The Department of Defense plans to spend more than $293 million on construction projects at North Carolina installations in the next fiscal year, according to budget documents released Tuesday.
That includes roughly $57.7 million for new facilities on Fort Bragg, $193.7 million on Camp Lejeune, $26.4 million at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and $15.6 million at Air Station Cherry Point.
The projects at Seymour Johnson and Cherry Point are of particular interest to state leaders, as that construction would be related to some of the newest aircraft in the nation’s aerial fleets — the KC-46 tanker and F-35 fighter.
Those installations are expected to have key roles in the stationing of those aircraft, which could help protect them from future Base Realignment and Closure.
The Department of Defense budget documents released Tuesday show the military plans to ask Congress to approve a BRAC round in 2021.
Officials with the North Carolina Military Affairs Commission discussed that request during a meeting in Raleigh on Tuesday.
Scott Dorney, executive director of the North Carolina Military Business Center, said the government’s willingness to invest in facilities for those new aircraft likely means those installations would be safe.
“Reinforcing the value of Seymour Johnson and Cherry Point is only a good thing for our state,” he said.
According to budget documents, the Department of Defense is seeking the BRAC to realign the military in an attempt to get rid of excess infrastructure.
The DOD has about 20 percent more facilities than required for its operations, according to officials. And resources spent on the excess infrastructure could be better spent on improving readiness and modernization efforts.
North Carolina’s biggest installations, Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune, are believed to be largely immune from future BRAC rounds because of their key roles in national security. Fort Bragg is the largest military installation in the nation and home to special operations and the Global Response Force. Camp Lejeune is the largest installation on the East Coast.
Given their size, it’s no wonder the two installations account for the bulk of military construction planned for North Carolina, which consistently ranks among the top locations for military construction projects each year.
For 2018, the U.S. military has proposed spending more than $6.5 billion around the globe. North Carolina’s share is the fifth-most for any location, behind California, Missouri, Virginia, and Guam.
Dorney said the investment was not nearly as high as past years, when North Carolina approached $1 billion in military construction projects, but still represented tremendous opportunities for local businesses, including suppliers and contractors.
While the budget needs congressional approval, Dorney said military construction requests typically go largely unchanged.
He said the NCMBC would work to help match opportunities with businesses in North Carolina. The organization also hosts an annual construction summit for federal contractors each year in Wilmington. This year’s summit is planned for Oct. 24-25.
At Fort Bragg, the Army did not request any new projects for the third year in a row. Instead, the new construction will come from requests made by U.S. Special Operations Command.
They include more than $20 million for a human performance training center, $13.5 million for a support battalion administration facility, $20 million for a tactical equipment maintenance facility and $4 million to make telecommunications reliability improvements.
The human performance training center would include strength and conditioning equipment, training areas, private treatment rooms, a sports medicine rehabilitation center, altitude chamber and more as part of a high-end facility meant to help special operations forces train.
The focus on special operations projects follows a years-long trend in which most of the projects on Fort Bragg in recent years have been focused on those units.
This year, Camp Lejeune also will see new projects for its special operations forces.
The construction proposed for the major base includes a $10.8 million human performance training center and a $20.5 million motor transport maintenance expansion.
Other proposed Lejeune projects include $327.9 million for new housing for enlisted bachelors and $65.7 million for a replacement water treatment plant.
Military editor Drew Brooks can be reached at email@example.com or 486-3567.
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