Air Force says it needs $4.9 billion in disaster relief funding


The Air Force said it needs $4.9 billion in extra funding over the next three years to rebuild and repair bases damaged by natural disasters.

The money sought by the Air Force — $1.2 billion this year and $3.7 billion in the 2020 and 2021 budget years — would have to be approved by Congress.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said Wednesday that if Congress does not take action by May or June the Air Force will have to put off dozens of construction and improvement projects, and perhaps take other cost-saving measures.

“We desperately need the supplemental funding,” Wilson said, citing hurricane damage to bases in North Carolina and Florida last fall, and flood damage at a base in Nebraska this month.

The Marine Corps says it sustained about $3.5 billion in damage at Camp Lejeune and surrounding facilities in North Carolina from Hurricanes Michael and Florence.

Gen. Robert Neller, commandant of the Marine Corps, wrote in a recent memo that a number of unexpected costs, including hurricane damage and unplanned deployments to the U.S.-Mexico border, are forcing the Marine Corps to cancel some training exercises.

Tyndall Air Force Base, a fighter base in Florida, took a direct hit from Hurricane Michael last October.

Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, home to U.S. Strategic Command headquarters, which oversees the nation’s nuclear forces, was damaged by Missouri River flooding in March.

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