Bill includes full Hill funding -- so far

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 12:07 PM

As Congress continues to work on next year’s National Defense Act in Washington, several items that could end up in the bill have very specific ties to Hill Air Force Base and the Top of Utah.

On Wednesday, the House Armed Services Committee spent about 10 hours debating, reviewing and amending the fiscal-year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act.

In the bill, $32 million is authorized for military construction projects at Hill. Work includes a new high-priority fire station and a project to modify certain hangars at the base that will be necessary to accommodate the F-35 fighter.

The bill fully funds the Pentagon’s request for the F-35 program, keeping the eventual replacement of the F-16 on track to stand up an operational fleet at Hill.

Hill has been selected as the Air Force’s preferred alternative for the location of the first two operational squadrons of the advanced F-35 stealth fighter. The establishment of the squadrons has been delayed several times, but they are expected to arrive at Hill in 2015.

There is another $8.5 billion in the bill for depot maintenance work in FY 2014, which should help Hill and the Ogden Air Logistics Complex.

The Ogden ALC performs depot maintenance on a number of Air Force weapons systems, specifically the A-10 Thunderbolt II, B-2 Spirit, F-16 Fighting Falcon and LGM-30G Minuteman III systems.

Additionally, the center is responsible for landing-gear systems, conventional munitions, solid propellants and composite materials.

Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, said he is also strongly supporting language in the bill that would temporarily prohibit another defense base closure round.

Bishop said the impacts of sequestration and defense civilian furloughs are already disruptive enough to military readiness, and to add a Base Realignment and Closure process to the mix would be devastating.

The bill also directs the Department of the Interior to transfer ownership of approximately 420 acres at Camp Williams in Draper to the state of Utah for use by the Utah National Guard for current and future military uses.

The legislation is scheduled to hit the House floor next week.

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