WASHINGTON — The Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday gave its approval to another $128 million for construction of the new U.S. Strategic Command headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base.
The funding still must be approved by the full Senate and the House. It would come on top of the $120 million Congress previously approved for a new facility, which will replace an aging building that has had numerous issues with flooding and outdated equipment.
U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee who has pushed for the project for years, said the issue goes beyond a crumbling building.
“If you’re going to fight cyber warfare, you’ve got to have new technology, and you’ve got to have the capacity, so the new command headquarters is a war-fighting machine in and of itself,” Nelson said.
The $128 million provision, tucked into a military construction spending bill, is less than the $161 million President Barack Obama’s budget proposal requested.
But Nelson said that everyone involved in the project has agreed it’s enough to continue progress on the facility, with the understanding that additional appropriations will come.
The Army Corps of Engineers is in charge of the construction, a project that was delayed for months over a sales tax issue. That issue has since been resolved and Nelson said he’s not aware of any other obstacles.
Corps officials have thus far declined to provide a timeline for when ground will be broken. Nelson said, however, that it might not be much longer.
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