Delegation presses for funds

CNJ Staff

The New Mexico Congressional Delegation has pressed the secretary of defense to release $13.2 million the group secured last year for a modern fuel storage and distribution system at Cannon Air Force Base, according to a press release from the delegation.

The funding was included in the Fiscal Year 2006 Military Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill, but has yet to be released by the Pentagon, the release reads.

“We strongly believe this project is of critical importance and request that this funding be released to allow this project to move forward,” the delegation wrote in a letter to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

The funding for Cannon will support the construction of two jet fuel storage tanks and a loading facility, the release reads. A modern fuel storage and distribution system will help renovate facilities constructed in the 1960s so that commercial fuel delivery trucks can be safely unloaded, according to the release.

Distribution of the funding was stalled during the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, but the delegation believes the funding should have been distributed following the announcement that CAFB would be the new home to Air Force Special Operations Command, the release reads.

“We believe that progress on these important projects is necessary to ensure the men and women of AFSOC have the equipment and facilities they need to accomplish their mission,” the delegation added in the letter.

Following the decision to locate AFSOC at Cannon, the delegation successfully got the Defense Department to release $9.5 million they secured in FY2005 funding to begin planning and construction of a consolidated airmen’s center at Cannon. This facility will include a dining hall, postal center, a laundry exchange, and troop subsistence issue, according to the release.

Rumsfeld resigned as secretary of defense Nov. 8, and President Bush has nominated former CIA Director Robert Gates as his successor.