By Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill
National Guard Bureau
ARLINGTON, Va. (4/1/09) â€“ Federal economic stimulus money will benefit National Guard communities nationwide.
Expect to see construction in the coming months at National Guard airfields; operations and family readiness centers; communications, dining and maintenance facilities; fire stations; state and wing headquarters and training areas across America.
The money comes from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, an effort to jumpstart the economy, create and save jobs and build a foundation for long-term economic growth.
The stimulus package totals about $787 billion with the Department of Defense scheduled to receive about $7.4 billion or less than 1 percent, Pentagon officials said.
â€œImprovements in the defense infrastructure also will result in improved readiness to meet the national security challenges of the 21st century,â€ Robert F. Hale, undersecretary of defense (comptroller) and chief financial officer, wrote in a March 20 letter to Congress announcing specific projects that he said will â€œhelp improve the quality of life for our troops and their families.â€
The National Guardâ€™s share includes $100 million for military and family housing construction and more than $292 million for facilities sustainment, restoration and modernization.
The construction money is split evenly between the Army and Air National Guard while most of the facilities' money â€“ about $266 million of it â€“ is slated for the Army Guard.
The DoD also announced on March 20 about 3,000 military construction and facility improvement projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico will be accelerated or started at once with this money.
Among a slew of National Guard projects:
â€¢Â Â Â Â Connecticut: Camp Hartell gets a $750,000 utility upgrade and Enfield Armory gets $38,000 for an energy management system as the stateâ€™s Guard spends about $4 million of Recovery Act dollars on a plethora of projects.
â€¢Â Â Â Â Oregon: The Oregon Military Department is using Recovery Act money to clear a statewide facilities maintenance backlog. â€œThis is an outstanding way to create and sustain jobs while also modernizing facilities, which can be used by the communities throughout the state for years to come,â€ said Roy Swafford, project manager for the Oregon Military Installations Department. Oregon is typical of how fast stimulus money is being spent. All projects were scheduled to be out for bid by March 31.
â€¢Â Â Â Â Virginia: A total of $7.5 million goes to the Virginia National Guard Maneuver Training Center at Fort Pickett for infrastructure improvements. â€œFort Pickett is extremely excited about receiving this stimulus package,â€ said Army Col. Tom Wilkinson, commander of the training center.
â€¢Â Â Â Â West Virginia: The 167th Airlift Wing of the West Virginia Air National Guard gets $4.3 million for a C-5 Galaxy military transport aircraft avionics shop.
â€¢Â Â Â Â Wisconsin: A total of $2.5 million goes to construction at the Air National Guard base at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, with more money targeted at other Guard facilities in the state.
The National Guard will continue to work with the Office of the Secretary of Defense to develop spending plans and reporting and accounting structures, National Guard Bureau officials said.
DoD priorities for stimulus money have included much-needed improvements to military installations, including hospitals, care for wounded warriors and energy security.
Monitor what projects are selected and how money is spent on the DoD Web site: www.defenselink.mil/recovery.