$111 million set aside for Fort Polk in advancing defense legislation
American Press: Pamela Sleezer
Washington, September 3, 2023
The Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense budget, which includes priorities for three Louisiana military bases, was passed by the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday.
The legislation will now move on to the full House of Representatives for passage.
If fully approved, the legislation will provide $56 million to Fort Polk for the construction of a new barracks housing building for service members and another $55 million for the construction of a new Joint Operations Center, which serves as the command and control hub for all training rotations at the base’s Joint Readiness Training Center.
The current JOC is housed in a building originally constructed in the early 1960s and was intended more as a “classroom,” according to officials, and is considered inadequate for the installation’s present training needs.
The proposed defense budget would also dedicate $36 million to Barksdale Air Force Base for the construction of a new gate and entrance complex, as well as $40 million for the construction of a Weapons Generation Facility. Officials said the WGF would allow for B-52 aircrafts to be loaded with their nuclear payloads at Barksdale, rather than at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.
The legislative also requests $13.8 million for the Louisiana National Guard’s Camp Minden to construct a new barracks housing building, to improve on-site housing.
Congressman Mike Johnson, whose district encompasses Fort Polk, Barksdale Air Force Base and Camp Minden, has been a strong proponent of the budgetary priorities for Louisiana’s military strength, praised the approval on Thursday and said he would continue to advocate for the state’s military needs.
“I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to represent the interests of our military installations and the courageous families who call them home. The philosophy of ‘peace through strength’ is as relevant today as it has ever been and I am fully committed to continue working with my colleagues in a bipartisan manner to ensure our military has the support it needs from Congress to keep our country safe,” Johnson stated.