Va. Delegation Pushes Army National Guard to Include New Richmond Aviation Facility in DoD Budget

January 24, 2020
Press Release
Letter urges the Army National Guard to prioritize the new Richmond aviation facility, current facility no longer suits operational needs

WASHINGTON, DC – Today U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) and the entire Virginia congressional delegation urged the U.S. Army National Guard to prioritize funding for a new aviation facility in Richmond, Va. as part of the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP). With the current facility already impacting mission execution, the funding will help complete a much-needed facility to house the Virginia Army National Guard’s 28-aircraft fleet by the time its current lease with the Richmond Airport expires in 2032. The FYDP is typically included as part of the President’s budget, which outlines the programs and budget requests for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).

“This project is the number one priority for the Virginia Army National Guard and is desperately needed to replace aging and undersized facilities at Richmond International Airport, which are no longer suitable for mission execution,” wrote the members of Congress. “Additionally, the existing facility must be vacated by the National Guard as they have been formally notified by the airfield that their lease will not be renewed in order to make way for a planned runway expansion. Due to the criticality of this capability for the National Guard, the Commonwealth of Virginia has appropriated $4.5 million in state funding to support this project, even though state contribution is not required.”

To date, the project has been dependent on incremental phases and funding. In their letter to the U.S. Army National Guard, the members of Congress reiterated full federal funding is required to complete the aviation facility that is better suited for their operational needs and ensures that it will be ready in time for the pending relocation.

“The Virginia Army National Guard continues to compete the Army Aviation Support Facility project in phases, with Phase I being successfully placed on the FY24 FYDP. Unfortunately, the algorithms used for such competition make it highly unlikely that the entire requirement will be funded before the Virginia Army National Guard’s aviation fleet is ejected from its current facility. This concern, in conjunction with the cost savings and operational efficiencies of designing and constructing the facility as a single project, lead us to believe that the best solution for the mission and the taxpayers is to fund the entire requirement of $89 million in one fiscal year,” concluded the members of Congress.

In addition to Sens. Warner and Kaine, the letter was signed by U.S. Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA), Rob Wittman (R-VA), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Don Beyer (D-VA), A. Donald McEachin (D-VA), Ben Cline (R-VA), Elaine Luria (D-VA), Denver Riggleman (R-VA), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), and Jennifer Wexton (D-VA).

A copy of the letter can be found here and below.

LTG Daniel R. Hokanson

Director, Army National Guard

111 S. George Mason Drive

Arlington, VA 22204

Dear LTG Hokanson,

We write in strong support of the proposed Army Aviation Support Facility (AASF) for the Virginia National Guard. We urge you to consider identifying this project in the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP), and ideally request funding in the upcoming release of the President's Budget for Fiscal Year 2021.

As you are aware, this project would construct a 228,000 square foot facility to support the Virginia National Guard's Army aviation mission. This project is the number one priority for the Virginia Army National Guard and is desperately needed to replace aging and undersized facilities at Richmond International Airport, which are no longer suitable for mission execution. Additionally, the existing facility must be vacated by the National Guard as they have been formally notified by the airfield that their lease will not be renewed in order to make way for a planned runway expansion. Due to the criticality of this capability for the National Guard, the Commonwealth of Virginia has appropriated $4.5 million in state funding to support this project, even though state contribution is not required.

This military construction project will move the AASF to land already licensed to the Virginia Army National Guard that has an existing armory and airport access, two factors that yield significant construction and operational savings. The new facility is optimally located to support the National Capital Region and Hampton Roads military economic complex during natural or man-made disasters, while far enough removed to be less impacted by such events in these critical national security regions. The project will support the Virginia Army National Guard’s entire aviation fleet consisting of 28 aircraft. These aircraft support the combined arms training and readiness of forces for national defense, as well as the Commonwealth of Virginia's disaster response and recovery capabilities for Title 32 and Title 10 National Guard Civil Support missions.

The Virginia Army National Guard continues to compete the Army Aviation Support Facility project in phases, with Phase I being successfully placed on the FY24 FYDP. Unfortunately, the algorithms used for such competition make it highly unlikely that the entire requirement will be funded before the Virginia Army National Guard’s aviation fleet is ejected from its current facility. This concern, in conjunction with the cost savings and operational efficiencies of designing and constructing the facility as a single project, lead us to believe that the best solution for the mission and the taxpayers is to fund the entire requirement of $89 million in one fiscal year.

The Virginia Army National Guard completed an extensive site selection study and master plan to 10% design, as well as environmental, historical, and soils studies for the proposed location. This project is critical to the viability of the Army aviation mission for the Virginia Army National Guard and would help the National Guard save lease costs necessitated by the loss of the current facility, absent this MILCON. Given the critical nature of the operational needs for the Army aviation mission and the upcoming deadline for the relocation of these operations, we hope you will give all due consideration to funding this project in the near future. As you know, the Virginia National Guard always answers the call to service for the defense of the nation, and plays a pivotal role in the safekeeping of the National Capital Region and the Hampton Roads military economic complex.

We appreciate your attention to and consideration of this request, and we look forward to your favorable response on this matter. Our Congressional Delegation stands ready to support you in this important military construction project.

Sincerely,

 

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