The Air Force has scrapped close to $4 million in projects planned for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to pay for disaster relief at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida.
Two projects at Wright-Patt “are not going to happen,” Heather Wilson, secretary of the Air Force said on Twitter. In total, 61 projects in 18 states have been cut due to the need for hurricane-related repairs at Tyndall, which is located near Panama City.
One canceled project at Wright-Patt would have cost $3.15 million and would have led to the replacement of a cooling tower and condenser water lines serving three buildings for the Air Force Research Laboratory, said base spokeswoman Marie Vanover.
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A second project was set to renovate Wright-Patt’s building 15 for $802,000. With the renovations the facility would have provided space for operations regarding natural and man-made disasters on the base and in the surrounding community and would have provided provided room for “readiness training” for all military personnel, Vanover said.
The project cancellations at Wright-Patt and other Air Force sites may just be the beginning, Wilson said on Twitter.
“These are just the 1st decisions we had to make…We will be forced to cut more critical facility & readiness requirements if we don’t receive it by May/June,” she tweeted.
Tyndall Air Force Base has had a spate of weather-related bad luck recently.
In October, Tyndall was ravaged by Hurricane Michael and the damage was reportedly “catastrophic.” Then on Jan. 19, Tyndall was hit by a tornado, according to the base’s official Facebook page.
As of January, Air Force officials had issued around $175 million in contracts to repair damage at Tyndall.
Not only is the Air Force facing a money squeeze because at Tyndall, but another disaster is playing out right now in Nebraska.
Flood waters have caused serious damage at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha. The flooding, Wilson has said, could force even further financial juggling inside the service.
The canceled projects come just weeks after the Department of Defense announced it may shift millions of dollars Congress approved to expand an intelligence center at Wright-Patt to finance president Donald Trump’s southern border wall.
A list of potential cuts to build the wall could impact $112 million of military construction projects in Ohio. The list includes the first installment of a long–coveted expansion of facilities for the National Air and Space Intelligence Center and $6.8 million for a new fire/crash rescue station at Wright-Patt.
The NASIC expansion, which will cost around $182 million, is one of the biggest construction projects in the base’s history, officials have said. The intelligence agency analyzes adversaries air, space, and cyber threats, such as ballistic missile capabilities, and provides findings to the nation’s political and military leaders.
Possible cuts could also affect smaller construction projects at Camp Ravenna, Mansfield, Toledo and Youngstown. The funding is a portion of what Trump sought through a national emergency declaration that allows him to redirect federal dollars already approved by Congress.
The move to divert funds from the military to build a wall has been criticized by both Republicans and Democrats, including Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.
“President Trump claims he wants to help workers and support our military, yet his actions tell a different story,” Brown said in a prepared statement last month. “The President is hurting military missions by taking money away from Ohio military installations to pay for his vanity project.”
Reporter Jamie Dupree and the Associated Press contributed to this story.
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