03.28.19

AS PENTAGON SEEKS TO REDIRECT FUNDING FOR TRUMP BORDER WALL, SCHUMER, GILLIBRAND CALL ON DOD TO PROTECT CRITICAL FUNDING FOR NEW YORK MILITARY CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS

On Monday Night, Acting Secretary of Defense Announced DOD Will Spend Up to $1 Billion to Start Construction of 57 Miles of Trump Border Wall

Department of Defense Planning to Also Redirect Additional $3.6 Billion in Military Construction Funds for Trump Border Wall

More than $300 Million in Federal Funding Designated for New York Military Projects – at the Air Force Research Lab Rome, the United States Military Academy at West Point, Gabreski Air National Guard Base, and NFARS – at Risk of Being Redirected

Schumer, Gillibrand: We Cannot Degrade Our Military to Fund An Expensive Wall that Is Neither Effective nor Necessary

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee, today announced that they are calling on the Department of Defense (DOD) to protect funding designated for New York military construction projects, which is at risk of being diverted to construct President Trump’s border wall. On Monday night, Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan announced that the DOD will spend up to $1 billion to build 57 miles of wall at the border. With the DOD planning to eventually spend an additional $3.6 billion of military construction funds for the wall, this could put more than $300 million of federal funding allocated for New York projects at risk of being diverted. In a letter to Acting Secretary Shanahan, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand expressed their alarm by the president’s attempt to cut military construction funds in order to construct an expensive and unnecessary wall at the southern border and called on the DOD to protect this funding.  

“When it comes to New York State’s world-class military assets, our chief focus must be investing the necessary funds to keep them fully modernized and operating at the peak of excellence and readiness, not raiding them to pay for an ineffective and expensive project that has already been rejected by Congress,” said Senator Schumer. “I will aggressively fight to protect the vital projects at all of New York’s military-related facilities, because defense spending is for national defense, not made-up national emergencies.”

“New York’s military installations serve a critical role in defending our nation, provide intelligence for our national defense, and train the brave men and women who serve our country. These installations are absolutely essential to our country’s national defense, but the President’s request to construct a needless wall could put important projects at these sites at risk,” said Senator Gillibrand, Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee. “These projects were requested by the military itself and then determined to be necessary by Congress, which already allocated funding accordingly. Rather than protecting our nation, the President’s request puts our national security at risk, and I am calling on the Department of Defense to protect this critical funding and ensure our military readiness.”

In recent Fiscal Years, Congress allocated $300,200,000 in federal funding for military construction projects at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome, the United States Military Academy at West Point, Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton, and Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station (NFARS) in Niagara Falls. In their letter to Acting Secretary Shanahan, the Senators outlined the needs of each project and their importance to military readiness.

A list of New York military construction projects with funding at risk of being diverted can be found below:

Air Force Research Laboratory Rome – Rome, New York

Project: Anti-Terrorism Perimeter Security/Entry Control Point

  • Allocated Funding: $14,200,000
  • The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Information Directorate is the Air Force's and nation's premier research organization for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I) and Cyber technologies. The directorate explores, prototypes, and demonstrates high-impact, affordable and game-changing technologies. These technologies transform data into information and subsequently knowledge for decision makers to command and control forces. This knowledge gives our air, space and cyberspace forces the competitive advantage needed to protect and defend the nations. Ensuring the security of Rome Lab and its personnel is critical to this important mission. This request will directly enhance the anti-terrorism, perimeter security, and entry control point at Rome, NY.

The United States Military Academy at West Point

Project: Cemetery

  • Allocated Funding: $22,000,000
  • The Cemetery expansion at West Point is required to support the Army’s commitment to provide in-ground burial to authorized service members and their families. The placement of pre-placed crypts, similar to those used at VA Cemeteries is required to maximize use of the available land. Each crypt will allow for the burial of 2-3 related decedents. When complete, this project will provide approximately 1,800 additional in-ground burial gravesites and extend the life of the Cemetery for an estimated 40 years.

Project: Waste Water Treatment Plant

  • Allocated Funding: $70,000,000
  • The current waste water treatment plant was built in 1956 and upgraded in 1972. Various tanks are leaking which compromises plant operation. The tanks are beyond repair. The plant has problems consistently meeting discharge requirements. Nineteen violations to the state pollution discharge elimination system permit were reported to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation between January 2011 and February 2013. If this project is not provided then the plant will continue operations that do not meet environmental standards. West Point will be at risk for continued and increased citations for environmental violations caused by insufficient treatment and direct discharges. Each violation exposes the Army to additional compliance agreements, fines or penalties. Maintenance costs on the existing plant will continue to climb as the plant degrades with age.

Project: Engineering Center

  • Allocated Funding: $95,000,000
  • This project is required to provide the U.S. Military Academy with flexible multi-disciplinary project based educational space for STEM that achieves compliance with academic standards. The facility is required to compete with peer institutions for recruitment of STEM students and, in particular, highly recruited under-represented candidates. This project will provide open, unstructured project areas, high-bay space, collaborative workspaces and laboratories essential for project-based learning. Currently, there are no adequate existing permanent facilities available at the West Point Military Reservation to support compliance with engineering academic standards. Adequate facilities for the support of project-based learning and Cyber Security Studies do not exist.

Project: Parking Structure

  • Allocated Funding: $65,000,000
  • The proposed parking structure for faculty and staff will support the academic program within the central Cadet Zone area of West Point. The parking structure will provide 450 parking stalls, access elevators, exterior paved walkways, lighting, electronic security system, and guard booth. Parking within the academic campus area is critically short, and does not meet the requirement of numerous faculty and staff that work within this area. Additionally, much of the parking is in violation of anti-terrorism force protection standards, and needs to be relocated. Due to the steep terrain and limited developable land and the dense arrangement of campus buildings, the parking structure will be multi-story. This will enable the required 450 parking spaces to fit within the dense campus, minimize the amount of land needed, and account for the steep slopes.

Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base – Westhampton, New York

Project: Security Forces/Communication Training Facility

  • Allocated Funding for Fiscal Year 2019: $20,000,000
  • The installation requires a properly sited, adequately sized, and appropriately configured security forces, communication, and fitness facility to support aircraft supporting rescue and rescue training missions. The base communication and security forces functions are housed in building 250, which is over 60 years old and was originally constructed as a warehouse facility. Because of non-compliance the facility cannot be upgraded and must be replaced. Additionally, the building is in disrepair with most the utilities and other building systems have surpassed their economic life. 

Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station – Niagara Falls, New York

Project: Physical Fitness Center

  • Allocated Funding: $14,000,000
  • The mission readiness of the 914th Air Refueling Wing is largely dependent on the health, fitness, and morale of assigned Reserve and civilian employees. A properly sized and configured Physical Fitness Center is essential to improve all of these attributes. The existing Physical Fitness Center was constructed in 1955, is undersized and has significant deficiencies to include the facility envelope. The gymnasium does not provide adequate space for Reservists to accomplish fitness training for the number of Reservists assigned to Niagara Falls ARS. The electrical system, boilers and chillers are old and require frequent adjustment. The parking lot is inadequate for the size of the structure. Without a new facility, fitness requirements may not be met since there is inadequate safe space for all required equipment.

The full text of the Senators’ letter can be found here and below:

The Honorable Patrick M. Shanahan

Acting Secretary of Defense

1000 Defense Pentagon

Washington, DC

20301-1000

Dear Acting Secretary Shanahan,

We are deeply alarmed by the president’s attempt to cut military construction funds in order to construct an unnecessary wall on the southern border.  These funds—designated by Congress to support our armed forces—are critical to maintaining military readiness, honoring our armed forces, and making crucial infrastructure repairs.  In New York alone, more than $300 million of military construction funding is at risk of being redirected to fulfill the president’s campaign promise of building a wall.  These New York projects provide necessary capabilities to the U.S. military, and the president agrees: many of these projects were requested and approved by the current administration. Below, we have provided additional details on the New York military construction projects listed as “at-risk” in the document you released earlier this week.  The justifications included for each project stem from the Department’s own budget justification documents to Congress in recent years.  We ask that you protect these vital projects and request your written response to our concerns.   We cannot degrade our military at the expense of servicemembers and their families to fund a wall that is neither an effective nor necessary response to our national security.

Air Force Research Laboratory Rome – Rome, New York

Anti-Terrorism Perimeter Security/Entry Control Point: $14,200,000

  • Rome, NY is home to the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Information Directorate—the Air Force's and nation's premier research organization for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I) and Cyber technologies. The directorate explores, prototypes, and demonstrates high-impact, affordable and game-changing technologies. These technologies transform data into information and subsequently knowledge for decision makers to command and control forces. This knowledge gives our air, space and cyberspace forces the competitive advantage needed to protect and defend the nations.  Ensuring the security of Rome Lab and its personnel is critical to this important mission.  This request will directly enhance the anti-terrorism, perimeter security, and entry control point at Rome, NY.

The United States Military Academy at West Point

Cemetery: $22,000,000

  • The Cemetery expansion at West Point is required to support the Army’s commitment to provide in-ground burial to authorized service members and their families. The placement of pre-placed crypts, similar to those used at VA Cemeteries is required to maximize use of the available land. Each crypt will allow for the burial of 2-3 related decedents. When complete, this project will provide approximately 1,800 additional in-ground burial gravesites and extend the life of the Cemetery for an estimated 40 years.

Waste Water Treatment Plant: $70,000,000

  • The current plant is failing. The plant was built in 1956 and upgraded in 1972. Various tanks are leaking which compromises plant operation. The tanks are beyond repair. The plant has problems consistently meeting discharge requirements. Nineteen violations to the state pollution discharge elimination system permit were reported to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation between January 2011 and February 2013. If this project is not provided then the plant will continue operations that do not meet environmental standards. West Point will be at risk for continued and increased citations for environmental violations caused by insufficient treatment and direct discharges. Each violation exposes the Army to additional compliance agreements, fines or penalties. Maintenance costs on the existing plant will continue to climb as the plant degrades with age.

Engineering Center: $95,000,000

  • This project is required to provide the U.S. Military Academy with flexible multi-disciplinary project based educational space for STEM that achieves compliance with academic standards. The facility is required to compete with peer institutions for recruitment of STEM students and, in particular, highly recruited under-represented candidates. This project will provide open, unstructured project areas, high-bay space, collaborative workspaces and laboratories essential for project-based learning. Currently, there are no adequate existing permanent facilities available at the West Point Military Reservation to support compliance with engineering academic standards. Adequate facilities for the support of project-based learning and Cyber Security Studies do not exist.

Parking Structure: $65,000,000

  • The proposed parking structure for faculty and staff will support the academic program within the central Cadet Zone area of West Point. The parking structure will provide 450 parking stalls, access elevators, exterior paved walkways, lighting, electronic security system, and guard booth. Parking within the academic campus area is critically short, and does not meet the requirement of numerous faculty and staff that work within this area. Additionally, much of the parking is in violation of anti-terrorism force protection standards, and needs to be relocated. Due to the steep terrain and limited developable land and the dense arrangement of campus buildings, the parking structure will be multi-story. This will enable the required 450 parking spaces to fit within the dense campus, minimize the amount of land needed, and account for the steep slopes.

Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base – Westhampton, New York

Security Forces/Communication Training Facility: $20,000,000

  • The installation requires a properly sited, adequately sized, and appropriately configured security forces, communication, and fitness facility to support 4 PAA HC-130 and 5 PAA HH-60 aircraft supporting rescue and rescue training missions. The base communication and security forces functions are housed in building 250, which is over 60 years old and was originally constructed as a warehouse facility. Because of non-compliance the facility cannot be upgraded and must be replaced. Additionally, the building is in disrepair with most the utilities and other building systems have surpassed their economic life. 

Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station – Niagara Falls, New York

Physical Fitness Center: $14,000,000

  • The mission readiness of the 914th Air Refueling Wing is largely dependent on the health, fitness, and morale of assigned Reserve and civilian employees. A properly sized and configured Physical Fitness Center is essential to improve all of these attributes. The existing Physical Fitness Center was constructed in 1955, is undersized and has significant deficiencies to include the facility envelope. The gymnasium does not provide adequate space for Reservists to accomplish fitness training for the number of Reservists assigned to Niagara Falls ARS. The electrical system, boilers and chillers are old and require frequent adjustment. The parking lot is inadequate for the size of the structure. Without a new facility, fitness requirements may not be met since there is inadequate safe space for all required equipment.

Sincerely,

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