More than eight months after hurricanes devastated Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and surrounding North Carolina bases along with Tyndall AFB, Fla., and about three months after raging storm waters engulfed Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., these installations soon will receive much-needed aid to start repairing their infrastructure and operations.
A $19.1 billion disaster relief package signed June 6 by President Donald Trump includes $2.7 billion to repair the military installations, with $1.6 billion of that money marked for military construction projects.
Tyndall will get $1 billion of the military construction dollars for rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Michael and to prepare for basing F-35 squadrons at the facility. Offutt will get $670 million to address flooding damage. Another $600 million will go to Marine Corps Air Stations New River and Cherry Point, N.C., and Camp Lejeune to cover designing and consolidating some of the Marine Corps facilities damaged by Hurricane Michael. An Army National Guard facility in the area will be rebuilt thanks to another $42 million.
Congress made numerous attempts to enact the relief package and provide the much-needed emergency funds, but several efforts stalled over disputes between lawmakers and the president over funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall and relief funds for Puerto Rico.
Defense funding contained in the relief package is expected to be used only for purposes of military construction and rebuilding of base operations. Lawmakers are considering additional funding for these military facilities as they work on approving defense spending for fiscal year 2020.