Work on the environmental impact statement for BRAC 2005 actions affecting Eglin AFB, Fla., has expanded, leading to a one-year delay for the record of decision, an Eglin Environmental Office spokesman told the Daily Report Tuesday. In testimony last week, the deputy commander for US Special Operations Command, Vice Adm. Eric Olson, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that there were “environmental impact concerns … largely related to the stationing of the F-35 strike fighter at Eglin” that had delayed the move of the Army’s 7th Special Forces Group from Ft. Bragg, N.C., to Eglin “by up to a year.” However, the environmental folks attribute the delay to both new missions. In a response to questions, the spokesman said Eglin is modifying the original EIS to include “a more detailed examination of flying operations” and to add “potential sites for possible 7th SFG cantonment areas.” Because of “this additional work,” he said, the EIS completion date “has slipped approximately one year.” Just for the record, the addition of the F-35 to Eglin involves establishment of the Initial Joint Strike Fighter Integrated Training Complex, designed to train Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and British aircrews. From all new mission actions, Eglin expects to add some 5,000 personnel.
In a nighttime ceremony contrived to continue concealment of many of its features, the new B-21 bomber rolled out of Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif. plant Dec. 2. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the aircraft's advanced technology represents "deterrence, the American way."