Construction numbers are down for Army, but Fort Bragg bolstered by special ops

By Drew Brooks | The Fayetteville Observer, N.C. | Published: February 10, 2016

The Army's smallest military construction budget in years means there will be fewer new projects on Fort Bragg than in years past.

But it will still see some work, as it is bolstered by continued growth in special operations.

The 2017 Department of Defense budget proposal includes roughly $86.6 million in construction for Fort Bragg.

That's out of nearly $5.8 billion earmarked for construction across the U.S. military, but only $805 million of the construction costs were requested by the Army.

At Fort Bragg, the Army did not request any new projects for the 2017 budget.

Instead, the new projects come from U.S. Special Operations Command.

They include a $10.9 million combat medic training facility, a $21.4 million parachute rigging facility, a $30.6 million special tactics facility and a $23.6 million tactical equipment maintenance facility.

All of those projects would be used by special operations forces at Fort Bragg.

The budget request does not affect numerous ongoing construction projects on post that were funded in previous years.

The Fort Bragg construction requests follow a recent trend of upgrades and new buildings on post for the installation's sizeable special operations community.

The projects support two three-star commands headquartered on the installation, Joint Special Operations Command and U.S. Army Special Operations Command.

The secretive JSOC requested the special tactics facility, which would include two team buildings, unit storage, covered parking and a combat support team maintenance facility/equipment barn.

The new facility would consolidate JSOC's Bragg-based special tactics airmen, who are spread across 13 buildings and trailers, including some that are 38 miles from their respective headquarters.

USASOC requested the remaining construction projects.

The combat medic training facility would be part of the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School and help train Army, Navy and Marine Corps special operations medics.

The current medic training facility is in a former dining facility, according to budget documents. The building does not support wireless networks, and classrooms are too small to accommodate the necessary number of students and training aids.

The new facility would allow the school to train 768 students a year, as opposed to the current 512 students.

The parachute rigging facility would support the Special Warfare Center and School and 1st Special Forces Command.

Both units currently use parachute facilities in older buildings that fall 38,000 square feet short of needed space. The proposed facility also would include a parachute drying tower not currently available to the units.

The tactical equipment maintenance facility would be built for the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade.

It would support all brigade vehicles for maintenance and parking needs and bring those vehicles closer to the brigade's current headquarters.

The facility would replace a similar, but smaller facility in a congested area of Fort Bragg and better support a unit that is growing from 200 soldiers to an estimated 1,800 soldiers by 2017, according to budget documents.

Across the state, North Carolina once again will see one of the largest military construction booms in the nation.

The state, which is home to several major military installations, will see more than $297 million in new construction based on the 2017 budget proposal.

That's the fifth-most for any location, behind Alaska, California, Maryland and Japan, but well short of the nearly $412 million in construction earmarked for the state in the 2016 budget.

In addition to the projects at Fort Bragg, other North Carolina projects include:

  • Nearly $49.5 million in construction at Camp Lejeune, including $31 million for a replacement dental clinic.
  • About $12.5 million in construction at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point for a central heating plant conversion.
  • Approximately $50.6 million at Charlotte Douglas International Airport for improvements to North Carolina Air National Guard facilities.
  • And just under $98 million for construction at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, all of which is related to facilities for the KC-46A tanker.

Military editor Drew Brooks can be reached at brooksd@fayobserver.com or 486-3567.
(c)2016 The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.)
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