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 recently released budget documents, The Jacksonville Daily News reports.
The spending includes roughly $57.7 million for new facilities on Fort Bragg, $193.7 million at Camp Lejeune, $26.4 million at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and $15.6 million at Marine Corps 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, the newspaper reports. “Those installations are expected to have key roles in the stationing of those aircraft, which could help protect them from future base realignment/closure possibilities.”
The Department of Defense budget documents released on May 23 indicate the military plans to ask Congress to approve a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round in 2021.
Officials with the North Carolina Military Affairs Commission discussed that request during a meeting in Raleigh.
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.
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 Marine Corps 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, the report says.
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.
The NCMBC works to help match opportunities with businesses in the state, hosting the annual FEDCON summit for federal contractors each year in Wilmington. This year’s summit is planned for Oct. 24-25.
The new Fort Bragg construction will fulfill requests by U.S. Special Operations Command, including 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.
This year, Camp Lejeune also will see new projects for its special operations forces, including a $10.8 million human performance training center and a $20.5 million motor transport maintenance expansion. Other proposed LeJune projects include $327.9 million for new housing for enlisted bachelors and $65.7 million for a replacement water treatment plant.