Demolition of older facilities at Spangdahlem AB, Germany, is slated to get under way within the next year, as officials gear up for a multi-year project to adapt the fighter base to support the needs of a new special operations wing. Some $300 million of the European Infrastructure Consolidation fund, which began arriving in June, will be used for a range of construction projects once demolition is complete, including a large aircraft apron to support C-130 and CV-22 operations, runway work, new support and maintenance hangars, a wing headquarters building, and a special tactics squadron facility, near where some of Spang’s old A-10 facilities were built, Lt. Col. Chris Meeker, the 52nd Civil Engineering Squadron commander, told Air Force Magazine during a recent visit to the base. Administration space also will open up after the 606th Air Control Squadron transitions to Aviano AB, Italy, another EIC directive. Meeker said he does not expect any serious impacts to base operations once the project gets going, though there will need to be some careful scheduling. The plan to move the SOW by 2020 is an aggressive timeline, he noted, but every year Mildenhall stays open costs USAF another $120 million in operations costs. (See also Figuring Out the Details.)
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.