 2011 National Defense Authorization bill includes more than $135 million for projects at Whiteman Air Force Base and Fort Leonard Wood.

Of that, $23.5 million is included in the bill for a consolidated air operations facility at Whiteman Air Force Base.

At Fort Leonard Wood, $111.7 million is included in the bill:

· $7 million for a general instruction building;

· $12.2 million for a brigade headquarters;

· $15.5 million for an information systems facility;

· $19 million for a training barracks;

· $29 million for a transient advanced trainee barracks; and

· $29 million for an enlisted personnel barracks.

“Earlier this year, I submitted a funding request for a new consolidated air operations facility at Whiteman Air Force Base. The buildings currently used for air operations planning are inadequate and widely separated across Whiteman Air Force Base. This up-to-date consolidated air operations facility will coordinate bomber squadron operations, bring more flight group elements together to train and fight, and significantly improve response times during emergency situations,” said Skelton.

“I was also pleased to support several military construction projects at Fort Leonard Wood which were proposed in the President’s budget this year. These projects replace obsolete facilities, provide facilities for new training missions, and provide housing and facilities needed as more personnel come to Fort Leonard Wood through the Grow the Army initiative. I’m committed to making sure Fort Leonard Wood has what it needs to accommodate the growing number of soldiers on post and offer the quality of life Americans expect for our men and women in uniform,” said Skelton.

“It has long been my goal for Whiteman Air Force Base and Fort Leonard Wood to be the premier military installations in our nation. The $135 million for critical projects at Whiteman Air Force Base and Fort Leonard Wood in this year’s defense authorization bill builds on the more than $6.6 billion secured for Fourth District military installations and surrounding communities over the past twenty years. These funds have expanded both Whiteman Air Force Base and Fort Leonard Wood, increased the number of military personnel stationed in the area, provided over 26,000 civilian jobs, and generated $4.3 billion in local business over the past eight years,” said Skelton.

This year’s defense authorization bill makes counterterrorism a priority, improving the ability of our military to protect themselves at home and abroad and providing them with the additional tools they need to disrupt, dismantle, and eventually defeat al Qaeda and its extremist allies. The bill aligns U.S. military strategy with the 21st century to sustain the two wars today and prepare for the threats of tomorrow — whatever and wherever they may be.

Overall, the defense bill authorizes $567 billion in budget authority for the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Energy (DoE). The bill also authorizes $159 billion to support overseas contingency operations during fiscal year 2011, and authorizes $34 billion for fiscal year 2010 supplemental appropriations for overseas contingency operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and to provide humanitarian and disaster assistance to assist victims following the earthquake in Haiti.

To improve military readiness, the bill provides critical funds to restore equipment stocks, including $9.9 billion for Army and Marine Corps equipment reset and depot maintenance, $4.5 billion for depot maintenance of active and reserve Air Force aircraft, $109 million for Navy ship and aircraft depot maintenance, and $7.2 billion to address National Guard and Reserve equipment shortfalls.

To improve the quality of life for our forces and their families, the bill provides a 1.9 percent pay raise for all service members and allows TRICARE beneficiaries to extend coverage to their dependent children until age 26. Other initiatives to support military families include $345 million to modernize DOD schools, $65 million for Impact Aid education programs, and the creation of a new career development pilot program for military spouses.

The House approved H.R. 5136, the Fiscal Year 2011 National Defense Authorization Act, by a vote of 229 to 186 on May 28. The House and Senate versions of this measure must be reconciled in conference before the legislation is forwarded to the President for his signature.

Congressman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) serves as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Congressman Skelton’s website is at www.house.gov/skelton.

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