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F-15E Strike Eagle divestment process given sunlight

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(The Center Square) – Before the F-15E Strike Eagle divestment can happen at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina, the Air Force and the Department of Defense will need to produce reports and research contracts outlining the risks involved.

Funding for a Combat Arms Training & Maintenance Complex at the base is also among 16 amendments secured in the House Armed Services Committee markup of the National Defense Authorization Act. The panel passed the legislation 56-1.

“As a U.S. Air Force veteran, I am committed to supporting the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to keep the American people safe and secure and their families,” said U.S. Rep. Don Davis, D-N.C., a diligent advocate for the Goldsboro base and economy tied to it in and around Wayne County. “In an increasingly dangerous world, we must ensure that our military is ready to face any challenge that comes our way.”

Davis’ district in the northeastern part of the state has nearly 10,000 active-duty personnel and 46,000 veterans. U.S. Sen. Ted Budd, R-N.C., has also led the fight to save an estimated 520 jobs at the base.

Davis is a member of the Committee on Armed Services, and two subcommittees of it on Military Personnel and Readiness. Budd is a member of the Committee on Armed Services, and three subcommittees within it: Cybersecurity, Emerging Threats and Capabilities, and Personnel.

Davis’ provision requires the Secretary of the Air Force in conjunction with the Secretary of Defense to “enter into contracts and report on the risks involved in divesting F-15E aircraft. Following submission, there will be a 180-day wait period before any divestment occurs,” Davis said.

The Snow Hill congressman said, “This provision will require the Air Force to be more transparent and accountable to the people of Wayne County and to Congress.”

Budd, junior senator for the state, in April voiced concerns during an exchange in his chamber with Gen. Charles C.Q. Brown, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. During conversation, Brown confirmed the senator’s line of query on F-15E Strike Eagles being in many ways “unmatched air to ground” and “air to air.”

“We aren’t standing idly by as the proposed 520-job cut at Seymour Johnson threatens to damage eastern North Carolina’s economy,” Davis said last week. “I will continue fighting fiercely to keep all four squadrons in Wayne County and ensure economic stability in the East. Safeguarding our national security and preserving these jobs are not mutually exclusive, and the Air Force must be honest about that.”

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