Air Force submits urgent $4.9B request for bases damaged by storms, floods

The Air Force this week submitted an urgent request to Congress for $4.9 billion to repair bases damaged by recent floods and storms.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said Tuesday that service members “desperately need the supplemental funding to recover from the natural disasters that hammered” Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida and Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.

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“There are other decisions we’ll have to make if we don’t [have supplemental funding] by May or June. These are just the first decisions that we had to make yesterday … 61 projects in 18 states are not going to happen because we have not gotten a disaster supplemental for Tyndall,” Wilson said at a Heritage Foundation event in Washington, D.C.

Tyndall was badly damaged last year after Hurricane Michael swept through Florida, battering the base and damaging several F-22 Raptor fighter jets, the Air Force’s most expensive and advanced fighter.

More recently, Offutt base, which sits along the Missouri River and is home to U.S. Strategic Command, was damaged when floodwaters reached up to seven feet deep in some places last week.

About one-third of the more than 10,000 military personnel at the base were forced to relocate due to the flooding, and the Air Force had to move nine aircraft to a safer location.

The Air Force said in a statement Tuesday that it needs $1.2 billion this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, and $3.7 billion in supplemental funding over the next two fiscal years for Tyndall and Offutt.

“Without supplemental funding now, the Air Force must cut critical facility and readiness requirements, driving Air Force wide operational risks and negatively impacting the recovery of Tyndall and Offutt,” the Air Force said.

The service included a summary of 61 facility repairs being deferred at 18 bases pending supplemental funding.

The Senate, meanwhile, is considering $1.1 million in disaster supplemental money for the Air Force to repair damage caused by Hurricane Michael.

Senate Republican appropriators have proposed that amount as part of a $13.45 billion aid package to address natural disaster damage nationwide.

The text of the bill, released Tuesday, says about $400 million would go to Tyndall “for damages caused by Hurricane Michael to repair facilities and begin the process of rebuilding” the base.

The remaining $700 million would go toward “planning and design and construction of projects to replace facilities damaged by Hurricane Michael.”

Wilson warned lawmakers this month that if the Air Force doesn’t get the supplemental funding by April, “it’s going to start impacting every other base.”