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Contact: Cameron Hardy
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Senate OKs $24 million for Wyo Guard, Air Force Base
 
October 2nd, 2006 - WASHINGTON – The Senate approved legislation recently that includes authorizations for Wyoming Air National Guard squadron operations facility and improvements for a fire crash/rescue station in Cheyenne, according to Wyoming U.S. Senators Craig Thomas and Mike Enzi. Also authorized in the bill is renovation of a Warren Air Force dormitory and a multi-purpose machine gun range for Wyoming National Guard’s Camp Guernsey.

“Wyoming is getting the financial backing it needs to revamp facilities in Cheyenne and Camp Guernsey. I’m pleased to see Wyoming’s military projects provide new joint operational capability. I’m particularly pleased to see the squad operations facility get the funding it needs to support its expanding mission,” Thomas said.

"Better pay for people in our military, improved facilities and increased monitoring of how taxpayer money is being spent in Iraq and Afghanistan are just a few of the provisions included in this bill. It’s an important piece of legislation that serves our military personnel as they serve our country. This was one of the last bills we wrapped up before returning home to work in our states, but it’s one of the first on a scale of necessity,” Enzi said.

The conference report authorizes more than $24.5 million in projects for Wyoming. These projects include: $7.6 million for the Wyoming Air National Guard in Cheyenne to replace its squadron operations facility; $4.2 million for the Wyoming Air National Guard to add to and improve its fire crash/rescue station in Cheyenne, almost $1.8 million for Camp Guernsey’s multi-purpose machine gun range and $11 million for renovation of a dormitory at F. E. Warren Air Force Base.

The bill also expands military healthcare coverage to all members of the Selected Reserve and their families without regard to active duty service and prohibits increases in fees until the Department of Defense can complete a study of military healthcare costs.

The legislation strengthens Congressional oversight over current operations in Iraq and Afghanistan by requiring future budgets to include the costs of ongoing military operations there and increases oversight authorities of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.

Thomas and Enzi worked with other senators from the Missile States Coalition to include a provision that would restrict the Department of Defense from terminating any Minuteman III ICBM modernization program or withdrawing any Minuteman III ICBMs from the active force until 30 days after the Secretary of Defense submits to Congress a report explaining the rationale and security implications of such reductions to the ICBM force structure.

A 2.2 percent authorization for an across-the-board pay increase for military personnel is included in the bill. The conferee report authorizes $462.8 billion for defense programs in fiscal year 2007, an increase of $21.2 billion or 3.6 percent above the amount authorized in fiscal year 2006. The conferees authorized $84.2 billion in procurement funding; $73.6 billion in funding for research, development, test and evaluation; $155.3 billion for operation and maintenance and other programs and $110.1 billion for military personnel.

Thomas and Enzi said the Defense Authorization bill also includes provisions designed to allow the military to help civilians during times of manmade or natural disasters by requiring the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, to develop plans to support civilian authorities and to maintain a database of emergency response capabilities in each state’s National Guard that could be deployed in response to a natural or manmade disaster. The bill authorizes the Secretary of Defense to preposition prepackaged food, water, communications equipment, and medical supplies to improve the ability of the Department of Defense to respond to requests from civil authorities.  

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