According to Rep. Jim Walsh (R-N.Y.), he has secured House Appropriations Committee approval for more than $10 million to support upgrades and construction for the New York Air National Guard new unmanned aerial vehicle mission in Syracuse. Per BRAC 2005, the 174th Fighter Wing is losing its F-16s; the wing is in the midst of its last deployment to Southwest Asia as an F-16 unit. It will be taking up MQ-9 Reaper UAV operations. Walsh said in a June 25 release, “Throughout my tenure in Congress, I made it a priority to upgrade their facilities and ensure that they have the best base possible. The Reaper mission is the final piece of the puzzle that firmly establishes Hancock Air National Guard Base as a critical part of our defense and our community for years to come.” According to the release, half of the $10 million appropriation, if approved by the full Congress, would convert existing facilities to house the UAV operations center, ground control station, and associated squadron functions, and the rest would alter the facility’s Air Support Operations Squadron buildings “to meet new training and operation requirements.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.