WASHINGTON — A key Senate committee has approved a request by U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici to authorize defense funding for construction projects at Cannon Air Force Base, including a new aerospace ground equipment complex.
The Cannon-related items are included in the FY2004 Defense Authorization Bill, which has been approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The Senate is expected to begin debate on the bill today, which sets military policy and funding-level recommendations.
The bill also endorses the president’s budget requests for work at Kirtland Air Force Base and White Sands Missile Range.
The Armed Services Committee agreed to authorize, at Domenici’s request, the expenditure of $8.7 million to construct a new Aerospace Ground Equipment (AGE) Complex at Cannon.
The new facility would replace existing World War II-era structures from which current AGE operations are conducted.
“I’m very pleased with this authorization, which should make it easier to secure actual appropriated funds for this construction,” Domenici said. “There’s an indisputable need to consolidate and expand the aerospace ground activities at the base. This project would do that and ultimately improve overall flight operations at the base.”
In addition to the AGE complex, the Senate committee also agreed to Domenici’s authorization request for $1.3 million to install a permanent simplified short-approach lighting system with sequenced flashers on Runway 13.
Runway 13 has threshold lights, and Runway End Identifier Lights (REIL), but no approach lights.
“This runway lighting involves increasing safety for pilots flying at night or in bad weather,” Domenici said.
Domenici serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee and its subcommittee on defense.
The Cannon projects authorized in the Armed Services bill would be earmarked for actual funding in the FY2004 Military Construction Appropriations Bill.
Domenici also supported the Armed Services Committee endorsement of the following military construction projects requested in President Bush’s FY2004 budget requests:
n $6.9 million in military construction funds for an arsenic treatment facility at Kirtland Air Force Base. This project will help bring the base into full compliance with new EPA arsenic standards for potable water;
n $3.6 million for radar test facility upgrades at White Sands Missile Range. The facility is operated by the 46th Test Group, a tenant unit at Holloman Air Force base, and is used to support activities of the National Radar Cross Section Facility;
n $14.6 million for 58 units of Family Housing Replacement Construction for WSMR.