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An on-base housing project at RAF Lakenheath and a National Security Agency “information facility” at RAF Menwith Hill received the two biggest portions of 2006 military construction money approved for American bases in the United Kingdom.

In all, U.K. facilities received about $108 million in construction funds, though only three of the country’s bases will see any of the federal supplement, which was approved at the end of the year.

The biggest chunk of the pie — $48 million — will go to RAF Lakenheath to pay for some 100 homes at the base’s new Liberty Village, a housing project that eventually will include more than 600 on-post houses, base spokeswoman Tech. Sgt. Renee Kirkland said.

RAF Lakenheath also received the largest sum of the 2006 construction money for U.K. bases ($53.56 million), with the addition of $5.1 million to pay for new munitions maintenance and storage facilities on the fighter base, Kirkland said.

Next on the price list is a $41.7 million replacement of an operations and technical facility at RAF Menwith Hill, the remote North Yorkshire base. Little official detail on the purpose of the facility was available from either the base or the NSA, though budget documents describe it as a “131,000 square feet Operational Facility Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility.”

The $41.7 million is scheduled to pay for the first half of the two-phase construction plan, according to budget documents.

The remainder of this year’s MILCON money is destined for RAF Mildenhall, where $13.5 million has been allocated to pay for the first phase of a new 3,000-square-meter administration building. The new building, to be constructed on Ford’s Park in the center of the base, will replace civil engineering and British defense offices from three other buildings, said base spokeswoman Tech. Sgt. Kelley Stewart.

Left out of the 2006 construction budget were England’s seven geographically separated units under the care of the 501st Combat Support Wing.

Wing Vice Commander Col. J.R. Smith said the omission wasn’t a slight by the higher commands pulling the purse strings, though requests for projects at England’s outlying bases were on the list for this year.

Command priorities, force-protection considerations and U.S. Air Forces in Europe goals sometimes just bump projects down the list, he said.

“In a world of limited resources … unfortunately, we don’t always get what we want,” Smith said.

Projects proposed for 2006 are still on the books, he said. The next likely approval will be for improvements at RAF Croughton to build a larger vehicle inspection station and extend the on-base perimeter road in 2008, Smith said.

After that, another likely project will be a new main gate for RAF Alconbury, he said.

MILCON allotments do not include money for regular operations and maintenance, which will take place at the various 501st bases this year, Smith said. It also does not include the remainder of more than $140 million in NATO money being spent on airfield improvements at RAF Fairford to make it “the premier bomber bed-down location in the European theater,” according to 2006 budget documents.


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