House Armed Services Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon [R-Calif.] said the Obama Administration has requested a $1 billion reprograming to cover the cost of the US involvement in the international fight against Ebola. In a statement released Thursday, McKeon said the request left him with “significant questions” on how US personnel would be protected, what their mission is, and how the funds would be used. Army Gen. David Rodriguez, US Africa Command boss, said Tuesday none of the US personnel being sent to Africa will have direct contact with Ebola patients and all will have the training and protective equipment needed to keep them safe. McKeon’s statement came as the Air Force reported that airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Contingency Response Group have opened an intermediate staging base at Dakar, Senegal, to help relay supplies and equipment into areas of western Africa impacted by the deadly Ebola outbreak. The more than 80 airmen, who moved into the Leopold Sedar Senghor International Airport in Senegal with all their equipment, activated the cargo hub Oct. 5, said Col. David Mounkes, the 123rd CRG commander, in a release. The cargo hub will unload supplies from C-17s and process them for forward movement in C-130s to where they are needed.
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.