Military Capabilities

US Air Force requests roughly USD5 billion in supplemental funding for base disaster recovery

27 March 2019

Flooding in the Midwestern US during March 2019 damaged many buildings on the southern half of Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. Source: USAF

Key Points

  • The US Air Force requested about USD5 billion in additional funding to help rebuild key bases
  • Tyndall Air Force Base is a major aircraft hub while Offutt Air Force Base is home to US Strategic Command

The US Air Force (USAF) on 23 March requested approximately USD5 billion in supplemental funding for disaster recovery efforts at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, and Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.

The service said in a statement that it would be forced to cut facility and readiness requirements without this supplemental funding. The USAF requested USD1.2 billion in fiscal year 2019 (FY 2019) funds and USD3.7 in FY 2020–21. Tyndall is a major USAF aircraft hub while Offutt is home to US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) and the 55th Wing.

USAF Secretary Heather Wilson said on 27 March that the service has been recovering at Tyndall and moving aircraft and people for 5.5 months by taking money from other USAF accounts.

“This storm, if we don’t get a supplemental, is going to affect the rest of the Air Force and our ability to operate,” Wilson said at the Heritage Foundation think tank. “We desperately need the supplemental to recover from the natural disasters that hammered Tyndall and Offutt.”

USAF spokesperson Ann Stefanek said on 27 March that this request is to rebuild Tyndall so Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters (JSFs) could go there in the future, pending appropriate environmental analyses. The USAF in December 2018 requested supplemental funding to base three squadrons, or 63–72 F-35s at Tyndall Air Force Base.

The USAF said that without this supplemental funding, it would stop all new work at Tyndall on 1 May. This would delay the return of full base operations and severely impair flight operations. It would also curtail aircraft repairs starting 15 May, grounding five bomber aircraft as early as September 2019, and create a long-term backlog for Boeing E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) maintenance.

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