Florida bases could receive more than $1B in new defense spending bill



(The Center Square) — Florida military bases could receive more than a billion dollars for construction projects if the new 2025 defense budget becomes law.

The National Defense Authorization Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives on June 13. Before it becomes law, it must pass the Senate and receive President Joe Biden’s signature.

Key West Naval Air Station, which hosts the U.S. Army Special Forces Underwater Operations School on Trumbo Point, would receive a total of $457 million from the Army’s construction budget. The station would receive another $90 million for a new Joint Inter-Agency Task Force-South command and control facility.

Navy military construction and land acquisition includes a $221.06 million appropriation for the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The Space Force has been allocated $11.4 million for Cape Canaveral to expand construction, water mains and acquire land, while $81 million has been allocated to the base for an engineering test facility.

Another $69.4 million has been allocated for the Marine Corps Support Facility on Blount Island near Jacksonville. The project includes a lighterage and a small craft facility. A further $10.1 million would go towards a command communications center and infrastructure upgrades.

Naval Air Station Jacksonville would receive $35.7 million for an F-35 aircraft engine repair facility and $6.8 million for a child development center.

The bill also allocates $98.5 million for the Whiting Field advanced helicopter training system hangar for the new TH-73 Thrasher training helicopter.

The bill also states that there are certain projects that were authorized in 2020 that have been extended into the 2025 fiscal year budget, which includes a deployment center, flight line dining and a new exchange at the Tyndall Air Force Base. This project has been allocated $43 million.

Another $14 million was allocated to Hurlburt Field, a U.S. Air Force military installation located in Okaloosa County that hosts the Air Force Special Operations Command’s headquarters and the 1st Special Operations Wing.

Jacksonville International Airport has $26.2 million for the Air National Guard for land acquisition and construction projects, including F-35 consolidated weapons training. The 125th Fighter Wing of the Florida Air National Guard will convert from the aging F-15C Eagle to the new F-35s later this year.

The bill further lays out plans to repair Naval Air Station Pensacola. It states that the Secretary of the Navy should develop and implement a plan for the repair or replacement of facilities the secretary deems damaged by Hurricane Sally in 2020.

The Secretary of the Navy is also responsible for producing cost estimates for the project, which includes a new hangar and other infrastructure repairs, as well as any future plans for demolition projects necessary to support military construction.

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