ACT acknowledges crucial support from NC Congressional Delegation
Allies for Cherry Point’s Tomorrow (ACT) announced that Congress included $23.3 million in the Omnibus Appropriations bill to construct security enhancements on the air field at Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station. These security improvements, including fencing and surveillance technology, are necessary before operational squadrons of F-35 B aircraft can be stationed at Cherry Point. Congress authorized the military construction last year, but it took a concerted, bi-partisan effort by the North Carolina Congressional delegation to secure the funding in the final FY 16 budget.
“ACT is very pleased that Congress included funds in the current budget, because the sooner these improvements are completed the sooner F-35B aircraft can deploy to Cherry Point,” said ACT President Greg Lewis. “Senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr deserve a lot of credit for securing the funding in the Senate’s version of the budget.” Lewis added that Congressmen Walter B. Jones, G.K. Butterfield and George Holding persuaded their House colleagues to accept the Senate’s budget request in the final negotiation, which was crucial to the funding approval.
ACT and its government affairs team have made a concerted effort with Congress over the last 24 months to achieve authorization and appropriation of funds for the security enhancements, so final budget approval is extremely gratifying. “All of us in the Cherry Point community understand how important it is to prepare the air station to receive the maximum number of F-35Bs at the earliest possible time,” said Lewis. ACT continues to work with the delegation on many other military construction projects that will enhance the F-35 mission at MCAS Cherry Point and Fleet Readiness Center (FRC) East, he added.
Among the projects ACT will continue to push for are: a new hangar at the Air Station to house the first two squadrons of F-35Bs; and the Lift Fan Repair and Test facility at FRC East to allow the Depot to maintain the lift fan component of the F-35B engine, which enables the Marine Corps version of the aircraft to take off and land vertically. FRC East has been designated by the F-35 Joint Program Office as the preferred site to build the Lift Fan facility.
For more information about these and other issues essential to our area, visit AlliesforCherryPoint.com.
Submitted by: Shannon LuQuire, Trade Ideas, Inc