Here’s How USAF Will Spend $1B in Disaster Aid

One of many areas near the southeast side of Offutt AFB, Neb., affected by flood waters is shown on March 16, 2019. Air Force photo by TSgt. Rachelle Blake.

The Air Force plans to spend $1 billion in supplemental disaster-aid funding on 15 military construction efforts at three bases, according to a list of the projects obtained by Air Force Magazine. Congress approved the funding in June, but required the Air Force to explain how the money would be spent.

Seven projects are slated for Tyndall AFB, Fla., which was hit by Category 5 Hurricane Michael in October 2018. Four will take place at Offutt AFB, Neb., following severe flooding that covered about one-third of the base in March. Another four are planned for JB Langley-Eustis, Va., so it can host the F-22 formal training unit previously located at Tyndall.

Congress approved the supplemental in June after a drawn-out debate about how to allocate funds to affected areas across the continental US and Puerto Rico. The bill offered $1 billion that can be used through the end of September 2023 for planning, design, and new construction expenses related to rebuilding from Hurricane Michael and floods in 2019. It also provided an extra $670 million for fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance to restore salvageable facilities.

Four projects will rebuild facilities to accommodate the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at Tyndall: a maintenance hangar, a parking apron, a maintenance squadron complex, and munitions storage facilities. The Air Force plans to replace the F-22 mission at Tyndall with the F-35 starting in 2023.

Another Tyndall effort aims to further base-wide site development and utilities repair. Restoring the child development center is also a top priority. The service is charting out a 12-part plan to rebuild the base in a new layout and using various new technologies, in what officials hope will be a model “base of the future.” Restoring Tyndall is expected to cost about $5 billion over several years.

At Offutt, the supplemental will fund work on a campus for aircrews who sit on alert for the E-4 Nightwatch and E-6 Mercury nuclear command, control, and communications aircraft; a non-kinetic operations campus for intelligence, cyber, and electronic warfare; and a Milstar satellite communications station. Rebuilding Offutt is currently slated to cost more than $650 million and last into the mid-2020s.

The Air Force also said in an Aug. 26 release that a separate project to replace an Offutt runway—sections of which are more than 70 years old—is delayed from December 2019 to October 2020 so workers can avoid demolition and initial groundwork over the winter. Flight operations will move about 50 miles away to Lincoln Airport.

For JB Langley-Eustis, the Air Force wants to build a hangar for both operations and maintenance, a training support squadron facility, and a facility to repair stealth components of the F-22.

All contracts on the list are slated for award next summer or early fall, with the exception of two Tyndall and Offutt planning and design contracts that will be awarded by the end of September. Another contract for JB Langley-Eustis is due out in late 2019.