U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) today announced that the Senate Fiscal Year 2008 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act includes $124 million to improve Tennessee’s military infrastructure and aid the nation during this time of war.
The bill also includes increased levels of funding for veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs will receive a total of $87.5 billion, an increase of $6.5 billion over the FY07 level and the Veterans Affairs Medical Administration, which operates Veterans Affairs medical centers and other facilities, will receive $3.64 billion, an increase of $450 million over the FY07 level.
“The troops serving our country, their families and our veterans all deserve the best we can give them as a nation,” said Alexander, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “This bill will enhance the equipping, training and security of our men and women in uniform while also providing needed resources and support to the families and veterans who have given so much to this country.”
“I continue to be tremendously impressed with the professionalism and commitment of our men and women in uniform. It is incredibly moving to be in their presence and see the work they are doing on a daily basis on our behalf, and I was proud to support this bill to ensure that we are giving our military families the best possible resources and infrastructure to support their service to our country,” said Corker. “I’m also very pleased that this bill includes increased funding to help the Department of Veterans Affairs process the backlog in veterans’ benefits claims. This certainly won’t solve all of the problems related to veterans care, but it’s an important step in the right direction.”
Key Tennessee projects funded in the Senate version of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act include:
$450,000 for a chapel center at Fort Campbell. Currently, Fort Campbell only has one-third the number of chapels they require and three of the current chapels are 65-year-old temporary wooden buildings. The new chapel facility would help support the 72 chaplains who perform 17 religious services weekly in conjunction with other regular weekly programs.
$264,000 for a readiness center for the Tennessee Army National Guard in Tullahoma. The new center will provide National Guard units with a facility that will greatly enhance the daily administrative, operational and logistical support in Tullahoma.
$1,120,000 to help replace squadron operations and relocate security perimeter for the Tennessee Air National Guard at McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville. Squadron operations serve as the USAF command post and base operations center for intelligence briefings/debriefings, standardization and evaluation of missions, flight planning, and unit administration. Funding will be used to relocate the security perimeter and will allow the base to meet current AT/FP standards.
$35,000,000 for the Battalion Operations Complex for the 5th Special Forces Group at Fort Campbell
$5,000,000 for an indoor shooting range at Fort Campbell
$3,200,000 to relocate the base access road for the Tennessee Air National Guard at McGhee Tyson Airport
$18,500,000 for the Group Support Battalion Complex for the 5th Special Forces Group at Fort Campbell
$49,000,000 for the vehicle maintenance facility (UEx) at Fort Campbell
$6,676,000 for C-5 aircraft infrastructure support for the Tennessee Air National Guard at Memphis International Airport
$3,200,000 for C-5 aircraft run-up enclosure for the Tennessee Air National Guard at Memphis International Airport
$1,500,000 for a C-5 aircraft munitions storage complex for the Tennessee Air National Guard at Memphis International Airport